Song of the Angels - כי תצא

Friday, 28 August, 2020 - 11:02 am

Song of the Angels 

The songs sung by the angels occupy a central part of the Jew’s daily prayers: 

“Whose ministering angels all stand at the height of the Universe, and proclaim with reverence...  they all open their mouths in holiness and purity, with song and music, and they bless, and praise, and glorify, and revere, and sanctify, and proclaim... Holy, holy, holy is Adonoy of Hosts, the fullness of all the earth is His glory. And the Ofanim and the holy Chayos, with a mighty sound rise toward the Serafim. Facing them, they offer praise and say: Blessed is the glory of Adonoy from His place.

The question begs to be asked: why do we plagiarize from the angels? Could we not have commissioned a writer to create man-made, original material to use in praise of G-d? Why couldn't our great sages and poets collaborate to produce a few pieces of good writing? 

Each of us possess not one but two souls. The animal soul which is self oriented, and the G-dly soul, which is a spark of G-d yearning to reconnect with its source in heaven. We pray with the totality of ourselves, we therefore address both the G-dly soul as well as the animal soul.   

A central part of the daily prayer is the Shema prayer, in which we meditate on the oneness of G-d, and seek to awaken a love to G-d. In the opening phrase of the Shema, “Hear O Israel”, we are talking to our inner Israel, to the divine spark within us. We seek to feel its perspective and connect to its feeling of yearning to G-d. 

But before we can focus on the G-dly soul we must first address the more dominant and aggressive force within ourselves, the animal soul, whose self oriented passion is often directed to materialism and superficiality, and directed away from the transcendent and meaningful. 

Yet Jewish mysticism teaches that everything on this earth has a source in heaven, what appears to be a negative phenomenon is, in truth, a distortion of a holy energy rooted in the spiritual source. It is our task to realign the phenomenon with its source, by channeling its inner spark in a positive direction. Doing so heals the distortion and corrects and perfects the earthly phenomenon. 

When we look at the animalistic passion in our heart and seek to direct it to positivity, we cannot inspire it with songs written by a human being, because the animalistic passion is  not influenced by rational thinking and is not affected by the music of humanity. Instead we sing the songs of the angels. The Kabbalaists explain that the intense love, awe, and passion that the angels experience, is the spiritual source for animalistic passion here on earth. The angel's passion to G-d is supra rational, and when that energy descends into this earth it is distorted into irrationality.

Thus, every morning, before we talk to our G-dly soul we take a few minutes to sing to our animal soul. We talk to it in the language it understands, the language of unbridled passion, love and desire. We tell the animal soul that the source of its intense passion is the powerful yearning and intense desire to G-d experienced by the angels and expressed in the angelic songs of praise.

This, explain the mystics, is the meaning of the opening verse of our Parsha: “when you go out to war upon (literally: on, or above) your enemy and the L-rd your G-d will place him in your hand” The intense passion of the animal soul is the spiritual  “enemy” that seeks to destroy our connection to holiness. The battle we are engaged in is the battle to transform the animalistic passion to a passion for holiness. To achieve victory in this battle, we must tap into that which is “above” the enemy. We allow it to experience its spiritual source, by letting it hear the songs of the angels.

Adapted from Likutei Torah, Ki Teitse.

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