Erev Shabbos Voero 5781

A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas Voero, the second Shabbos of Shovevim. For those unfamiliar, Shovavim is the period of time between Parshos Shemos to Mishpatim. In Kabbistically based Judaism it is a great time for cheshbon nefesh (self-evaluation) and teshuva (return to Hashem).

This week we start the process of the Makos, the great plagues that Hashem set upon Mitzrayim to punish them for their great treachery. Hashem instructs Moshe to tell the Pharaoh that the B’Nei Yisroel need to head out of Mitzrayim in order to bring sacrifices, which Moshe dutifully relays to Pharaoh. Pharaoh then tells Moshe that they don’t need to leave, rather they can perform their sacrifices in the land of Mitzrayim itself. Moshe explains that the problem is that their sacrifice is of one of the Gods of Egypt, and it is a “toeva” (abomination literally) to the Egyptians to do this thing. This same adjective is used in regards to Egyptians eating with the Ivri’im (Hebrews) in Parshas Mikeitz. Rashi explains in this context that it is something frightening to them, or that they hate it in some other way.

Ibn Ezra really gives an amazing explanation of this whole issue though. He explains that the Egyptians followed a religion known in his day wherein people eat no parts of animals whatsoever, that they were completely vegan. So to the followers of this particular religion, seeing others sacrificing animals and eating meat was so disgusting that they would stone those who do it. Now the great irony is that they would kill people for eating meat, rather than just being okay with eating meat.

This is not to be a criticism of those who are vegan, just as a disclaimer. The interesting thing is that there is a Midrash on Parshas Noach that says the people had more mercy upon animals than fellow humans, which is what led to the flood. Mitzrayim being the pinnacle of all tumah, even though the entire place and their lifestyle is brought forth as the archetype of coarse corporeality and darkness, were according to this understanding of the Ibn Ezra vegans, though they did use animals for ploughing and general labor. The reason this comes out to be such a problem, and associated with the deepest tumah, is the aspect in which they would kill another person for eating meat.

Though freedom is often not really discussed as a Jewish concept, Bechira (Choice, speaking in the realm of the theological concept of free-will) is definitely a thing. Though there are rebbes who teach there is no such thing as true Bechira, since everything is ultimately directed by God alone and hence nobody ever makes a choice about anything, this is something that requires deep investigation and understanding of various subtleties. When your own philosophical belief leads to oppression and even killing others, chas v’sholom, this is when an idea enters into the realm of the Klippa (Evil Husks) and becomes an aspect of Mitzrayim. This can even apply, rachmono litzlon, to ideas in Torah. Even if something is a wonderful idea, once it becomes used as a tool of harm and oppression this is also the aspect of Mitzrayim. The Torah cannot be given and kept in the aspect of Mitzrayim, which is why B’Nei Yisroel had to leave and go to Sinai to receive the Torah, because to be properly spiritual in the way Hashem wants us, one has to feel free.

Now you could ask quite rightly, “So what say you to the whole concept of halacha then? If we’re supposed to be free and un-oppressed, then how does this work with the entire halachic system and enforcement thereof? Aren’t rabbis all in the business of Mitzrayim then?!”

The way this seeming contradiction should be understood is that it is not really a contradiction at all. The Torah and halacha as taught by Chazal through the Rishonim up until the Achronim, continuing through our modern era is a tool of liberation. Proper observance of halacha and certain minhagim (customs), particularly those of the Mekubalim and Chassidim (which is a whole topic for a kuntress of its own….) is the true path to freedom. Hashem didn’t give us the Torah so we could be imprisoned and die, like it says we need to live through the mitzvos explicitly in the Torah itself. The physical world, according to the Ramchal in Sefer Derech Hashem, is essentially a dark prison where everything is wretched and cruel. However Hashem was kind and granted us the Torah HaKedosha (Holy Torah), so that we have a key to unlock the concealed holiness hidden within the world, and gain freedom from the oppression of the Klippah and all the other wicked forces. The Zohar HaKodosh in the first chelek expresses such an idea with an explanation of the 100 brochos every day, that they are all keys to open up all the powers and beneficial influences of the 10 Sefiros to bring blessing down to our world.

In this Shovavim period, we should all take upon ourselves to learn more Torah, do extra mitzvos, and give more tzedaka to various causes. Especially learning Zohar HaKodosh, which nullifies the Klippah and thwarts the Sitra Achra (Other Side, side of evil) in its plans to destroy us and remove the Torah from the world.

