Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Purification requires Agitation and Confusion

I feel that the world is at a peak right now, in these two weeks before Rosh Hashanah.  It reminds me of these words by Rebbe Nachman below.... the world is on the cusp of Moshiach iy''H.... we are being agitated and purified.... and all the scum is rising to the top, ready to be skimmed off to make way for the pure.

from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

When one begins to attach to a great tzadik and truly serve G-d, he is often filled with great confusion and evil thoughts.

The evil was always there, but only now it is surfacing.

A pot of water may seem perfectly clear. But when it is placed on a fire and begins to boil, all its impurities are brought to the surface. One must stand by and constantly remove these impurities.

The original purity is merely an illusion. With a little heat the impurity surfaces. But when these impurities are removed, the water is truly pure and clear.

The same is true of a person. Before he begins serving G-d, good and evil are completely mixed together within him. The impurities are so closely united with the good that they cannot be recognized.

But then this person comes close to a true Tzadik and begins to burn with great feeling toward G-d. He is touched with the heat of purification, and all the evil and impurities come to the surface. Here again one must stand by and constantly remove the dirt and impurities as they appear. In the end the person is truly pure and clear.

Purification requires this period of agitation and confusion.

In the beginning a person is totally immersed in the material. He then begins to come close to G-d.

It would seem possible to remove this dirt and impurity at once. But his mind is completely intermingled with this mire. Were it to be removed immediately, his mind would be drawn out with it.

Therefore, one must be purified little by little, in gradual stages.


Miriam said...

Thank you so much for this. I keep wondering why, at a time where my emunah and closeness to Hashem is the highest it has ever been for me, am I getting moments of extreme doubt and sadness, mixed with evil thoughts of wanting to leave it all. They seem so foreign when I am on this spiritual high, yet so familiar as they are part of me. Now, it makes sense to me that the evil embedded so deeply for so long is now floating to the top, hopefully to be skimmed off and discarded for forever. Now, I can refocus my energies to attain this and not, G-d forbid, get depressed thinking all that I have achieved is still nothing as I feel the darkness sometimes masks the light hiding underneath and trying to escape.

Devorah said...

That was beautifully written Miriam. I'm sure a lot of people can identify with those feelings.

Mia Sherwood Landau said...

Yes, this is a wonderful post, Devorah. In this world, at this time we are seeing the same thing happen, too. I have a growing sense of peace and calm in the midst of the chaos, which is surprising and counterintuitive. But this post describes the process each of us experiences and also the world experiences, helping us make sense of the chaos and bringing peace in the midst of it. Thank you!