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Mighty Buildings

    He whose soul does not soar in the wide expanses, he who does not seek the light of truth and goodness with all his heart, does not suffer spiritual devastation.  But neither does he acquire mighty buildings.  He takes shelter in the shade of natural havens, like the hares who take shelter in the clefts of the rock.
    But when a person has a robust soul, his soul can shelter only in structures that he erects with his spiritual toil, never ceasing from his vigorous labor.
            Orot Hakodesh II, p. 314

The Inclination for Spiritual Greatness      When you want to learn, but in every topic you approach your spirit is not at rest and it seems to you that you must choose another topic, this is because of the profusion of thought that desires to embrace everything and does not want to leave anything isolated and limited. 
    It is necessary to overcome this imperfection, a lack whose cause is overfulness.  But you cannot act to attain this victory as you would in overcoming an imperfection that comes from baseness.  Ultimately, we must know that it is impossible to uproot from the soul the inclination for spiritual greatness and breadth that it has already attained.
    Arpelei Torah, p. 57

Constant Self-Revelation      Do not oppose the essential soul when it reveals itself.  That self-revelation is constant.  Even when the thickest clouds mask the soul’s brilliant light, it shines with all its power.  It carries the world and every human being to the goal of his fulfillment—a goal that transcends all definitions.
    The soul speaks without speaking.  It acts without acting.  With it alone do we ascend those steps to which we are impelled by the impulse of that which is truly life, in its most profound mysteries.  “Then shall you rejoice in God.” 
    This is the secret of thirst and the mystery of its quenching.
    Orot Hakodesh I, p. 173

The Inner Spark     The very essence of the soul, which expresses and experiences the true, spiritual life, requires complete inner freedom.  This freedom is its life. 
    This freedom comes to the soul from the midst of its essential thought, its inner spark.  Our learning and contemplation cause this spark to continually flame.  But really, this independent spark is the basis of idea and thought.  If room is not provided for the independent spark with its light to appear, then whatever comes to it from without will be of no avail.
    This spark must be guarded in its purity.  Then the inner thought—in the depth of its truth, in its greatness and exaltedness—will awaken. 
    Then this holy spark will not be extinguished because of any learning and any contemplation.
    The internal unity of the soul in its core represents the supernal greatness of the illuminated, Divine seed—”light is sown for the righteous.”  From this seed, the fruit of the tree of life shall sprout and blossom.
    Orot Hakodesh I, p. 175

Consolation for Every Monstrous Vision     At times, your soul is revealed to you in all its naked ugliness—and you are repulsed by the vision.  But only in this way can you calm your spirit: for corresponding to the ugliness of the soul and its impurity, so will its beauty and purity grow. “One corresponding to the other did God create them.”
    After you strengthen yourself and rise beyond the shocking vision of that aspect of ugliness—so that the aspect of purity shines before your eyes, the aspect of the beauty within your soul, and your eyes, seeing, are illumined—then you will gain consolation for every monstrous vision that had terrified you.  AThe humble will increase their joy in God, and the most impoverished will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 29:19).
    Orot Hakodesh III, p. 251