Rosh Chodesh Sh’vat 5781

It is now Rosh Chodesh Sh’vat! A gitten choidesh everyone! The Zohar HaKodosh teaches us that on Rosh Chodesh all the gates to Shomayim are open, and the Arizal teaches we receive an extra nefesh just like Shabbos as well. In the Zohar HaKodosh Parshas Chayei Soroh it states there are two times when the aspects of the nefesh, ruach, and neshomo gain a special connection and go to Gan Eden to inhale the sweet smelling winds there: Rosh Chodesh and Shabbos. This means that Rosh Chodesh is somewhat similar to Shabbos. The Rambam himself paskens that we should make a proper seudah on Rosh Chodesh just like Shabbos, involving meat and wine, which is brought as halacha l’maaseh in the Shulchan Aruch.

The Mogen Avrohom brings in his commentary on Shulchan Aruch that there is a Midrash which states that Rosh Chodesh was a complete Yom Tov until the Cheit HaEigel (Sin of the Golden Calf). Though this great descent occurred spiritually, there is still an aspect of Yom Tov to Rosh Chodesh. This is why the Likkutei Maharich brings l’halacha that we should have special garments for Rosh Chodesh, as well as the inyan of holding back a little from certain melochos (not cutting fingernails or hair), and why we must make a seudah with meat and wine. Just washing on some breakfast sandwiches with a bit of tuna and a coffee is not fulfilling the obligation, we all must eat in a distinctly different manner from a normal weekday.

In the z’chus of our tefillos and making proper seudos Rosh Chodesh we should all merit to see yeshuos niflo’os (wondrous salvations), to perform the Yichud D’Nukva as described in Pri Etz Chaim, and as such draw down the influences from Hashem we all need to bring about the Y’mos HaMoshiach swiftly in our days!

Loving the Torah Opens Up Her Secrets

The Zohar in Saba Mishpatim (99a) teaches us something very helpful and revealing in terms of accessing the secrets of the Torah. It says there that the truest aspects of the Torah are hidden, and covered completely up. The way to come to these is through love, and the Zohar teaches us the process through a moshol of courtship. We must know, if we wish to be considered in the Chakima D’Liba (Wise of Heart) that the way to opening the secrets of the Torah is to come by the door of her house every day until she notices.

“What will the Torah do then? She’ll show her face from within her chamber, and will hint to the seeker, and immediately after this run back into the secret part of her room and hide. Every other person walking by will not see this except for the true seeker, who is waiting by the door and looking for her, and his guts and heart and soul will run after her, and through this way is the Torah revealed and concealed; and she goes forth with love to the side of her beloved to arouse his love for her.

“The way of the Torah is like this: in the beginning when the secrets become permissible to reveal to a person, in one second will the hints be alluded to; if he knows then this is good, and if not then he is called a fool. The Torah then says to the one who is near the fool to bring the foolish one to her and she will speak to him in the way that he can understand; from then she will speak to him from behind her veil that she has spread for him (which is an allusion to the stories and exoteric aspects of the Torah) in the path that he can understand, until his eyes open little by little and he begins to understand more than p’shat and progresses from p’shat, to remez, to d’rash.

“After a time that the Torah has been around this person, she changes from the thick veil to hiding behind a thinner garment and instructs him in Aggadah, which is closer to Sod. After he becomes used to being near to the Torah, she begins to reveal herself to him face to face, and speaks with him in the matters of all her secrets concealed deep within, beyond all the stories and Aggadah. From then on all the paths within her heart that were concealed from the time before will be revealed to this individual and he will become a complete person, the Morei D’Vaisa (Master of the House), that all of the Torah’s secrets are revealed to him, and she is no longer distant from him or concealed in any way. After he attains this level, the Torah then begins to show him how all the things she showed him in hints from the beginning are really all expressions of these same great secrets he has now attained understanding of, and they are not to be taken away from or added to, even the simplest aspects of Torah are not to be discarded or added onto even one letter. Verily people must be careful, and pursue the Torah constantly, to be her beloved as said above.”

