But now, having experienced certain things myself as a result of being immersed in all the spiritual tumah that is unfortunately part and parcel of this subject, I have to say: Reb Gutman, you were right!
A friend of mine suggested that I start saying the passages related to the Ketoret, or Incense offering, which are known as a Jewish remedy for overcoming the forces of spiritual impurity, and I really felt better after doing that.
The other thing I did was return to my Likutei Moharan, which has seen me through a number of dark places and times in my life. In Lesson 78 of the first part of Likutei Moharan, Rebbe Nachman writes the following:
“Creation was for the purpose of revealing God’s kingship….
“One lives only by breathing. But what is the breath? One exhales and inhales ruach (air)….When a person is bonded to the holy Malchut (God’s kingship), speaking Torah or prayer, one exhales and inhales the spirit of holiness….
“….’The wicked are considered dead even while alive’ (Gemara, Brachot 18b), for since the cord of holiness has been cut, from where can he draw life? Rather he draws a spirit of foolishness, for he is bound to the ‘old and foolish king’ (Ecclesiastes 4:13). This is what our sages said: ‘No person sins unless a spirit of foolishness has entered him (Gemara Sotah 3a).”
This is actually a very beautiful lesson, and I highly recommend you go take a look at the full version for yourself, as I’m just touching on some highlights in this post, namely:
True Jewish ‘breathwork’ is when we attach ourselves to the Creator of all, i.e. Hashem, and give Him His full due in our lives.
When we’re engaged in true Jewish activities, like learning Torah or praying (particularly things like personal prayer, or hitbodedut) – then our breath is automatically attached to God, and to goodness and every blessing.
But when we cut ourselves, and our breathing, off from God, has vahalila – by following spiritually impure religious practices, for example – then we ‘cut’ the cord of holiness that our souls and our health truly depends on, and instead we become bound to the ‘old and foolish king’.
Whenever our sages refer to the ‘old and foolish king’ that’s one of the codenames for the Yetzer Hara/Evil Inclination/Samech Mem/Angel of Death himself.
So, if we would write what Rebbe Nachman is telling us in more plain English, this is what we’d say:
“With every breath you take, you have a choice to connect yourself to God and goodness (via learning and living Torah, keeping the commandments and praying), or to the forces of darkness and impurity. If you decide to connect to the forces of impurity, then you’re going to end up cutting yourself off from God, has vahila, and that’s really bad news for you and your soul.”
People, do you know how beautiful and lofty and holy our Jewish souls really are? Do you know that the whole point of being a Jew is to reveal God in every single detail of our lives, right down to each breath we take?
All this week, I’ve been trying to spell things out so clearly so that anyone who has eyes to see, will see. But I know that Rebbe Nachman’s words always penetrate the fog that surrounds us all, and somehow gets straight into our neshamas.
So for once, I don’t think any more comment is required.