Jewish World Review
Ready to HotSync Your Soul?
Rabbi David Aaron
Secrets to a Super-Natural Life of Freedom and Synchronicity
Years ago, I saw these sandals I really liked. At the time, I
knew nothing about these shoes other than I just liked the way they
looked. So I went into a store and I tried on a pair, but they
didn't feel right. They had all these funny bumps inside of them.
I told the salesman, "There is something wrong with
He said, "No there is something wrong with your
feet. You must understand that these shoes are designed to support
the shape of a natural foot."
"What's unnatural about my feet. They're in their
natural place — at the end of my legs."
He laughed. "You don't understand. Your feet
have taken the unnatural shape of the shoes you've been wearing. And
the shoes you've been wearing are good for killing cockroaches in
tight corners, but they are not meant to contain feet."
I felt insulted so I took my feet and walked out.
But he had planted an idea in my mind and suddenly I was acutely
aware of the cockroach killing potential of the shoes I was
wearing. So I went back.
He did not gloat. He was compassionate. And he
sold me a nice pair of these shoes. But he warned me: "Go slow with
these shoes. Wear them only an hour or two a day at first. Until
your feet get used to them. But I guarantee, once your feet return
to their natural state, these shoes will be the best shoes you ever
bought. You're gonna feel the difference."
I said "Right, right."
And I put on the shoes and I decided to walk
home. An hour goes by, two hours, three and all of sudden, I feel
like my feet are being ripped apart with pain shooting up my spine.
And I can't believe it! I've been ripped off. It's these lousy
expensive shoes with the dumb bumps."
So I go back and complain. And the salesman says
to me "I bet you wore these more than two hours."
"So, I'm telling you. Be patient and you'll see
— these shoes are going to fit like a dream."
He was right. I have worn nothing else since
then. And I found out that the most natural of things can initially
feel very unnatural, but eventually you really know the difference.
LIVING IN SYNC
Many of my students are astonished to learn that the
commandments — mitzvahs— guide us towards a natural life and
empower us to become our most natural selves. That the
commandment-driven life is all about being in sync with the cosmic
principles; attuning us to the will of G-d that governs all life.
What really are the mitzvahs?
Mitzvahs, plural — mitzvah, singular
— is often translated as commandment, but that doesn't
do it justice. Mitzvah really comes from the Hebrew word that means
"to connect" or "to unite."
Many people mistakenly think of commandments as
demands. They are not.
A demand sounds threatening and self denying,
while a command is an invitation to commune, to join, which is
joyous and empowering.
A mitzvah is about connecting with G-d. It's
through the mitzvahs that we transcend our ego, and
synchronize our individual lives to the universal life, bonding our
selves with G-d, the all-embracing Universal Self of all selves, the
Soul of souls. G-d is the Great Self — the Ultimate "I" —
the source of all will, intelligence and love.
The Torah tells us that before the Israelites even
knew what the mitzvahs were they accepted them unequivocally
and unconditionally, telling G-d "we will do and we will hear." The
Talmud says that G-d responded in admiration, "Who revealed this
secret to My children, the secret that the ministering angels use
for themselves, "Bless G-d, you angels of His, you mighty ones who
perform His bidding, hearkening to the voice of His word." (Psalms
In contrast, the Talmud, also tells us that a heretic
criticized the Israelites for being so impetuous putting their mouth
before their ears. It makes more sense to first hear what the
commandments would be and then decide whether to accept them or
not. What did the Israelites understand that this heretic obviously
This heretic understands G-d as a being separate
from man, floating in heaven over there, and that the
mitzvahs are His demands. He therefore sees the acceptance of
mitzvahs as a sign of weakness and an act of self sacrifice.
You are surrendering your will and your self interests to the will
and self interest of this other being—-G-d. But the Israelites
knew better. They knew that G-d is the root, context, ground and
essence of our soul. They understand that there couldn't be any
conflict of self interests, because the soul is a spark of the Great
Universal Self. If G-d were the sun each one of us would be a ray of
His light. To do the mitzvahs is actually an act of Great
Self expression. It's an act of strength. In sync with G-d, I am
even more natural and empowered to express the real me. This is the
secret the angels know—- performing the will of G-d is a
joyous opportunity for self expression. Through the mitzvahs
we attune ourselves to the Ultimate Self; radiate His light and
channel His presence.
That's what it's about.
Yet, I know so many people who think of
mitzvahs as nothing more than good deeds. Like brownie
points, you rack them up, you save them, you cash them in the next
This reminds me of when I was dating a woman and
to get a sense of who she was, I asked her what she envisioned in
her future home, once she was married and had a family. She said:
"What comes to mind, as a symbol of our home? I see a mitzvah chart
on the refrigerator door, and whenever the children do a good deed,
they get a star on that chart. And when they collect about 10 or 15
stars, they get a prize."
