Adar Joy-Even From a Broken Heart
One should not be troubled if, by prolonging deep concentration on the unending struggle against one’s animal nature and the dire consequences of failure for an hour or two, in order to acquire a humble spirit and contrite heart, he lapses into deep despondency. Sadness stems Kelipat Nogah (the Kabbalistic symbol of the realm in which good and evil are intermingled) and not from that of holiness, regarding which it is written, “Strength and gladness are in His place (I Chronicles 16:27),” and, “The Divine Presence rests on one only in moments of joy, including that of halachic discourse“ (Shabbat 30b).” If the sadness arises from concern with spiritual matters, it derives from the element of goodness that is within Nogah.
Nevertheless, the way to subdue the Sitra Achra is on the latter’s own ground, as the Rabbis said: “From the forest itself is taken the acts with which to sell it (Sanhedrin 39b),” and, “He met his equal (Shabbat 121b).” With regard to this it is written, “in all sadness there is benefit (Proverbs 14:23),” the profit being the joy that follows sadness, as will be seen below.
In truth, however, a broken heart, or the bitterness of the soul because of its distance from the light of the Divine Countenance and it’s being clothed in the Sitra Achra, is not called “Atzvut (sadness), in Hebrew. Atzvut implies that the heart is dull as stone and devoid of vitality. But in the case of the bitter, broken heart, the contrary is true: There is a vitality in the heart expressed as agitation and bitterness, except that this vitality stems from the attribute of the holy Gevurot, whereas joy comes from the attribute of Chesed, for the heart is comprised of both of them.
It is sometimes necessary to a rouse the attitude of the holy Gevurot. The most propitious time, specifically appropriate for most people, is when one is in any case troubled by mundane worries or dejected, without apparent cause. Then is the right time to transform this sadness by becoming one of those “Masters of self-examination” rating oneself of the dejection occasioned by mundane affairs.
Following this he will arrive at true joy, as he reflects in his heart, and says to himself, “Truly and without doubt I am far removed from God, and I am abominable and despicable, yet all this is myself alone; that is, the body with its animating soul. But there is within me truly a portion of God, as there exists even in the most worthless of men, namely, the divine soul with a spark of veritable godliness, enclosed in it and vitalizing it, except that it is, in a state of exile. Therefore, on the contrary, the farther away I am from God and the more contemptible and loathsome I am, the deeper in exile is my Divine soul and the more greatly is it to be pitied. Therefore I shall make it my whole aim and desire to extricated from this exile, in order to restore it, “To her father’s house as in her youth (Vayikra 22:13),” before it is clothed in my body, when it was yet absorbed in His blessed light and completely united with Him. Now it will again be absorbed and united with Him, if I make it my whole purpose with regard to the Torah and the mitzvot, especially the commandment of prayer, to cry to God in the Divine Presence’s distress of exile in my despicable body, to liberate from its present, so that it may attach itself to Him, Blessed is He.”
This is the essence of “repentance and good deeds,” the latter being the good deeds which one performs in order to restore the “portion of God” to the Source of good of all the worlds. Thus will the service of God throughout his life be in great joy, the joy of the soul in its release from his despised body and, “returning to her father’s house as in her youth,” while he is engaged in Torah and worship. (Likkutei Amarim, Chapter 31)
We say in the Shema, “You shall love God, your Lord, with all your hearts,” in the plural form, which, we are taught, teaches us to learn how to love God even with our Evil Inclination. When we experience and mourn over the distance created by our sins influenced by the Evil Inclination, we are transforming the sin into good – reattachment; loving God with our Evil Inclination. This, in turn, prepares us to fulfill the next Mitzvah in the Shema, Torah study, with a higher level of joy.