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Home » Ki Tisa

The Real You Is Perfect

Submitted by on February 24, 2024 – 9:34 pmNo Comment | 345 views

Perfection is not part of the human experience; in fact, perfectionism is usually unhealthy, but perfection is part of the Divine experience. And here is the surprising truth. At your very core, in your most essential state of being, you are a sliver of the Divine. This means that the real you is perfect.

This truth did not emerge when our ancestors witnessed the ten plagues, the miraculous exodus, the splitting of the sea, or at Mount Sinai. It only became clear to them after they fell to the lowest possible state; when they turned their back on G-d to worship the golden calf.

This was a precipitous fall. Forty days after seeing G-d in a way that no one ever had and no one ever would, forty days after the most transcendental experience in history, they chose a calf over G-d.

They must have known they were the fortunate generation, chosen from all the generations to witness the Sinaic revelation. They must have been incredibly humbled, profoundly grateful, and deeply inspired. Yet, they fell to the lowest possible spiritual abyss. And it is precisely here that they discovered their Divine core, that the real you is perfect.

Finding Your Truth
Finding yourself so distant from G-d makes you realize how desperately you want to be with G-d. And there is only one reason for that: because even when you turned on G-d, the real you, your deepest core, remained faithful to G-d. Because the real you is part of G-d. The real you is perfect.

You can’t know this when you are at peace with G-d. You can only know this when you are shaken to the core, when your life is in shambles, when you have made all the wrong choices and destroyed everything you cherish. Only then do you discover what your true desires are. Who the real you is.

When you have all your blessings, you don’t appreciate them. Your eyes stray, your heart desires, and you think the grass is greener on the other side. When you make terrible choices and jeopardize everything, when you hit rock bottom and lose all that you cherish, you discover what is most important to you. Who you really are and what you really want.

When our ancestors stood at Sinai, they were like one with G-d. Overawed by His majestic presence, their souls melted with ecstasy, their hearts sang with joy, their minds soared with transcendence, and their veins pulsed with holiness. They could not possibly tell if they were ecstatic because they were aligned with their deepest core or because they were surrounded by ecclesiastic magnificence. The same was true at the Red Sea and during the Exodus.

They only discovered what they truly wanted and cherished when they slipped to the lowest rung and threw everything away in a moment of weakness and temptation. They realized that in their most essential state, they could not be apart from G-d because they were part of G-d.

Greater Than the Tzadik
This explains a remarkable Talmudic teaching. One who sins and repents reaches a place a righteous person can never reach. The righteous never experience their core. The core is only experienced when something happens to shake us to the core. When we are righteous, we are content. The core remains in its usual concealed place.

When you sin and realize that you threw everything away, you discover how deeply this bothers you. You discover how badly you want G-d back in your life.  You discover how perfect you really are. Your most broken state is your most powerful state. It is when your potential for change is strongest.

When an addict hits rock bottom, they feel at their worst. The Torah comes and says, make no mistake about it, this is your best moment. Your core is active and open. You can tap into its unlimited passion and power to make a dramatic turnaround. It is your brightest and most defining moment.

It doesn’t feel or look like it, but then again, by the time you can see and feel again, your core will have receded. Your core is active now. When you are at your lowest, you are really at your highest.

This is because your soul is part of G-d. When your consciousness is filled with yourself, your G-d consciousness is blocked. Our sages said the following about the soul. “She is pure; you created it, you formed it, and you made it.” How can something be anything before it is created? The answer is that before it was created and made to feel like a separate entity, it was pure and part of G-d.

At our core, we are pure. The bright sky is pure because our eyes have nothing to latch onto, only the purity of light. Similarly, at our core, we have no consciousness of self. We are pure; part of G-d. We can only access this purity when we are so numb with pain, so saddened by loss, that we feel nothing. We just are. At that moment, we are purely one with G-d. That is when our dizzying potential opens for us.

Transformative Moment
Our sages taught that when we repent properly, even deliberate sins are turned into merits. Think about it. A sin is a sin. If you cheat on your wife, you betrayed your marriage. If you want to be married, you must avoid cheating. You can’t have it both ways. Cheating destroys relationships. The same is true of our relationship with G-d. If we sin, and especially if we sin deliberately, we destroy our bond.

Yet, if we cheat, and our wife moves out, and we are distraught, and we realize we threw everything away for a foolish whim and hit rock bottom, we can experience true transformation. If we beg our spouse to take us back, if we begin from the bottom up and rebuild trust, rebuild the relationship, it can end up being stronger than before. Once we know what we stand to lose, we cherish it much more.

In retrospect, the betrayal of the marriage, egregious as it was, serves to strengthen the marriage. If you repent, your sin can become a merit.

You know what makes this possible? The fact that you discover your core. You discover that your core truth never sinned. Your core was not part of the betrayal. On the contrary, your core felt betrayed. You dragged your core into betrayal against its wishes. Your core was present when you strayed, but it never strayed. It always remained married. When you tap into that, you are dynamite. Nothing can destroy your core. Even betrayal turns into an energy that strengthens your marriage.

The same is true of our relationship with G-d. When our core is hidden, the relationship is threatened by anything that is forbidden. But if we stray into forbidden territory and discover that we have betrayed not only G-d, but ourselves because we are part of G-d, the betrayal—the sin—strengthens our bond. It binds us forever to G-d. In retrospect, our sin led us to our core, which cements the bond.

This is why our sages taught that our ancestors would never have turned their back on G-d forty days after Sinai. They did it because they fell into a perfect trap set for them by G-d. G-d made the sin so tantalizing that they felt powerless to resist. G-d was not looking to destroy His bond with His children. He was looking to show His children how powerful their weakest moment can be. There was only one way to show them: by enticing them into having a weak moment.

This does not make it okay to sin. It is never okay to cheat. It is never okay dabble in what is forbidden. But we should know that if we have strayed and dabbled, we are not at the end of our road. If we respond correctly, we could find ourselves at the beginning of a much better road.[1]

[1] This essay is based on Torah Or, p.77a; Likutei Torah p. 74a; Likutei Sichos 16, p. 412; 9, p. 240.

the real you is perfection