Question: The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is the most significant day of the year for the people of Israel. What is the spiritual meaning of this special day? How should we relate to it in order to correspond to its spiritual roots and to transfer our life to a new degree?
Answer: The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is not simply a tradition. It reflects a special spiritual state in a person’s development. We shouldn’t look at this day separately, but as a part of the entire year’s cycle.
Upon the completion of a year, that being a cycle of internal changes, we evaluate everything that we went through, which is called “repentance.” Thus we decide that it is necessary to rise to a new degree, to begin the new year (Rosh Hashanah), cross to a new state, a higher, purer, more exalted one. So we crown the Creator, the force of bestowal and love, setting Him up to reign over us as the most sublime property.
This is when we begin to judge ourselves: are we truly in the property of bestowal? All our properties are divided into ten parts, ten Sefirot. And we are clarifying which desires in those ten parts can be corrected, and which cannot.
In essence, a person’s soul needs to be corrected. And a soul is all our desires, which are still corrupted and need correction.
Question: What exactly needs to be corrected: one’s actions or the soul?
Answer: In our world, actions are performed with hands and feet, or through words. But the wisdom of Kabbalah explains that most important is a corrected intention, which is the true desire of a person.
Actions alone aren’t enough, because I can perform them simply out of habit. Then, it is actually more difficult for me not to do them than to do them. And these can be the actions that I otherwise would never have made in my life had I not been accustomed to them from childhood.
In this case, it is no longer fulfillment of a commandment but traditions instilled in childhood that are performed automatically. For someone it might be difficult to carry them out, but for someone else, it is difficult to not do them.
This is why we are not speaking about an action, but rather an intention. An action, after all, does not change: As we have been doing it, so we will continue. But in intention, in a person’s attitude towards the performed action, there is always change.
The key is a person’s attitude to those around him. After all, love for one’s neighbor as for oneself is the great law of the Torah. This is the point of view from which I need to check myself in order to see how much I am capable of loving my neighbor.
The upper force is a force of bestowal and love, and our goal is to become like it. This is why we need to reach the degree of man, Adam, which means similar to (Domeh) the Creator. But how can we check this? Where is that doctor who will irradiate me with an X-Ray and tell me exactly how similar I am to the Creator?
Such a doctor does not exist, so a person needs to check himself on his own. This kind of X-Ray machine requires a special Light, which checks us. This Light is called the Light that Reforms.
If I am studying the true Torah, namely the wisdom of Kabbalah, then thanks to it, I start to see the truth. I see how egoistic I am, what exactly is it in me that is bad, and what needs to be corrected, as if I shine an X-Ray on myself.
This is only visible to me and others may not notice it. And after I have seen myself on the X-Ray image, it becomes clear to me what needs to be corrected. The Torah arranges this image where I only see intentions, and only to the level of the depth which I am capable of correcting. Everything else I do not see, and it can remain until the next year.
Immediately after the onset of the new year, I find myself in these X-ray sessions, which are called ten days of repentance. I irradiate my heart, clarifying my intentions with respect to those around me in each action, and get back these images.
Kabbalah explains that Malchut ascends to Bina and compares herself to it. Malchut is our egoistic desire, which rises to Bina, the desire for bestowal, clarifying the extent to which it differs from it, how far we are from caring for our neighbors, from good relations, and how we are only thinking about our own benefit.
Question: What is shown on these X-ray images?
Answer: This image is black-and-white. It shows how much white there is in you, that is, the intentions for the benefit of your neighbor. And the black color points to the intentions for your own benefit, which you can correct.
Thus, the scope of our work is revealed to us. This is personal work that is in store for each of us, but it is aimed at the commonality, at bestowal to all, and through them, to the Creator, which is from the love of the created beings, to love of the Creator. The Creator is a force, integrating everyone together, and not something that exists outside. It is written: “The Creator dwells among his people.”
Thus, if I strive to unite with everyone and want to turn into one whole with them, then I reveal the overall integral system that generalizes our unity, which is called the Creator. This is how it is revealed in our perception.
Therefore, during Yom Kippur we need to strive to love our neighbor as much as possible and wider, and even beyond the people of Israel, extending it to all mankind. This is the reason why during Yom Kippur it is customary to read the story about the prophet Jonah, whom the Creator instructed to lead the city of Nineveh, which symbolizes the world, to correction.
From the TV Show “The New Life” #438. 9/30/2014