That is my rough translation of the Zohar there. The essential message is that we must pursue the Torah with great love. Even if at first it seems there is only p’shat, or only remez, or only d’rash, the truth is that everything is Sod. Sodos HaTorah must not take us away from the fulfillment of the mitzvos, or saying that a mitzvah no longer applies etc. Rather Sod must inflame us even further in our service to Hashem and our love for His Torah, to dive deeper into her study. The true acquisition of Torah is through love, not through fear or distaste of others; rather only through love for Torah. We could darshan also that this form of love is relevant to ahavas Hashem, ahavas Yisroel, and ahavas haTorah, since Hashem is considered one with all these things as explained in the Zohar in another place.

Secret of Escaping Misery of Corporeality

“Coincidentally,” put in quotes due to there only being Hashogocho Protis, I learned the shtiklech aggadata in Eruvin having what to do with wine as well as a very interesting Torah from Rebbe Nachman also discussing this inyan.

The Gemoro in Eruvin teaches us that as wine is given in 70, so is sod. This is a reference to the gematrios. Rebbe Nachman teaches that there are Tzaddikim who can accomplish t’shuva through drinking wine based off of the roshei teivos on the posuk “VaYomer Hashem ‘Solachti kid’vorecho,” (And said Hashem ‘I pardon you according to your word.’). The explanation there is that the hidden allusion to wine through the roshei teivos coming to “kosi” (my cup) and “dishanto vashemen roshi” (you have anointed with oil my head) refers to the aspect of drinking wine that leads to the higher aspects of the mind.

As the word for wine (Yayin) corresponds to the word for secret (Sod), there’s an extra aspect we can learn out from both this Gemoro and Rebbe Nachman. The key to attaining true attainments in the mental realm, as well as t’shuva, is through learning Kabbalah. Without this, it is not entirely possible to attain anything of any worth. It says in that Gemoro that wine is for those who mourn to bring them simcha; any organism alive knows what the pain of existence is, the only remedy to even get through existence is Toras HaSod. Without learning Sod, life is misery and empty. With Sod though, true happiness and elevation from the world of darkness, as the Ramchal refers to gashmiyus, becomes finally possible.

Motzei Shabbos Sh’mos 5781: Accepting the Yoke of Exile

A gitte voch! I heard an interesting vort this Shabbos wherein it was said that we must accept the Ohl Golus (Yoke of Exile) with love and joy, that through this we’ll be released from Golus. This bothered me, since it is essentially improper to accept anything other than the Ohl Malchus Shomayim (Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven) in my understanding of Torah, let alone Golus, particularly that connected to the Golus Mitzrayim, which was the worst in terms of impurity and spiritual destruction.

The main question to ask is when exactly did Hashem decide to redeem the B’Nei Yisroel from Mitzrayim according to the p’shat of the Torah? It wasn’t when they decided Golus was amazing and how much they loved it and rejoiced in Mitzrayim, rather it was when they cried out to Hashem and groaned to Him about their great misery as slaves. Then Hashem remembers the bris he sealed with Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov and sends Moshe to save them.

The Baal HaTanya teaches us in Torah Ohr on this week’s parsha that the avodah of our current Golus is the clarification of halacha. He brings this through tying the various labors involved with the slavery in Mitzrayim to different parts of the learning process. Essentially, before the halacha is understood, the learning is very difficult, but once the halacha comes to clear understanding and resolution of the various machlokes, then this is an aspect of Geulah. We must also consider what we learn from the famous maaseh of the Baal Shem Tov going to the Heichal HaMoshiach and asking when Moshiach will come: when the Toras HaBaal Shem Tov spreads out over the entire world like water from a wellspring, and when everybody can make Yichudim (Spiritual Unifications) and attain the same levels he did.

Considering these various ideas, we can come to a strategy for Geulah Yechidis (Personal Redemption), as well as the Geulah Shleima. Considering the nature of Mitzrayim as the most coarse form of corporeality, and what the Baal HaTanya says about clarifying halacha being part of the Geulah, we can see that coming to understanding of the Torah is imperative in this regard. The key to understanding Torah is to cry out to Hashem and ask Him to help us understand what is meant to be communicated to us. From this perspective, we can then sit and learn every part of Torah to understand what we must do with it practically, meaning more essentially implementation rather than abstraction. Once we come to knowledge and understanding of the Torah, this is part of the Geulah, which is accomplished through getting to know Hashem. The true Geulah is accomplished through knowing Torah, which is knowing Hashem to whatever degree possible, as it says in the Zohar that Hashem and the Torah are one. When everyone understands their “letter” of the Torah, and hence exists in the state of knowing God in the facet they are meant to know and reveal, then the Geulah will be manifest in its completeness.

