Clear your thoughts: Let G-d shine through

Weekly series: No need to rectify the darkness - it can be dispelled.

Tags: Light
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

Judaism Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
צילום: Gal Einai

The first mitzvah in the Ten Commandments is “I am Havayah, your G-d”. This is the mitzvah of emunah, faith. This mitzvah is immediately followed by the second commandment, “You shall not have other gods before Me.” One should not believe in anything else besides G-d and also not rely on anything else. No need for tricks.

Many people look for all kinds of healing methods, for example. The Torah certainly commands us to seek out healing and a person should go to a doctor if need be. But if one invests too much effort in searching out and believing in all sorts of healing methods, it can turn into idol worship.

In hassidism we learn that even a person who invests too much time and thought into how he is going to earn his livelihood, thinking that his sustenance is dependent upon all his calculations – is called “an idol worshipper in purity”. Why in purity? He doesn’t think he is worshipping idols, but in truth, he is worshipping something other than G-d.

Belief in G-d means making empty space, a hollow place where man removes his thoughts from his worries and frees his mind. He relies strictly on G-d and opens himself up to be led by Him. He is open to do whatever G-d wants of him.

The source of thought is in the power of our will. A person wants something and subsequently thinks about how he can attain it. All our thoughts, worries and concerns stem from our will. In Hebrew, the word for will is ratzon and the word for running is the cognate ritzah. Our souls are in a constant state of running and our thoughts do not cease for a second. We have all sorts of wills that fill us with thoughts.

What is our will? To fill all our imaginary needs. We imagine that we lack something, be it relationships, character traits, power, honor or tangible items. It is all imagination and we are full of imagination. We are full of desire to attain what we think we lack, and so we are full of thoughts.  

The foundation of the service of G-d is the power of the soul to believe in Him and to contract and banish all imagination-based thoughts. We must put all our desires aside. How can we possibly do this? There is no way to rectify these dark-sourced thoughts and images. The prophet Havakuk explains the positive action we need to take: “And a tzaddik lives by means of his emunah”. By implementing his power of faith in G-d - that all that He  does is for the best, the righteous person illuminates the darkness of his foreign thoughts and imaginations, conjured up by his evil inclination.

No need to rectify the darkness – it is simply dispelled and no longer exists. Now, the person’s mind is illuminated - open and cleared for G-d alone.

This is a process of long-term work. Every time that we overcome a dark worry or foreign thought by placing our faith in G-d, we illuminate another small piece of darkness in our consciousness. Bit by bit and piece by piece, we let our connection to G-d shine through the darkness, bringing light, G-dliness and redemption to the world.