Reflections on Jewish Spirituality and Mystical Thought
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I've learned in Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi's teachings on this week's Torah portion "When you go out to war ..." that a war can be waged and won simply by addressing an opponent's deeper spiritual needs. On the surface the opponent is saying one thing, but, deep down inside he means something else. Don't address his surface. Address his depth. It might sound a bit like Tai Chi or Aikido, but, in essence you are helping your opponent win his own inner war. You're just coaching him along.
To do this you need to in some way know your opponent better than he knows himself. Otherwise, you won't be able to identify the deeper spiritual needs which he only has a vague sense of because though he's haunted by their too abundant voices, he's equally haunted by their too scant words. So trying to satisfy the demands of these incoherent voices leads him along painful paths. If you meet him on one of these frustrated paths and try to get him off without providing an appropriate alternative, you’ll upset him. Seeing your efforts to block his "progress" towards finally reaching his "life's calling", he regards you as an opponent. He reasons, "How would someone who really cares about me do such a thing?"
So you need to show him that you not only know the "voices" that haunt him, but, you also know their meaning. You can fill in the missing words that the voices seem to be saying, but, somehow disburse into incoherent sounds on their way to his ears. How do you magically reconstruct those disfigured words?
Every human inclination has a matching Torah version which is healthy, sweet, and happy. Through Torah an inclination can be practiced in a way that brings light into the world. A person can become a co-creator channeling the Creator's blessings in a particular area of life. For example, a physician can become the Creator's channel for healing. By seeing the general path the person is on, he can be befriended and shown how he can align his core inclination with the message and advice of the Torah, yielding more effective outcomes.
The Torah supplies the vague incoherent voices with their missing words and instructions. It's my understanding based on a teaching from Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad that the Messiah will use this technique to win the world over to his spiritual cause. This is why his peace will be permanent. Prior world victories, left behind aggrieved parties. This seriously compromised their potency. Being undermined by pain and bloodshed, they can't last. This is why the "captive woman" in this week's Torah Portion is likely to bear a rebellious son. Though the Ohr Chaim points out that there was a spark of Jewishness in her, connecting her to the holiness of the Jewish People, still she was ripped out her life by force - like an unripe fruit plucked too early. Yes, it's a victory, but, it's compromised. On the other hand, a woman whose heart was peacefully won over and was inspired to voluntarily convert, like Ruth, can become the Matriarch of the entire royal Davidic dynasty.
Therefore, the Messiah will win over human hearts without bloodshed. There will be no aggrieved parties. The resulting peace will be everlasting.