relate now

As we mentioned previously in this quote from Likkutei Halachot, the Ariz"l said that the upper worlds and everything happening within them are in a constant state of motion, forever changing. This knowledge was the basis for the lesson we brought out there in relating to HaShem always in new and different ways.

Many people may have trouble understanding the nuances of what it means to serve HaShem always from a place of newness. I will repeat (endlessly if need be) that all the deepest secrets of the world are hidden very close to us. In this particular case it occurred to me that the perfect example of this avodah is actually part of the natural order of things: relating to one's spouse.

Personally, as a guy, it seems clear to me that the example is much stronger when the spouse in question is female, but I believe it applies in both directions. Relating to another person is something very different than relating to furniture, natural phenomenon, or even pets. People are naturally unpredictable. You can certainly learn their patterns and have a fairly good idea of where they are going with a particular train of thought, but you can never be sure, because people are always changing.

The situation of marriage in which you are forced to relate to your spouse in every possible frame of mind and at every possible moment is the closest parallel we have to understanding what it is to relate to HaShem. Having another person constantly in your life who is always changing and growing and who always requires change and growth from us is one of the ways that we are naturally educated to connect and relate to HaShem.

When your partner ceases chas v'shalom to grow and change, and starts to become repetitive and boring, we start to have a harder time relating, we think they are starting to age, to grow old. At this point the relationship begins to hinge solely on loyalty and past experiences, something that takes even more out of the 'youthful' partner to maintain.

This is exactly what Rabbi Nachman describes in our Avodath HaShem. Think of HaShem as the ever-young, ever-new partner. Think of how the relationship looks to Him (k'vyachol) when we cease to be interesting and alive, when we are lost in daily repetitions of the day before, when our responses are by-rote reflex-arcs--never even reaching the brain. Thank God that He has the energy to maintain the relationship even in this geriatric state of senility. He is still loyal, He remembers the kindness of our youth. (זכרתי לך חסד נעוריך)

But, is that really the best we can do? Sadly many of us fail at the marriage thing, the relationship thing.. it's hard and it really takes two willing and youthful participants to continuously overcome their fears and be courageous, be ever more selfless. But, whether we fail or succeed at this, we are learning valuable lessons in relating to HaShem.

In the case of a human relationship we can always blame the other party, sometimes legitimately. In the case of a relationship with HaShem, we have no one else to blame. If we fail, we can always try again, we get near-endless chances to recognize that we never figured out or made clear what it was we wanted, that we weren't willing to listen, that we weren't willing to think beyond ourselves, that we weren't willing to give it a real chance.

Relating to HaShem isn't a guessing game, it isn't a magic show, it's about engaging HaShem in every one of your experiences. HaShem is always there waiting for us to snap out of our premature senescence.

[There is no conspiratorial club that divulges all the secrets, there's only your life where all the secrets have already been laid bare, right before your eyes, if you really look to see. If you don't know how to look, then pray plead beg for new eyes.]


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