The Inner, Essential “I”     “I am in the midst of the exile” (Ezekiel 1:1).
    The inner, essential “I”—whether individual or communal—does not appear by itself.  Rather, it appears in relation to our holiness and purity.  It appears in relation to the amount of supernal power that, with the pure light of an elevated illumination, burns within us.
    “Both we and our forefathers sinned” (Psalms 106:6).
    This refers to the sin of Adam, who was alienated from his essential being. He turned to the consciousness of the serpent, and thus he lost himself.  He could not clearly answer the question, “Where are you?”, because he did not know himself, because he had lost his true “I.”
    He had bowed to a strange god.
    And that was the sin of Israel, who “ran after foreign gods” (Deuteronomy 31:16).  We abandoned our essential “I” “Israel rejected goodness” (Hosea 8:3).
    In the days of creation, the earth itself sinned.  It denied its own essence. 
    It constricted its power and went after limited goals and purposes.  It did not give all of its hidden power so that the taste of the tree could be equal to the taste of its fruit.
    Instead, it raised its eyes to look outside of itself.  It considered a trivial future and way of being.
    At that time as well, the moon complained.  As a result, it lost its internal orbit, the joy of its portion.  It was dreaming of a superficial beauty of royalty.
    Thus does the world continue, sinking into the destruction of every “I”—of the individual and of the whole.
    Learned educators come and focus on the superficial.  They too remove their consciousness from the “I.”
    They add straw to the fire, give vinegar to the thirsty, and fatten minds and hearts with everything that is external to them.
    And the “I” gets progressively forgotten.
    And when there is no “I,” there is no “He,” and how much more is there no “You.”
    The Messiah is called “the breath of our nostrils, the anointed one of God” (Lamentations 4:20).
    This is his might, the beauty of his greatness: that he is not outside of us.  He is the breath of our nostrils.
    Let us seek Hashem our God and David our king.
    Let us tremble before God and His goodness.
    Let us seek our “I.”
    Let us seek ourselves—and find.
    Remove all foreign gods, remove every stranger and illegitimate one.
    Then “you will know that I am Hashem your God, Who takes you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am Hashem.”
    Orot Hakodesh III, pp. 140-41

Your Independent Intuition     It is not the intent of any influence that comes from outside yourself and into your inner being—whether from secular or holy sources—to silence your spirit and mute your independent intuition.
    Rather, its intent is to bathe you with a flow of light, so that you will absorb it into the essence of who you are.
    In this way, and from the midst of this, your independent sense will grow ever stronger.
    When you are desolated by internal shoddiness, you think that the intention of everything that comes from outside yourself is to abrade your independent sense of reality, to make you crumple, and you totter.  You become short-tempered and you cease to grow.
    Together, the holy and the secular influence your spirit.  When you integrate them, you are enriched.
    You must take what is fitting from each of them.
    From the holy, take the light of life and an inner character.
    From the secular, take the container, the superficial understanding that provides a basis for grasping the content.  The secular provides material for analogies and explanations, for contexts in which to understand the ways of the world and good character traits.
    There is a spirit of abundance that is the awareness of division between the holy and the secular.
    That abundance becomes ever more clear when you gather the wealth of these various sources.  It strengthens and illumines your spirit. 
    At last, you come to the innermost circle of Torah.  The diseased cloud within you that hides the Torah begins to glow more and more with the light of Torah.  Out of the mist, lights are revealed in their full beauty.
    Orot Hakodesh I, pp. 67-68

Even a Pleasant Conversation     If we imagine we are rectifying universes with our service of God, but we don’t know the worth of our soul—or, in general, the make-up of spirituality—we will be filled with fantasies and delusions.
    But we may know the following.  With every moral improvement, every good trait we attain, every worthy teaching we learn, and every good deed we perform—even the very smallest, even a pleasant conversation—we lift the spirituality within ourselves, that spirituality which is the foundation of our entire being. 
    And so by lifting that spirituality within ourselves, an entire being is lifted.  Each one of us is a piece of reality that is powerfully linked to all of existence.  And so one part of existence has been elevated.  And that in turn raises all of existence.
    In this way, with every bit of goodness, we rectify endless worlds.
    When this awareness is part of our consciousness, our mind broadens.  Our illusions diminish and come ever closer to truth.
    Midot Harayah, p. 93

Great Qualities That We Do Not Possess     At times we may grow distressed, hearing of some great quality that we ourselves do not possess.  We may become as nothing in our eyes. 
    Then depression starts to tarnish the luster of our soul.  In the presence of that quality of greatness that we cannot attain, our spirituality grows dull.
    At such times, we must fortify ourselves not to envy another’s fortune.  We must use our feeling of insignificance only to an appropriate degree: to overcome ego, so as not to grow proud.  But we should be satisfied and joyful with our lot.  We should cling ever more forcefully to our strong points.
    Then our light will break forth like the dawn, and our healed spirit will swiftly blossom.
    Arpelei Torah, p. 80

