Just listening to Rabbi Tatz and heard an amazing thing. It’s so true and beautiful, so I thought I’d share it with you…
It’s specifically a male problem. The negativity of the male character seeks to be all things, not to be limited down to the pettiness of just one thing. Do you know where that yetzer-hara (evil inclination) is derived from? Man’s original all-encompassing spirituality – where man originally was all things. So men have an amazing inspiration to be all and do all, and to become impatient with the pettiness of just this action, and just this one detail etc… And this reads out in many ways:
– in the spiritual path “I don’t want to be one of those; a cloned robot – all with the same thoughts, the same actions” [most fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be an observant Jew – the whole point of fulfilling every minute observance is to bring out the uniqueness of who you are! It’s not to become a cloned robot of the nextindividual! That’s exactly the opposite! The secular mind thinks that they are a hero because they “carve out their own reality”, but that the religious individual is a “cloned robot”. One can be, yes, a cloned, grouped, robotic nobody; either a religious or secular one. But that’s not the ideal. The ideal is to play your own music with the right notes. That’s what we’re here for.
So… what’s the problem? The problem is a man wants to be everything. And therefore there’s a tremendous hesitation to bring it down to the thing that they want to be. In Western society (and there’s a very deep spiritual connection here and that’s because the male-mode is totality. And the female-mode is bringing it down and making it real and specific. The male is always the potential of multi-potentiality. And the female is the bringing down to that unique and contracted reality which has life. (In other words the male is multitude of potentiality but is nothing without the female limiting that uniqueness and nurturing it and creating it into life).
In all the biological world, in all mammals, the seed is given by the male. What meets that in every female species is just one. Just one. It’s no accident. The female is ultimately limiting, but that which they limit, ultimately becomes a life. That’s what the female world is. The word narkayva in Hebrew, which means “female”, comes from the root loosely translated as “fixing into a finite dimension”. Without the female bringing it down and fixing it, there would be no life. It is that which allows there to be life. If you dissect a female embryo’s ovaries, you see a primordial tissue that will become the factory that will ultimately nurture seed. In the male embryo’s testicles you see the factory that will produce millions and billions of sperm throughout their lives – so much potential. If you were then to cut open a female’s ovaries when she is born, you would be able to count all the eggs – but there are only enough that if a woman was to ovulate every one of those eggs for every month of her fertile life, she’ll use every single last one. A complete differentiation between male and female. This is no accident. The male-mode seeks to be all things all at once. They’d rather have the thrill of potential but never make it real. The male immaturity (and the youth phase of life which tends to the male pole when contrasted with the female maturity and the older phase of life which tends to the female pole) is sad because it is “I don’t want to be this.” And more specifically it is “I don’t want to be this thing which I have specifically have. That’s boring. I want what’s his. And not only his but his and his and his and his…” – that’s the immaturity, that’s the immature mind. It’s like the person who goes on holiday. He wakes up at 6am and he wants to do: a) horse-riding b) swimming c) disney d) climbing rocks e) canoeing f) ice-skate………(but only one of those, in one day you can only do one…) So the mature mind that tends to the female mode so gets busy with one of them and really enjoys it. The immature mind, the male mind, spends all day in bed fretting and frustrating, trying to work out which one is best, which one should be done. Then finally picks one, and is convinced that is the worst possible option and is convinced all the other ones would have been better.
Why? Where does this come from? It must derive from somewhere.
It derives from the original nature of man (Adam) who was all things all at once. Why is it that we refer to Hashem as Male and the world as female? That’s because the ultimate infinite potential comes from the male, but making it happen and making it real (words like aitz (tree), adama (vegetables), eretz (land), and aven (stones) are all female. Stones are one of the most male things in the Torah. The sources tell us that “aven” is a combination of “adam” and “ben” i.e. man and son. It is one of the most male words that can be there. Yet it is female. Female concept. In Western culture this is brought to a pitch in “power”. What is valued is “power”. And not necessarily what the power can be brought down into doing (i.e. its female form). Think about it – money. What is money? You cannot eat it. It is potential! Thinking of all the things that you can do with it. Thus it’s a male concept… The immature mind wants money, the mature mind wants money for what it can do! (incidentally the immatures don’t normally spend! Rather have potentiality!)
Want to torture a child? Give him an ice-cream. When he’s holding it, give him another. When he’s holding two, give him a third. The result will be a pool of tears and ice cream on the floor, because a child cannot understand that you cannot have it all, you can only have what you can have and sacrifice what must be sacrificed in order for you to have those that you can!! The really immature mind will rather have the fantasy of what could have been. What is the real happiness of the birth of a child? It is the infinite potential that can be lived – the whole world is at their feet. What’s the sadness of old age? It’s the closing down of potential. What can they do? They can turn their chair a little closer to the sun, that’s all. Ultimately when life goes altogether, it is a closing down of all potentialities. However, in Jewish thought, it’s completely the opposite. In Jewish minds, for all its potential, the birth of a child is a nervous moment because nothing has been achieved yet. And for all the closed potential of the old person, there is the incredible joy of what’s been done. In secular world take Holland for instance… do you know what the biggest cause of death in the elderly is? Euthanasia, i.e. voluntarily getting killed. Why? A very old person has nothing to live for, no actuality. Nothing to live for. In Jewish thought however, for every day that is wisely spent, even though the currency has been spent (the male infinite potential), the goods have been acquired (female actuality).
In secular world, youth is always described as springtime and summer. Old age is described as winter. In Torah it is the opposite. Youth is referred to as winter. Old age is described as summer. Why? Winter is when there is hard ground and you plant the seeds! Summer is when you reap the crop! This is the correct way of looking at it. As long as you have successfully done your 1/1000 task then you can be happy! Never mind about the other 999, let someone else worry about them.
Therefore the work is defining individuality it’s knowing that this process. Happiness is where the infinite and finite meet to bond in oneness. This idea can be extended into our relationship with Hashem (the infinite) and the Jew (the finite). At the meeting point of the two, this is where there is ultimate happiness. Everything else is facade, illusion. Men’s role is to bring down the world of the female limiting influence, and channel it into their infinite potentiality.