Parsha Ki Teitzei says: “When you will go out to make war on (lit., above) your enemies …” (Deut. 20:1)
Sometimes people encounter enemies in the world, those from whom they need to protect themselves. On an allegorical level, you can also ask who your inner enemies are. People have many aspects of ourselves. Sometimes you don’t even know where those inner aspects are coming from.
When a person feels confused or depressed, or experiences obsessions that recur again and again, you can feel that you are being attacked by parts of yourself. What can you do when you feel attacked by enemies that come from inside yourself?
Why are you fighting them? The aim is not to try to destroy the animalistic traits that appear from within. These wild inner emotions need to be tamed. The challenge is not to destroy them but to harness their energies and transform them into domesticated creatures.
It’s useless to fight these overwhelming emotional storms that can show up, often when least expected. It doesn’t work to go into battle against each storm that shows up with heat or cold, with gusts of wind or with drought. Instead a person asks how to engage them. The answer according to Chassidut is: “From above.”
You need to know that you are not those emotional storms. You are not the confusion, or the depression. As wild as these beasts seem to drive people toward chaos, they are not you.
You, at your very core, stand beyond them; you are in another realm altogether. Your soul is your true essence. The message for each person is to believe in your own true self. From there, you have perspective and you will be able to pull the beastly traits upward to harness them.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can look at each experience from above, and come to clarity about the message or challenge of this opportunity. Having an overview allows you to recognize what is yours to fix and what is altogether not about you. Looking from above frees you from taking in complexities that are completely not your concern. The overview of perspective also helps a person know what is theirs to solve and how to solve it.
Chana Rachel Schusterman
Spiritual Teacher and Counselor
Have a great Shabbos!
Rabbi Mendel Schusterman
Thanks to my Ema, Mrs. Chana Rochel Schusterman, for sharing the above Torah thought