based on the teachings of HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh
What can we do to free ourselves from the cult of life as a tragedy? The first step is to see it for what it is—a form of shallow idolatry that cultivates a shallow approach to life’s true sorrows and pain. As the sages teach us, when a person experiences pain or sorrow it is a call from God above for soul-searching and a change in direction.
The life-as-a-tragedy stance can be taken only when trust and faith in God’s goodness and loving-kindness has been cast away. Once these are gone, worship of the tragic becomes possible. In fact, one of the names used in the Bible for idols is simply “sadness.”
Recognizing that depression and loss of faith in life are forms of idolatry help bring home the Biblical statement that to follow God means to “Choose life!” But to choose life, one needs to be able to see the goodness in life. This second step involves our outlook on ourselves and on others.
The sense of the month of Tamuz is: sight. This means that the month of Tamuz is the best month of the year to learn to exercise our sight in the most positive way possible. Rectified sight involves both shying away from that which is negative (an ability associated in Kabbalah with our left eye) and training ourselves to see things in a positive light (associated with our right eye). In essence, both aspects are included in the right eye, which means that we should seek to see only the good points in others.
What stops us from being able to see the good in others is, almost always, envy. The sages teach us that envy breeds lust and pride. If you look upon others with envy, not only are you unable to see the good in them, but you are actually increasing your own lusts and cravings for those things that are the opposite of life. In turn, greater lust leads to greater envy and the cycle constantly becomes more vicious. To heal yourself you need an expert eye doctor. According to Chassidut, the first expert eye doctor was Moses, who healed the spiritual sight of the entire Jewish people with his own qualities of selflessness and unconditional love for all Jews.
A person who has healed his sense of sight in this sense gains the power to heal others with his gaze. The story is told of the greatest lover of the Jewish people in recent generations, Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, who would pray with eyes wide open facing the street and the comer and goers. His critics charged him with immodesty, but he would not change his ways. The inner meaning of his puzzling conduct was that his kind and encouraging gaze whilst clinging to God in prayer (not concentrating at all on those outside) was enough to change people for the better. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, one of Rebbe Levi Yitzchak’s great contemporaries found this idea in the verse: “A bit more and the wicked will be no more; for you will gaze at his place, and he will be gone.” Rebbe Nachman explained that by these words, King David meant that by ignoring the wickedness in a person and by searching for the good in him or her, one’s gaze has the power to annul evil. This is the Jewish response to life-as-a-tragedy stance.
Read complete article here: Tamuz: The End of Tragedy
Hat tips: Joe and Miguel
The video below has been previously blogged by others, but contains references to the month of Tammuz specifically, so here it is again.
Hat tips: Joe and Miguel