Monday, March 18, 2013

Parshas Tzav: The Conscious and Sub-conscious

Do we really have free choice? Most people tend to view this as a yes-or-no type of question, but the correct answer is in fact, yes and no.

a) The inner core of the soul is totally at one with G-d. At this subconscious level, the soul of every Jew wishes to observe all the mitzvos and to avoid transgressing any prohibitions. There is no desire for evil here; there simply is no other option than doing good.

b) At the conscious level however, where we interact with the more superficial layers of the soul's complex psyche, there is room for both good and evil. Here, the soul's inner desire to observe all the mitzvos is felt only as a weaker 'signal', which is susceptible to 'interference' from the opposing messages of our animalistic instincts. So at the conscious level, we do indeed possess free choice.

In general, the Torah speaks to our conscious mind. We are told to observe the mitzvos with the full awareness of what we are doing, and we are charged with bringing an awareness of spirituality into our normal, daily lives.

However, at this conscious level, we are susceptible to being drawn away from a life of holiness, or stifled by the limitations that the world appears to present. So while most of the mitzvos were given to the conscious part of the soul, G-d saw it necessary to give us some mitzvos which speak directly to the inner core of the soul, helping the soul's unlimited energy and total commitment to good to flow outwards to the conscious mind. These special mitzvos help us stay in tune with our subconscious commitment to Judaism, when our conscious observance becomes strained or limited.

With most mitzvos, G-d told Moshe to address the Jewish people with the term דבר "daber" (speak) or אמור "emor" (say). While the mitzvos conveyed with these terms are of course obligatory, the more passive, indirect mood of the words "speak" and "say" indicate that these mitzvos are directed at the superficial layers of the soul which possess free choice.

Parshas Tzav, in contrast, uses the more direct imperative term צו "tsav" (command), alluding to a type of mitzvah which speaks to the soul's inner core that does not possess true free-choice; and is simply "commanded" to obey G-d's will. These special mitzvos which are included in this Parsha are aimed at helping our inner identity of unquestioning and uninhibited commitment to the Jewish faith surface in everyday life.

Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Video: Living Mindfully - Rabbi Laibl Wolf

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Wisdom is cumulative, don’t hesitate to consult those who are older and wiser.
Rabbi Laibl Wolf begins by establishing that each attendee and viewer is a unique, gifted, reincarnated soul, brought into the world for an individual purpose. Living mindfully begins with inner calm, a level playing field, required for the beginning point of any wisdom oriented decision.


Anonymous said...

I am going to have the 'chutzpa', as a noahide, to urge everyone, especially, the the Jewish ladies, young, old, in-between, to please, please ,go to, and listen to Rabbi Wallerstein's Shuir, posted in the For Ladies only, and entitled:Gd Like dated:01/14/2008.

It may be about 5 years back, but as Torah applies to everyday life, and is not 'history', it applies very very much to this day.
To Devorah, if she posts this, i thank you.
May Hashem bless you. May Hashem Bless all the Jewish nation, and all of us who look to you to be the light in this world of constant changes, bad versus good.
stella c.

Anonymous said...

How good it is to know that the inner core of a Jew is forever at one with Hashem...
I actually felt a sense of calm wash over me, as waters from a pool of pure water, on reading it.
Thank you Devorah, for this deep and meaningful post.