investing today in tomorrow

In the past I've spoken about how every revellation of holiness involves an element of death. In looking into the first two berachoth of the Amidah (shemoneh esrei) I've gained a new understanding. The relationship of the first two berachoth is the relationship of Hochmah (Wisdom) and Binah. (Understanding) These two attributes are called Abba and Ema, father and mother. According to Chazal, a child begins as something purely intellectual, a drop that begins in his father's mind and eventually impregnates his mother. Within his mother the drop is fleshed out from something barely corporeal into a fully-formed complete person. (a Komah Shelaimah)

What in the past has appeared to me as an element of death is actually the fall of the drop from the intellect of the father into the womb of the mother. It is a yeridah l'tzorech aliyah, a fall in order to rise. In the womb the idea is given clothing, garbed in manifold layers of interfaces with which it can interact with the world, expressing its underlying will. These interfaces are the 248 limbs and 365 sinews. Through each element of the body, the clothing of the soul, one of the 613 mitzwoth is given voice.

There is a major element here that I had never really considered or understood before. The pure intellectual drop cannot grow, it has no permanence, without the womb. Only in the womb of the mother can that momentary thought find a chance at a real and lasting life. It is important to recognize that just as the initial inspiration drop was hidden away inside the mind of his father, so too is the drop hidden away within his mother's womb. Only in a hidden place can this drop come to be, and only in a hidden place can this drop grow into a whole and complete world.

Of course to accomplish anything, to express his will, the new child must exit the womb and enter into the world. The revealed world is where the most important actions of the child will take place. Only in the light of day is the child's true character revealed.

This is an important point. Every day consists of a period of light and a period of darkness. The light of day is there to determine and make known what is. The darkness of night is the time in which growth and change actually take place. As Shlomo HaMelech says, "there is nothing new under the sun." Only in the darkness of night is there newness, the moon which changes and grows anew each month, each hodesh, each hadash, each newness.

Each morning a new light is shined upon the world that never was seen before, and each night the light dissipates so that new growth and change can be.

In this sense, night goes from being a time of fear and dinim, to a time of blessing and growth, true the light has left the world, but only to hide all of creation so that HaShem may actively recreate us, grow us, into something new and greater.

Each night before we sleep it is important to say Shema and vidui (acknowledge all our shortcomings of the day) then we sleep--our Neshama, our soul, ascends to the spiritual heights and is allowed to grow and develop only to return new and greater the next morning when we wake to the light of the new day to see what changed and what has become of the world overnight.

For someone who fears the darkness it is comforting to awaken each morning and see that everything is just as we left it. But, for someone who wants to grow so much, wants the world and life to be so much more, everything being the same tomorrow is what we fear.

This is why emunah is so important in the night, emunah is the recognition that only HaShem controls what will be, because only HaShem can cause real growth. Our actions during the day show HaShem how much we want to achieve how much we really want to grow, how much we we made use of everthing HaShem gave us today, and in the night is when HaShem assesses and fulfills our desires of the day.

That's the fear of the din, the judgment, of the night, we fear that we didn't make it clear how much we want and need from HaShem tomorrow. We fear that perhaps HaShem will find us lacking and give us a rude awakening tomorrow. It behooves us to give HaShem everything today so that HaShem will give us everything tomorrow.


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