Recognize Your Nature     There are people who have left the path of traditional Judaism because they betrayed their personal, unique approach in Torah learning and spiritual self-perfection.
    Let us take the example of a person who is suited for aggadah.  His constitution is not fit for spending the bulk of his time learning halachah.  But since he does not appreciate his distinctive character, he follows the general practice and steeps himself in the study of halachah.  In his spirit, however, he feels an opposition to what he is doing, because such in-depth learning is not in accord with the nature of his essential capabilities.
    If he were to recognize his proclivity and nurture it, immersing himself regularly in the area of Torah that suits the character of his spirit, he would recognize immediately that the feeling of opposition he had experienced when learning halachic matters did not come about because of any essential lack of these holy and necessary topics, but rather because he had been seeking another area of Torah on which to concentrate.  Realizing this, he would remain faithful in an elevated manner to the holiness of the Torah.  He would succeed in Torah in the area that is suited for him.  And he would help those whose strong point is halachah, by giving them a taste of the pleasure of aggadah.
    However, if he does not recognize the reason for his feeling of opposition to learning and continues to battle against his nature, as soon as a non-Torah path opens before him, he breaks out onto it.  He becomes an enemy and rebel against Torah and faith, growing ever more alienated.
    It is from such people that the wild ones of our nation have come forth, people who claim to present a vision, yet who blind the eyes of the world.
    Orot Hatorah 9:6

The Soul of a Jew Must Grow Broad     A Jew’s soul must grow broad.  It must be aflame and grow mighty.
    We must remove all obstacles upon its path, everything that does not help it proceed on its way.
    Moreover, we must help it so that spiritual content will be available to it, and so that every mixture of temperament will help it blossom. [?]
    This is the secret of Torah in this world, and of all the paths of life of faith and holiness.
    Arpelei Torah, p. 18

Spiritual Confidence     An upright person must believe in his life.
    We must believe that our lives and that our feelings come directly from the foundation of our spirit are good and straight, and that they lead upon a straight path.
    The Torah must be a lamp to our feet, by means of which we will see where error is likely—for at times our spirit will go astray upon a pathless wasteland.
    But our constant attitude must be one of spiritual confidence.  A Jew is obligated to believe that a divine soul, in essence one letter of the Torah, dwells within him.  And a letter of the Torah is a complete world, constantly and infinitely growing.
    Even the spiritual ramifications [?] of a grain of sand have no measure or limitation.  And all the years of our lives will not suffice to explain the entire wealth of laws founded in wisdom and interwoven with knowledge and awesome might that lie within us. 
    And how much more must the entire Jewish people believe clearly and fervently in its life, in its predilections, [?] and proceed confidently.  Then it will know how to use the light of the living Torah.
    Orot Hatorah 11:2

The Withholding of Tranquility     In essence, spiritual toil and the withholding of inner tranquility are the result of distancing ourselves from what our soul’s capabilities have made us fit for.
    Arpelei Tohar, p. 46

The Relationship Between All Souls     The flash of light that unveils the relationship between all souls of all generations with the soul of an adept as he engages in visualization is the beginning of the holy spirit. 
    When you develop this holy ability with regular practice, and connect it to wisdom and good deeds, you will rise level by level, and come to a number of realizations.  “Open the gates of justice for me; I will enter them, I will thank God.”
    Arpelei Torah, p. 108

A Torn Soul     Whoever has said that my soul is torn spoke well.  It is certainly torn.  I cannot imagine a person whose soul is not torn.  Only a lifeless object is whole, but a human being is filled with conflicting desires, and an inner war rages within him continuously.
    The purpose of all my work is to mend the rents within my spirit by means of an all-inclusive viewpoint in whose greatness and exaltedness everything is embraced and comes to complete harmony.
    Hamachshavah Hayisraelit, p. 13


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