I said "That's nice. But what else do you
envision in your home?"
But that was it. That was what she thought of as
a wonderful day in her home. She felt my disappointment, I guess,
because she said, "Well, how about you?"
So I said, "When I think of my home, I think of
... I don't know ... I think of ... light. I want my home to be full
And she said, "that could run a high electrical
That's when we both realized that this was not a
Of course, it is nice to have a mitzvah chart for
children. I would use it too. It's a metaphor that's important for
children to gauge their growth. But there are adults who still have
a childish sense that mitzvahs are brownie points. It's as if
they thought that G-d has a big cosmic refrigerator and on His
refrigerator He has your chart. That implies, of course, that G-d
must have a cosmic oven also. And right in that oven is your
transgression chart. So beware of G-d's kitchen.
Mitzvahs are surely more than collecting
brownie points. They are actions which bring health and healing to
the world restoring us to our natural godly essence; plugging us
into to the source of life.
The Talmud says that returning to the ways of commandments
brings healing and health to the world. In contrast, transgression
is associated with sickness.
Why? Because it causes stress and disease
in the world.
We all know there is physical hygiene. You brush
your teeth everyday. And if you don't, you lose your teeth.
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So why do some people think that there physical hygiene
— things you must do as part of your daily routine — but
not spiritual hygiene? Why do people think that the physical body
has very real principles and rules that maintain a healthy harmony
between it and its environment, but that the spirit doesn't?
The Hebrew word for healing refuah is rooted in the word
refuee meaning "loose" or "lax." What's hinted here is that sickness
comes through tension, strain and stress, and health comes through
harmony, wholeness and integration.
The Hebrew word for sickness is machala, and the mystics teach
that one gets well by turning machala into maholos which means a
The mitzvahs gives our life a rhythmic dance-like flow.
The Talmud says that in the after life, those who kept the
mitzvahs will dance in a circle around G-d, and G-d will lead
them in an eternal dance.
You can't know how to souldance without the dancing lessons
that the mitzvahs provide. mitzvahs are like the
footprints that dance studios paint on the floor in order to teach
people to dance.
Imagine you walk into Life's Dance Studio and you see
footprints on the floor. You say, "Gee, who brought in all this
mud? Look at all the footprints on your floor."
But you are told, "No, no, we painted that intentionally."
You take a closer look and see that each footprint has 1, 2,
3, 4 ... 1, 2, 3, 4. It looks rigid and silly.
But the dance instructor says "Follow the steps, follow the
When you start you might feel kind of unnatural and stiff, but
the more you do it — the more you coordinate your life to the
universal life — the more gracefully you move, and you catch
on to the dance, to the harmony. Then you realize that there is so
much more between the steps.
It is written that when a person does one mitzvah, it already
leads them into the next mitzvah, because we don't view
mitzvahs as separate brownie points, but as the movement of
life. A life of mitzvahs is the Dance of Life.
THE DANCE OF FREEDOM
Now there are a lot of dances — there is disco dancing
and square dancing. There are tangos and waltzes and rhumbas. So
just what kind of dance are we talking about?
Free dance. Through mitzvahs we dance our way to
freedom — the freedom to be the real you and me. Interestingly enough,
the first of the Ten Commandments states: "I, G-d, am your G-d, who
took you out of Egypt." You probably know that the Israelites
endured many years of cruel oppression under the tyranny of the King
if Egypt, before being freed from slavery by a series of miracles.
They crossed the Red Sea and received the commandments at Mt. Sinai.
Now this stupendous event happened only 50 days after they
left Egypt, so there is no possible way they could have forgotten
what just happened. How then are we to understand this strange
Imagine that six weeks ago you almost drowned and a stranger
by the name of Jack came out of nowhere and saved your life. You owe
him everything. You intend to name all your future children Jack,
Jacqueline, Jacket, Jacquzzi ... And then the phone rings and the
voice you will never ever
forget, says to you, "Hi Dave, this is Jack, you know, the Jack who
saved your life ..." Does he really need to say that? As far as
you are concerned is there even another Jack in the world?
So too, the very first of the mitzvahs seems just as
bizarre, and yet it is the root of all the commandments. To boot, it
doesn't even seem to be a commandment. Isn't it just a statement?
The answer is: We are commanded to know that G-d is "I"
— the Great "I" — the source of our freedom. And we are
commanded to continue to liberate ourselves from other oppressions
by bonding with G-d as the Great "I." When you live the
mitzvahs you hot sync your will into the Will of all wills;
you hot sync your soul into the Soul of all souls.
Living the mitzvahs is the secret to a super-natural life
filled with joyous celebration of freedom and synchronicity.
For more on this topic see Endless Light: the Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power
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Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.
He is the author of, among others, The Secret Life of G-d, and Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.
© 2009, Rabbi David Aaron