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ב"ה

WHAT IS THE JEWISH LAW OF ATTRACTION?

Friday, 28 December, 2018 - 9:30 am

The banquet was about to begin when the master of ceremonies was informed that the clergyman invited to give the blessing was unable to attend. He asked the main speaker if he would oblige, and the man agreed.

He began, "There is no clergyman present, let us thank G-d."

You all know that Rabbis are just like salesmen. The main difference is that the salesperson sells you something you want but don’t necessarily need, while the rabbi sells you something you need but don’t necessarily want…

But perhaps, the time has come to join the two. To sell not only what we need but also what we want.

The Torah, rarely describes the emotions, and the inner state of mind, of its characters. As a rule, the Torah described actions, not feelings. How did Adam and Eve fee

l when their oldest son Cain murdered his brother Able?

How did Noah feel when he emerged from the Ark only to discover that civilization was wiped out?

How did Isaac feel as he lay tied on an altar, with his father holding a knife over him? How did Abraham, the father who waited a century for his son to be born, feel at that moment?

How did Isaac feel when he discovered that he blessed the “wrong” son? How did Jacob feel when he realized he married the “wrong” woman? We don’t know; we can only speculate or deduce it from the narrative.

There is one exception to this pattern—and it is in this week’s portion, Shemot.

“Now it came to pass in those days that Moses grew up and went out to his brothers and looked at their burdens. He saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man of his brothers… so he struck the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

“He went out on the second day, and behold, two Hebrew men were quarreling, and he said to the wicked one, “Why are you going to strike your friend?” And he retorted, “Who made you a man, a prince, and a judge over us? Do you plan to slay me as you have slain the Egyptian?”

The Torah now, in an astounding exception to its usual pattern, goes on to describe not an action, but an emotion:

“Moses became frightened and said, ‘Indeed, the story has become known!’”

Then the Torah goes back to the story: “Pharaoh heard of this incident, and he sought to slay Moses. Moses ran away from Pharaoh to Midian.”

Why does the Torah, in an exception to its rule always, transcribe Moses’ emotional response? Had Moses fled Egypt due to his fear, the description would have been warranted. It would explain his escape. But that was not the case. Moses’ fear did not produce any results. He fled only after Pharaoh found out about the incident and sought to kill him.

Why does the Torah spill ink here to tell of Moses’ fear?

Let me share with you a story.

It was 1940. A young couple embarked on their honeymoon. They decided to be adventurous and youthful. They rented a wooden cabin at Sherwood Lake for three nights, hoping to kindle their romance and affection.

They did not realize they would be privy to a special visitor who wished to join their honeymoon. A noisy pileated woodpecker outside their cabin kept the couple awake through the night, and when heavy rain started, they learned from the numerous leaks, and their soaking blankets and pillows, that the pesky bird had bored holes in the cabin’s roof. The husband wanted to shoot the varmint, but his wife would not allow him to do so.

The next night, their woodpecker returned and kept them awake again. And then again, the third night he would not persist.

For all practical purposes, and from all practical perspectives, this has been a grand failure, a miserable honeymoon. What was supposed to be the fun of their lives, turned out to be a dismal experience? It could not get much worse.

Yet on the way back home, the couple decided to think otherwise. “We have had an awesomely successful honeymoon. Now we just got to figure out how…”

And then the wife suggested that her husband, an animator, make a cartoon about the bird. Indeed, that day Woody Woodpecker was born. The famous cartoon by Walter and Gracie Lantz was created in 1940 during their honeymoon, as a result of the woodpecker who almost destroyed their honeymoon.

50 years later, when the couple was asked what the best night of their life was? They responded: It was the night in the cabin when the woodpecker bored a hole in our roof! That night made us rich, famous, successful and blissful.

What was the objective truth? Was it a positive honeymoon or a negative one? Was it a good experience or a horrific one? The answer is: Depends how you think about it. They could have decided it was a miserable honeymoon and so it would have been; they decided otherwise—they decided it was the best thing in their life. And so it was!

Max Planck (1858-1947) was a Nobel Prize-winning German physicist and the father of quantum theory. His work in the field of theoretical physics led the way to many advances throughout the 20th century. He once said this: "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness."

Quantum physics shows us that the world is not the hard and unchangeable thing it may appear to be. Instead, it is a very fluid place continuously built up using our individual and collective thoughts. An object does not exist independently of its observer.

What we think is true objectively is really an illusion, almost like a magic trick. What makes anything true is our thoughts that it must be true.

Perhaps the best way to understand this concept is via an old cartoon.

There was a cartoon about a speedy, clever little bird called the Road-Runner, running from the voracious and exceedingly dumb coyote. The cartoon depicted several abortive attempts by the coyote to make a meal of the Road-Runner. In one scene, the Road-Runner raced to the edge of a cliff and hid behind a rock. The coyote, however, was so absorbed in the chase that he didn't notice the precipice and ran right off the edge. He maintained his stride, in midair, oblivious to his impossible situation and in defiance of the law of gravity, until eventually, it occurred to him that the road-runner was nowhere in sight. He screeched to a stop and turned to look back. He saw the road-runner watching him from the edge of the cliff, and he began to realize that he was in major trouble. He slowly looked down and only then, when it was crystal clear to him that he was standing on thin air, did he fall.

