Sunday, 27 May 2012

Windows of the Soul: Intro

by Miller, Rabbi Zvi (See all authors)

Today we begin the cycle of e-mails from the book called "Windows of the Soul", by Rabbi Zvi Miller of the Salant Foundation.

 

The Image of Hashem

The beginning of spirituality is the clear recognition of our good and holy souls - the very essence of our being. The more we become aware of our exquisite inner goodness, the happier and more fulfilled we will be. Additionally, we will strive to strengthen and preserve our personal and precious sanctity - the Image of Hashem - that illuminates our being. (Ohr HaTzafon, The Alter of Slabodka)

From the ancient days of our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaacov, we - the Jewish People - have made every effort to protect our holy souls from negative influences that surround us on every side. Despite terrible challenges, we have survived as a great spiritual nation, intact and whole. When Shem and Yefet covered up their father's nakedness, they held a blanket and walked backwards so as not to see him. They could have walked towards him and kept their eyes lowered. Why did they feel it necessary to walk backwards? Since the Image of Hashem is etched upon the human countenance, simply exposing the face to improper sights is spiritually harmful! Therefore, they walked backwards to protect their holy souls. (The Alsheich)

An Ancient Strategy that Lives On

Bilaam knew that immorality is the antithesis of Torah. Therefore, he suggested piercing the spiritual armor of Jewish men by exploiting their natural inclinations. Pinchas, the holy Kohen, courageously stood up and quashed Bilaam's evil scheme.

Today, the forces of tumah, impurity, are using the same devious tactic that Bilaam employed. We face an onslaught of immodest clothing and behavior in the streets, at work, in every public place and even in our own homes. We are bombarded by images so destructive that many of our great rabbis have proclaimed that we are now surrounded by the worst level of tumah in history.

Every person who learns Windows of the Soul takes up the "spear of Pinchas" and acquires powerful tools to protect himself from the tumah that beckons from all sides.

Windows of the Soul: A Thirty-day program

Our eyes have been described as the windows of the soul. The book now in your hands presents a concise thirty-day program for controlling what we see. It incorporates the teachings of the Master of Mussar - Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, zt"l - as well as halachah rulings and practical advice to give you a solid strategy for success.

May Hashem inspire us with the wisdom to apply these principles; and bless our efforts to raise our level of spirituality individually and as a nation, so that we will merit the redemptive reunion of the Shechinah and all Klal Yisrael.

When that happens, we will see the joyful outcome predicted by the prophet (Zechariah 14:9): "Hashem will be King over the entire world - on that day Hashem will be One and His Name will be One."