The Deronda Review
(teachings by HaRav Avraham Yitzchak Kook zts"l, translated by Yaacov Dovid Shulman)
I Had Set Aside My Harp
I had set aside my harp—but I did not break it.
I still see reason for hope.
It is a ray that streams from the East.
I know that I will return
To my song, which I had withheld.
Nafshi Takshiv Shiro
We draw forth precious pearls from the depths of the abyss. We descend into our own shadow and from it we arise, refreshed, still struggling but this time with an inner confidence, with an inner wisdom, joy and strength.
Every generation, every society, all of reality—they all must enter the shadow before they can emerge into light. (Comment by Yaacov Dovid Shulman)
When you sense that you have fallen because the spirit of your ethical awareness is weak, consider this: you have to draw forth precious pearls from the depths of the abyss.
When you know this, then you will rise. You will renew your abilities with strength and tranquility. You will approach the ever-lasting light with more capability than you ever had before.
This rule applies to the entire generation. It governs reality forever.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 252
Do Not Set Aside Any Exalted Goal
When any obstacles obstruct our course, we can visualize our inner truth. Then we unify where we are with where we intend to be.
Do not set aside any exalted goal that you can envision, even if it seems that the obstacles are many, whether from the outside or from your own personality.
As you strive, visualize inner truth. In this way, you align your present knowledge with your conceptual insight. You unify your aspiration with the ideal part of what you already know.
Arpelei Torah, p. 42
Realms of Darkness
When we fall to the depths, we are stunned and anguished. The things we took for granted and our self-satisfaction are ground to dust. But it is by going through this cataclysmic experience that we find our beauty, strength and tranquility. (YDS)
When you feel humiliated, empty, lacking all spiritual strength, when you fall and stumble, realize that a great light is prepared for you.
All of your imperfections and all the damage that you have caused—this-worldly, spiritual, things you did or didn’t do throughout your life—they all stand before you. Everything you ever did wrong testifies against you.
You are stunned. You feel great anguish, and from the midst of that anguish you experience regret.
Then you will rise up and repent. You will rise up from the depth of the abyss to the elevated pinnacle, from impurity to purity, from blackness to a great light.
As you emerge and rise, you will have to pass through realms of darkness that overwhelm you and eclipse you.
But be aware that “God is merciful and gracious,” that “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall not fear evil, for God is with me.”
When you cry out to God from the midst of the confusions of the abyss, your voice will be heard.
When you call out for the light of knowledge, it will shine on you.
Wisdom and kindness will support you and crown you. You will swiftly return to the citadel, filled with wisdom, joy and strength.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 252