Erev Shabbos Parshas Sh’mos 5781

A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas Sh’mos, and today it is also the yuhrtzait of the Baal HaTanya zy’a of Chabad, the first rebbe. L’kovod (to honor) the yuhrtzait of the Baal HaTanya, the inspiration for this d’var Torah is taken from Sefer Torah Ohr.

In Torah Ohr, the Baal HaTanya teaches us based off of pesukim in Shir HaShirim, along with a bit of d’rash from the Gemoro in Maseches Eruvin (which I just happened to learn last night as part of my seder in Gemoro), what the labors of Mitzrayim were. He says there that the avodah of Golus is the difficult labor of clarification of halacha, which leads us to understanding Penimiyus HaTorah (Internal Part of the Torah), as taught in the Zohar HaKodosh. To summarize what it says there, the Zohar teaches us that the stories of the Torah are the clothing for the body of the Torah, which are the mitzvos and halochos, which is then clothing for the soul of the Torah which is Toras HaSod, the higher secrets contained within the Torah. The Baal HaTanya explains that each labor in Mitzrayim, from making the cement to shlepping the straw and all other aspects of this labor correspond to different aspects of learning Torah; from Mikra (written Torah), to Mishnah, Gemoro, and at last halacha. The entire avodah of Golus is to clarify and understand the final halacha, which is incredibly difficult because in Golus we have so many kashyos and machlokes and many of them cannot even be resolved until Eliyahu HaNavi comes and clarifies it for us.

Kabbalistically speaking, the Baal HaTanya writes, each step of the process of learning corresponds to higher levels of Birurim (separations of Ohr from Klippah). So following the entirety of the Torah there that he teaches us, as we resolve machlokes and shaalos in halacha, we get closer to the Geulah itself.

So now l’maaseh (practically), what can we do with this? What we should take out from this is the aspect that learning and understanding Torah is a piece of Geulah in and of itself. Every hard sugya (subject) in Torah learning that we can resolve and come to an understanding of is mamesh a taste of the Geulah, and hence me’ain Olam HaBa. This is one of the reasons it is best, whenever possible, that one should learn Gemoro on it’s own terms, without translations like Artscroll or even Steinsaltz, because through throwing oneself entirely into the process of learning Gemoro to figure out the halacha and understand the different opinions brings you to the highest pleasure once the answer is reached, and understood. The reason is because this is a higher level of attainment just like the Geulah Shleima itself, and is indeed an aspect of Geulah Yechidis, which should iy’H lead to the Geulah Klalis for the entire world. This should not be taken to discourage anyone who has trouble learning Gemoro, rather it should serve to encourage everyone to work more and more on learning with diligence, and to cleave to Hashem through His Holy Torah.

D’veikus: A Spiritual Level Attainable by All

The inyan of d’veikus is one commonly misunderstood or stam not understood whatsoever, being thought only to be a level for the Tzaddikim to attain to. This however is not true, it was indeed the entire tachlis of the Toras HaBaal Shem Tov that every Yid should attain d’veikus. There is an entire perek on this in the wonderful sefer B’Yam Darkecho by the hailige Breslover mashpia HaAdmo”r R’ Itche Mayer Morgenstern shlit”a wherein he outlines a path towards d’veikus and explains in detail how this is something for every Yid to attain.

In Keser Shem Tov, there are many lessons in the name of the hailige Baal Shem Tov about d’vekus. Iy’H we’ll be able to cover his other Toros on this inyan in due time. In this section however, he describes that there are some who say that d’veikus is saying one word for a very long time due to the great d’veikus he feels from that particular letter. Others say that this is when one does a mitzvah or learns Torah and turns the body into a throne for the nefesh, the nefesh throne to the ruach, ruach for the neshama, and the neshama throne to the Ohr HaShechina (light of the Shechina), from which point he is surrounded in light and rejoices with great trembling in the light of the Shechinah. This is one aspect.

To begin the next section, a shtikl is added from Sefer Ohr Ganuz LaTzaddikim that the Shomayim looks like half a sphere in all areas, and the person sees himself as standing in the center of the middle. He also brings from Sefer Chareidim a very interesting meditation. So he says the Tzaddik looking up to Shomayim is a hint to the higher world created with the letter Yud, from the earth to the Rakia (Firmament) is a distance of 500 years which alludes to the first Heh, the Tzaddik himself who is standing upright upon the earth alludes to the Vov, and the earth itself that he stands upon alludes to the final Heh. This whole process alludes to the awe of Heaven resting upon people, that the light of the Shechinah resting upon people’s heads is accomplished through this process.

