Sefer Meshivas Nefesh – elucidated
A person sometimes falls from his spiritual level, and the fall and descent can be very immense. There are those who fall into disgraceful, impure situations. They fall into doubts about their faith and terrible, disgraceful, strange thoughts. The forces of Klippah warp and surround their hearts with bewilderment, as they become dizzy and all sorts of confusion overtake them.
Although in such situations it’s impossible to find Hashem, still, even then there is hope, through searching and seeking Hashem and asking, “Ayeh?, Where is the place of His glory?” As much as one sees himself distant from His glory and honor, he should use his distress to continue asking and seeking even more, “Where is the place of His glory?”
The searching, seeking and yearning for Hashem’s honor, and shouting and asking, “Where is the place of His glory?” in itself causes a tremendous ascent, up to the point of Ayeh, which is a very exalted and holy spiritual level.
This is the most important practice in Teshuvah, to constantly search and seek, “Ayeh, Where is the place of His glory?” and through this, all falls can be transformed into great climbs. This is the “going down for the purpose of climbing up” which is discussed in all the holy works.
This is a very deep concept which you should study in the original source and be sure to understand it well.
Based on Likutei Moharan II 12
This teaching, which is known as “Ayeh”, is amongst the principal directives of Hischazkus, together with “Azamra- Nekudos Tovos”, searching for the good points. Reb Nosson in Hilchos Eruvei Techumin 6, explains that these ideas are crucial for anybody who wants to be true and everlasting in his Yiddishkeit.
Revealing the Honor of Hashem
There are times when a person merits honoring Hashem. By studying Torah and performing Mitzvos, feelings for Hashem’s honor awaken with him, and his soul is spirited with love and awe of His Greatness. This is in fact the purpose of creation, as everything which Hashem created is only for His honor, meaning that people should recognize His glory in their hearts.
On the other hand, there are times when a person feels distant from Hashem’s honor. These are times when anguish overcomes him, and he falls into the illusion of feeling that he’s not accomplishing enough that day, or that ‘today is not a day.’
There are also personal needs which people need to take care of, such as eating, sleeping, running a family, as well as fiscal requirements. All of these are called ‘Klippas Nogah’, which refers to all things which are permitted activities, but are a ‘mixture’ of good and not. The holiness of these activities depends upon whether or not a person is thinking of Hashem when performing them. But there is a Klippah which surrounds and bewilders a person’s heart when occupied with these necessities which makes it difficult to think of and recognize Hashem at those times.
Sometimes, the Klippah overcomes a person to the degree that he actually causes a dishonor of Hashem, by falling into impure places of sin, G-d forbid.
The situation in which people find themselves most of the day is more or less one in which it’s hard to discover a possible way to draw close to recognizing Hashem’s honor. Darkness covers the world, and Hashem’s glory remains unrevealed. This klippah is the primary cause for the distance which people feel from Hashem.
Everything Receives its Life-Force from Hashem
The truth is, that a person must be very strong with the fundamental belief that Hashem’s honor is found everywhere in the universe, as ‘the whole world is full of His Glory’. The only thing, is that there are many levels in the revelation of His Glory.
It is imperative to know that in reality, all the klippah and forces of evil also receive their life-force from Hashem. The life-force which they get is actually from the highest levels of His glory and honor, which is called ‘The Hidden Utterance’, and from there is drawn energy for the entire world – including the powers of concealment and evil. The Ariza”l teaches that ‘sheviras keilim’ came about when the supernal light was too great, which teaches us that the life-force from Hashem gives existence even to those ‘broken’ places which are concealing Him, in the aspect of a ‘hidden utterance’. It is impossible to truly understand how Hashem’s glory is really found in all evil places too, and we are forbidden from trying to comprehend it.
The ‘hidden utterance’ is referred to as ‘Ayeh, where is the place of His Glory’, which is the Sefirah of Kesser, from which infinite divine mercy and compassion comes forth. We don’t see or understand this, and therefore it’s called “Ayeh, Where?” because Hashem’s honor is hidden within it. On Shabbos by Mussaf when we recite the Kedushah of Kesser, we are elevated to this exalted plane, and we then ask, ‘Ayeh, Where is the place of His Glory?” because then the source of divine mercy is revealed – the great light which cleanses sin and brings a person close to Hashem even if he is now in the darkest places.
Searching Ayeh, Where is His Honor?
Thus, the Rebbe reveals to us this wonderful and crucial directive, that when a person sees that he is in a situation in which he has fallen into concealment and cannot discover Hashem’s honor, he should attach himself to this exalted place called Ayeh, which is the light of Kesser which shines every Shabbos morning. He should lift himself up from his feelings of distance and his habit of looking at and measuring his successes. He should know that Hashem’s honor is certainly to be found in these places, and the reality is that if not for Him sustaining them, they wouldn’t even have any existence.
He should cease to follow his own mind and understanding, in which he is accustomed to differentiating between ‘successful days’ and ‘days of failure’. Instead he should be constantly aware that Hashem is everywhere, and all his negative feelings are baseless. Hashem is certainly here, and He is very great. That a person doesn’t feel it is because he’s missed the mark in his ‘nogah’ activities, and he repairs himself through the discomfort which he is now experiencing and his asking “Ayeh – Why is my sin concealing His honor, I don’t want this concealment!” Through this searching he connects himself to the understanding that even in this emptiness and void, wondrous things are taking place, and he learns for the future that in every activity there is a wonderful way how to serve Hashem and come close to Him, by revealing His honor in every place where he’s been sent.
Being strong to continue to want to reveal Hashem’s glory even in those places, in itself rectifies the concealment, and draws upon a person great divine compassion, through which every fall can be transformed into a climb and ascent.
The power of Ayeh is very great, and it is the source of cleansing from sin. Everything depends and is rooted in a person not following his own understanding of the situation, and being ready to yield his own feelings.
The main thing to keep in mind is that in these places and situations it is impossible to see Hashem’s glory revealed, and the only solution is through searching and seeking Ayeh? This in itself will break the confusion he feels in his heart, and the concealment which is fooling him into thinking that Hashem’s honor can’t be found here.
This is amazing guidance through which a person can hold fast in any situation – it may be in days when he’s feeling down, or when he’s busy with nogah activities. No matter what, he can ask and seek, “Ayeh, Where is the place of His honor?” Hashem’s glory is certainly to be found here. He shouldn’t follow his own understanding and feelings which are tricking him. He should instead be aware that there are many levels of Hashem’s revelation, and the highest level is the honor which is hidden in Ayeh, and the way through which to connect with it is through searching and asking Ayeh. Through this he ascends to exalted levels of holiness.