What’s Love Got to Do With It?
May 7, 2020
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
How can we love the world if we don’t love ourselves? Investing in self-care and self-love won’t just fuel your own personal happiness, it will affect everything and everyone around you. So as the world slowly begins to heal, let’s take a look at how we can heal ourselves when it comes to the most powerful of four-letter words.
If love’s a flame that’s burning deep within your soul, then letting that flame dim won’t just inhibit you from achieving your goals, it will inhibit you from attracting real love into your life.
Likewise, fanning that flame and making it stronger than ever will unravel a myriad of potential in your life. So, let’s discover how we can throw kindling on that fire and explore why loving and accepting ourselves matters more than anything (spoilers: you can’t receive the light if you don’t think highly of yourself).
First things first, loving and accepting yourself takes work. But harnessing and nurturing your spirituality is the vital first step. You can do this by remembering to firstly be humble, but secondly to remember that God created you for a reason.
As a creation of the Creator, you have a divine purpose – so use that knowledge to elevate yourself. And while you’re at it, keep in mind that when a diamond falls into the mud, it’s still a diamond (you just need to wash that mud off).
Secondly, let’s explore the four types of self-love and what they mean:
- With conditions attached. Loving yourself conditionally means precisely how it sounds. It’s essentially self-acceptance with a hefty list of disclaimers attached. It also means that while you’re likely to love yourself on a good day, you’re just as likely to loathe yourself on a bad one. This type of love cracks under pressure and isn’t sustainable
- With situational conditions attached. Like the above love type, this form means you only love yourself when you achieve certain goals. Outside of those goals that love crumbles into something more negative.
- Unconditional love with strings attached. This love level is stronger than the others, but if it means you’re still seeking things you don’t like about yourself and as a consequence, that love isn’t as strong. It’s unconditional but not absolute.
- Unconditional and absolute. This level of self-love means truly knowing yourself and loving every part unconditionally.
Take the time now to only ask yourself which type of love you have for yourself and then remember: if you don’t love yourself unconditionally, it won’t matter what you achieve and how much you succeed, it will never be enough.
Now, let’s end this powerful topic on love with a challenge. Take five minutes, three times a day to look at yourself in the mirror and say (out loud of course): “I am unbelievable … I am one of a kind and I love you.” Be sure to touch your vocal chords during the affirmation to feel the powerful vibration.
Parashat Emor Weekly Inspiration
What is the Kohen and why do we need them?
Welcome to our first weekly newsletter that’s dedicated to the Portion of Emor and exploring spirituality on an advanced level.
In this inaugural portion, we’ll dive straight into the Kohen and not only explore who they were – but why they had so many rules and regulations.
Our portion starts with the Creator telling Moses to speak to the Kohanim – the High Priests. These powerful high priests were once tasked with taking care of the physical aspects of all spiritual connections performed for the Israelites in the desert.
The second subject of this portion addresses the concept of the High Holidays and particularly those sacred days that all Israelites commit to until the time of the Messiah.
Finally, we’ll explore the powerful notion of “an eye for an eye” during the ultimate subject of this portion – which centers around a son who was the result of an Egyptian man raping an Israelite woman. The Israelite woman was Shlomit Bat Divri and her son was filled with anger, cursing God until they were forced out of desperation to bring the son to Moses. In the end, this boy was stoned to death and through this action a swathe of issues arose to culminate in a world of war.
But first, let’s take a step back and explore the Kohen. Misconceptions swirl around this word with very few of us even understanding what they were and why.
To gain a full understanding of the Kohen, you must understand that the Israelites are essentially the vessel to hold the blessings of God. It is further written that there is just one thing that contains the blessings of the Creator – and that is peace. This powerful notion leads us to the concept that we all must to learn to simply get along with each other.
So, what is this vessel that holds the blessings of God? The word for vessel in Hebrew is “Kli” and the first letter is Kaf which stands for Kohen. The second letter is Lamed which stands for Levi and the last letter is Yud – which stands for Israel.
These letters combine to build the entire nation of Israel – thus encompassing all of the Israelites. But what does this mean? When God created the world, as it is written in the Talmud and Zohar, he did so with an immediate cause and effect. But humans could not handle the very concept of immediate cause and effect. Can you imagine if you did something negative and then experienced the effect of that negativity instantaneously? For many, that’s a truly challenging concept.
To rectify this challenge, the Creator restricted His own power and slowly released it to better allow human understanding. That slow release of power contains the three-column system which is called: Chessed, Gevura and Tiferet. These can be further broken down as such: Chessed = kindness = right column; Gevura = strength or power = left column and Tiferet = beauty = mercy = central column. This three-column system represents the three types of Israelites in the world. The Kohanim – which equals the right column – were only there to give and share and to contribute to the entire nation.
The left column contains the Levites and their job was to undertake the challenging task of serving the people and helping the Kohanim. The Levites would further shave the hair off their entire body, because hair represents the left column of judgement.
The rest of the nation contained the Israelites within the central column.
The fundamental reason the Kohanim contained these different rules was to channel the energy of mercy. In order to do that, they were required to be clean and pure. If they didn’t take care of themselves and emanate purity, they wouldn’t be able to channel the goodness of the Creator.
Now let’s take a look at the second subject of the portion – sacred holidays and specifically the three major occasions of Sukkoth, Passover and Shavuot. Can you see the vital pattern here? Even the holidays are divided into this three-column system.
Just like the slow release of power, the depths and meaning of these important holidays can be summed up as such: Passover = mercy and giving, which = right column. This is why on Passover, we remove all the Chametz (leavened bread that represents the left column). We eat unleavened bread (matza) because when bread rises it has the element of ego. On Passover we eat unleavened bread so as not to connect to the ego. Instead, we are connecting to the right column for the entire month of Nissan and thus connecting to giving. For this special month we also forgo mourning or
anything to do with receiving.
Shavuot = central column energy = balancing the energy as the Israelites represent balance. This holiday centers around receiving the Torah and signifies the third month the Israelites left Egypt – which is the central column according to the months.
Sukkoth = left column energy = dealing with judgement and for this reason it comes right after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is further why it is written that Hoshanah Rabba is the last chance for judgement for each of us in the coming year. On Hoshanah Rabba it is thus wise to behave in accordance with the Zohar and check the shadow under the moonlight while studying all night. This prevents any kind of judgment in your life. For Sukkoth, we hear the expression “His left arm under my head and His right arm around me” – which tells us this holiday is aligned with
the left column.
n Sukkoth we fix judgement, on Passover we seek to give and share more and on Shavuot we work on balance in our life.
And this brings us to the final aspect of today’s portion and the son who cursed the name of God. Let’s take a look at what this means. If you explore the Talmud it says that there are four types of death; stoning, strangulation, fire and sword. But these types of death never happened so what is this story about? The Torah tries to teach us here that if we don’t apply the three-column system (and thus learn how to share, how to restrain our judgment and to connect to the central column) then we will fall into wrong doing and the wrong doing will place a person on a trajectory towards the four different types of death. This week, the Torah is helping us to balance ourselves and through this balance we will be able to prevent ourselves from falling into any type of negativity for the rest of the week.
As we all know, next Monday night (May 11th) will be the death anniversary of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. When we hear the word death we think it’s a sad day but Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai chose the day he would die and he died specifically on the Omer so he could open the channel of love for all of us. For this reason, it’s customary to stay awake the entire night until May 12th in the morning we have the opportunity to open things in our lives that seem stuck.