The next section goes more into the specifics of how this is done through mitzvas tzitzis and other mitzvos. What is most important though is to focus on this particular meditation that the Baal Shem teaches us. Everybody has an aspect of the Tzaddik within them, this is clear from Rebbe Nachman in his Torah where he discusses friends giving each other advice in areas of avodas Hashem, where the one giving the advice is in the aspect of the Tzaddik. Our job is only to actualize our potential to become Tzaddikim. One of the best ways to do this is to engage in this particular meditation, seeing ourselves as in the middle of the earth looking up to the sky etc and visualizing each of the letters of Hahsem’s name in relation to us. Visualizing the Shemos HaKedoshim on the whole is incredibly important and clarifies the body and soul on all levels when done with regularity. This is one of the key aspects of spiritual growth and accomplishing Tikkunim when approaching Torah from a Kabbalistic perspective. Yes, we must keep poshut, but poshut doesn’t mean to avoid doing the deep parts of avodas Hashem, it just means not to think we’re so incredibly special for doing them.

The Tremendous Power of Oaths

In Zohar Parshas Yisro, the Aseres HaDibros (Ten Commandments) are discussed at length, as that was when the Torah was given at Har Sinai. An interesting statement there is that the entire Torah is included in these specific mitzvos, and one who contemplates them can merit wonderful levels in understanding and general spiritual growth.

The prohibition against taking a false oath on Hashem’s name is discussed. The essential question is, “Why is this such a severe prohibition?” The Zohar explains that this is such a severe prohibition because when Hashem made the world, He created a place deep in the Tehom (Depths) where He put a “shard” that He engraved His Name Havayah on, and every oath made descends to this place and the shard receives it. When a true oath is made, Hashem’s name is exalted through this and His name is “strengthened,” like an engraving on clay or wax that is deepened with a stylus. The opposite is true though, rachmono litzlon, when someone swears falsely, that it is like the Shem is erased and weakened, and the world is brought close to destruction through swearing a false oath; until Hashem calls a specific Malach to go and fix the name upon the shard.

There’s an idea in Chassidus that I heard once, the source escapes me, that when a person makes an oath in Hashem’s name the entire Creation comes forward to assist in the fulfillment of this oath. This is one aspect of the idea in halacha that one who needs to do t’shuva may make such a serious oath in regards to this particular effort, since all Hashem’s Creation will come to help him do this he will then be able to accomplish that which he seeks to do. This is an aspect of what it says much earlier in the Zohar HaKodosh as well, that the Yetzer HaRa can be made a helper to one rather than an enemy. There’s a segulah brought by Rebbe Nachman that making an oath and fulfilling it immediately brings one to oneg Shabbos (enjoyment of Shabbos).

The main thing that ties these all together is the idea of exalting Hashem’s name. It’s brought in various places that through t’shuva Hashem’s name is exalted; much the same as testifying to His creation of the world on Shabbos through delighting in Shabbos exalts His name. It is of the utmost importance that we fulfill any vows we take, and make them when necessary. Though there are many warnings about this, and they are to be certainly taken seriously, sometimes an oath intended to be kept with complete sincerity is just the thing needed to tip the scales of our personal merits to attain true t’shuva and Geulah Yechidis (personal redemption), as well as what we all need to attain the Geulah Shleimah (complete redemption).

Motzei Shabbos VaYechi: Yahrtzeit of the B’Nei Yissoschor

A gitte voch! This previous Shabbos was the yuhrtzait of the hailige B’Nei Yissoschor. In many kehillos it is the minhag not to say Tachanun because of this. B’H, the yuhrtzait fell out on Shabbos this year so there could be no problems brought by those who dislike skipping Tachanun.

Just in short, I saw brought up by the Kalever rebbe shlita of Williamsburg some interesting stories about the B’Nei Yissoschor sometime last year in the gilyon they send out. One that got my attention is how the rebbe davened. If someone walked into the beis midrash of the B’Nei Yissoschor in Dinov to daven Shachris and asked where the rebbe was holding, a chussid there could answer which word he was holding on because the rebbe took such a long time with each word.

