13 January 2008

So You Want to be a Beinoni

Part 2

Kingship vs. Dictatorship

Prayer time for the Beinoni is a time of intense reflection and meditation. Prayer elicits warmth and excitement to the extent that during prayer the Yetzer Hora goes to sleep and stops being an obstacle. It’s almost like a tranquilized animal, once the drug wears off (davening) it regains its strength, until the next round of prayers and on it goes.

Prayer is a time of kingship of the divine soul and subjugatgion of the animal where the animal soul willingly accepts the domination of the divine and loses its desire to rock the boat.

Once praying is over, the thus obtained energy is used, as described by the Zohar to affect a state of consciousness known as “machshova shalet al ha’lev”- thought, mind rule the heart, the seat of emotions and desires. This is a period of dictatorship or Shlito as opposed to Melucho (Kingship). Thus the life of a beinoni is a series of rotating episodes of communion and control. But the concept of Shlito goes beyond just simple suppression of animal desires. Shlito also indicates “education, upbringing”, an ability to educate the heart as to what and how to think. So when the mind tells the heart that some things aren’t kosher, the heart isn’t particularly interested, that kind of talk leaves it cold, it’s too intellectual, intangible. When, however, the mind tells the heart that all good things come from Hashem, then the heart is willing to listen and mold itself.

There is a Torah commandment not be afraid at a time of war. This, on its face, is completely opposite to the human nature. How can a normal human being NOT be afraid when going to the battlefield? War, to borrow a line, is a time to kill people and break things. Kill or be killed. A soldier who will start analyzing his odds of survival will tend to be fearful because that arouses his heart and emotions. So the solution is for the soldier not to think, thinking can make him afraid. Prayer sessions in chassidus are often referred to as a “zman milchma” – wartime and that’s exactly what happens during davening, the divine soul tells the soldier-the animal soul that Hashem loves it and cares for it and attempts to persuade it to accept His kingship. Davening finished, the beinoni switches gears and slides into his dictatorial mode vis-à-vis his animal soul utilizing the accumulated charge stemming from his prayers. Thus a beinoni’s entire day is a series of peaks and valleys, his divine powers peak at prayer time and that allows him to function during those portions of the day when he is not actively praying. And here again, the poor man/rich man metaphor comes into play: the rich man is a tzaddik, whose “gas tank” of G-dly powers can never be depleted, he always has enough fuel to keep the house warm, never does he need to worry about running dry. The poor man is the beinoni, those daily shots of inspiration he gets from intense prayer had better last him the entire day, it’s a constant preoccupation not to cool off or to run out because if does, that could cause failure, and that’s not an option to a beinoni.

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