Although this is a cartoon, it contains a profound insight. The coyote fell specifically as a consequence of looking down. The fact that he had no trouble until he directed his vision downward, indicated that he was not subject to natural law until he accepted it upon himself.

Our father Abraham had no problem with this concept. He answered to no one, feared nothing, and believed in nothing aside from the Almighty. The fire couldn't burn him, and water couldn't drown him because he accorded them no recognition whatsoever. It was not that he relied on miracles, but rather that his vision was constantly directed upward toward his Creator and he never took earthly obstacles, laws, and necessities into account. He never looked down and, therefore, he never fell down.

The world is literally your mirror, enabling you to experience in the physical plane what you hold as your truth—until you change it.

Some of us have heard “no” in our life much more than we have heard “yes.” So when we see reality, we impose our “no” on reality. And that becomes reality!

The laws of nature, are not written in stone; they are written in the mind. When our mind changes, our reality changes.

All the miracles in the Torah are manifestations of this notion. When the Jews approached the Red Sea, they did not see nature as tyrannical. They saw the Divine in the world; they saw a fluid universe. They were “miracle-minded.” Not “nature-minded.” They did not allow their mind to limit reality into a box. They allowed their mind to see the universe from a Divine, infinite perspective—and that became the reality around them.

Everything we see in our physical world started as an idea, an idea that grew as it was shared and expressed. Judaism teaches that the entire universe began with G-d’s will, thoughts and words. So when we “think good,” our thoughts join G-d’s thoughts, and together we affect our reality.

You become what you think about most. The world is your mirror, enabling you to experience in the physical plane what you hold as your truth.

This is what we call in Judaism Bitachon. Full trust. What is this? It is the revolutionary idea that our world is not fixed. What we see is only one manifestation of infinite possibilities. When we can truly transcend the “tyranny” of nature, and surrender all of reality to the Divine source, when we stop “expecting” the negative, but we realize that all reality is really Divine infinite energy, we have the power to recreate the reality, and bring to the fore entirely new possibilities.

Bitachon is so powerful that the Baal Shem Tov once said: When G-d wants to punish someone, He must first take away from him his Bitachon. When we really trust G-d and not nature, it is so powerful that nothing can happen! Our Bitachon must thus be compromised for any force to have control over us.

It’s hard to get the big picture when you have such a small screen. Bitachon means we got to expand our screen.

The Tzemach Tzedek writes a story.

It was Motzaei Shabbat Parshat Shemot, 24 Teves, 5673, December 1812. He was praying the Maariv service. His grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, passed away that night at 10:25 PM, and this happened a few hours, earlier. The Tzemach Tzedek, apparently saddened over the condition of his grandfather, prayed with a sing-song of depression and sadness.

When he finished praying, his grandfather told him: “Your inner state of mind effects reality! Do not sing songs with tunes of depression. The world is like a mirror. When you reflect an image of sadness and dread, that is what comes back to you. The Divine energy mirrors your own inner reality.”

I read a story about a man who was in a car accident and bleeding profusely.  Another man pulled over. He happened to be an EMT, but did not have any equipment. He saw that this man was going to bleed out and there was nothing he could do.

Feeling bad to tell this to the man, he started telling him that he was an EMT and that he can see that his own body was already stopping the bleeding and starting to heal.

Amazingly, this man's body actually stopped bleeding out and by the time the ambulance got there, the situation has improved.  The man was saved.

Conversely, I once read of an experiment where they blindfolded people and told them that they were holding the tip of a paper clip over a flame, and were then going to touch the tip to their arm, and how it would cause a tiny burn. The person is waiting for the burn and the experimenter touches the tip to their arm. In actuality it was just a regular pencil tip that he touched to the person's arm, however, the person's arm actually sprouted a red blister in that spot like a tiny burn...

At last, we understand why the Torah makes a point to tell us about Moses’ intense fear when he heard that incident was known to the Jew he was chastising.

Note the sequence of the verses: “And Moses became frightened, and he said, the incident has become known. And Pharaoh heard of the incident and he sought to kill him, and Moses fled…”

The story about Moses’ fear is not an isolated event. Rather, it is here the Torah is teaching us for the first time the “Jewish law of attraction.” Moses’ fear and expectations that evil will befall him was the decisive factor in this story. So potent was Moses’ fear, his “negative visualization,” that his fear blossomed into fruition—his deed was reported to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh wanted him killed. He then had to flee.

When the Jew told Moses, “will you kill me as you killed the Egyptian,” Moses was overtaken by fear. And not only in his heart. He even verbalized it: “He said, the incident was known.” It was these very expectations and the words that concretized them, that actually had an impact on reality. His fear translated into a “vibe” that arrived at Pharaoh.

If he had been optimistic, if his expectations could have been wholly positive, he could have averted his own arrest by Pharaoh.

“Think good and it will be good”! We often fail to realize how deeply powerful our thoughts and expectations are. We do not realize how the genesis of so many obstacles in our life is not written in stone; they are written in our mind.

We define the reality and compress it in the box of our mind’s limits.

Have the courage to change your mindset, and so often you change much of your reality.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky

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