It is easy to read such a sort of story and say “Wow, the rebbe, the Tzaddik, performed such a sort of avodah. This means that in order to be truly holy I have to be exactly like this also!” It says in Keser Shem Tov in the name of the Baal Shem though that every person must serve Hashem according to his own nature, to his own level. Not every Tzaddik serves Hashem the same way: some Tzaddikim daven for an incredibly long time; others daven very quickly like the Kotzker zt”l. Rebbe Nachman even teaches in one of his later Torahs that one who has attained the level of Mochin D’Gadlus (broad-mindedness in the Kabbalistic sense) can daven quickly since such a person can daven with real kavana even rapidly. Coming into this week, we should remember and strive to serve Hashem to the best of our capability in the unique way that the Aibishter created us to serve Him.

Erev Shabbos Parshas VaYechi 5781

A gitten erev Shabbos! This week’s parsha is Parshas VaYechi, hence the last week we lain from Sefer B’Reishis. In this parsha, Yaakov Avinu blesses his sons with their individual brochos, he is niftar, and the Yidden get established in Mitzrayim with Yosef HaTzaddik taking care of their needs.

One interesting aspect of the parsha is what it says in the Gemoro, “Yaakov Avinu lo meis” (Yaakov didn’t die). What makes this particularly curious is that it says that Yosef HaTzaddik called the doctors and embalmers of Mitzrayim to preserve Yaakov Avinu’s body, which is quite a big problem. P’shat is that it was in order to prevent the Egyptians from deifying him, due to his lack of rot. We know from the Gemoro that the bodies of Tzaddikim and Talmidei Chachomim do not rot due to their great kedusha. So this is a stira (contradiction) though with what it says when the B’Nei Yisroel leave Mitzrayim under Moshe Rabeinu, that Moshe carried the bones of Yosef HaTzaddik to Eretz Yisroel; how could Yosef HaTzaddik have been bones since his body couldn’t have decayed in the first place?

The Ohr HaChaim brings a gevaldige teirutz (wonderful answer) to this kashya (tough question). He brings there this whole idea that the body of a Tzaddik doesn’t rot, not even the food in his guts, because the zuhamas hanachash (venom of the Serpent) was removed only by Kabbalas HaTorah at Har Sinai. Before this, the Tzaddikim, even the Avos, didn’t have this special characteristic in their bodies that they shouldn’t rot.

What we can learn from this is that the Torah HaKedosha is the only thing that gives the body the ability to resist decay. Meaning that through learning Torah and engaging with the mitzvos to connect with Hashem in this particular direct manner we can improve our own physical health and prevent our bodies from rotting while alive. The Torah is called “Chaim,” Life itself. There’s an idea that the Tzaddikim don’t age, that their faces stay unwrinkled even until they are old, meaning 70s+. We can see a source for this concept from the parsha, that since the Tzaddikim are immersed in Torah, they are granted a slice of this aspect in life of preventing the body from rotting since it is vivified with true life.

After the B’Nei Yisroel take their father to Eretz Yisroel in this parsha, and his brothers make t’shuva and reconcile completely with Yosef, it is recounted that Yosef HaTzaddik gave his brothers and their families everything they needed in terms of food and all other things. This is interesting, as al pi Kabbalah, Yosef HaTzaddik corresponds to sefiras Yesod, that is the sefirah which brings the Ohr Ain Sof down to Malchus. What this comes to teach us is an interesting aspect of what occurs through the process of t’shuva and answering of prayers.

In Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman teaches that ultimately the only reason a person doesn’t have what he needs is because of he himself. For our purposes, we’ll just focus on this concept alone, rather than R’ Nachman’s entire explanation there. Ultimately, the only thing that prevents our tefillos from being answered is the klippos and sheidim made through our aveiros; this is why we say Korbanos and Ketores before davening, according to the Arizal in Pri Etz Chaim, this set of passages destroys them and throws them to the side so our tefillos may ascend. Through doing t’shuva, which is the aspect of אתערותא דלתתא (meaning, the arousal from the lower worlds, “awakening of the Feminine aspect”) through which we excite the Shechinah HaKedosha to reach the higher worlds and accomplish אתערותא דלעילא (meaning, arousal from the upper worlds, “awakening of the Masculine aspect), we draw down the brochos and hashpo’os we so desperately need through Z’air Anpin/Tiferes, which is the aspect of Yaakov Avinu who requested that the brothers make peace. That is to say, t’shuva and mechila (forgiveness) are the true keys to receiving all that we need from Hashem in all ways.