This lesson is based on the Tomer Devorah course presently given by Rabbi Zvi Miller.
If you would like information about the course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
"The righteous man will flourish like the date palm..." (Tehillim 92:13)
Tomer Devorah (The Palm Tree of Devorah) is a Kabbalistic text that provides a detailed analysis of The Thirteen Supernal Attributes of Mercy (Micha 7:18-20) to teach us how to emulate Hashem. Written by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (who lived in the 1600's in Sfat) the text is Kabbalistic, yet practical.
Road maps guide us through unknown territory to our desired destination. A map tells us if the roads will be rough, mountainous terrain that may make travel difficult or if the roads are smooth and flat. Maps point us in the right direction which guide us to explore a new domain. Road maps allow us to discover magnificent places we never knew before. We need maps or we'd get lost without them. In order to discover the hidden beauty that awaits us- we must venture on the journey. If we don't, we are living without discovering the magnificent gifts that Hashem has given us. We will not discover our spiritual potential.
Tomer Devorah is our road map. It guides us to our own essence. It is our spiritual GPS. It tells us how to manage the rough terrain as it points us in the right direction. It lets us know that an undiscovered beauty awaits us. We just have to follow the map and set out on our journey.
There are many verses throughout the Torah that speak of emulating Hashem...
"Just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, is called Compassionate, you should be compassionate; just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, is called Gracious, you should be gracious; just as the Holy One, Blessed be He, is called Righteous, you should be righteous; just as the Holy One, Blessed be He is called Pious, you should be pious." (Eikev)
Knowing Hashem's ways provides us with comfort in difficult times. It brings us closer to Him through an appreciation of being able to see Him in places we never saw before. Everyone wants to get close to Hashem to experience the joy and awe of His holy presence in our lives. It's a tremendous source of comfort. We feel cared for as we feel Him taking care of us. We feel Him watching over us, as He guides us through the darkness and the tests. It is the ultimate source of serenity, calm and peace.
And now, something new is being revealed to us, something we have never seen before...
the road map to our own essence.
The first words of Tomer Devorah say, " It is "proper" for man to emulate his Creator for then he will attain the secret of the Supernal Form in tzelem (image) and likeness (demut). " When we emulate our Creator, we will discover that we are like Him. We are created in His image and we possess the same qualities of holiness and purity. The secret of the Supernal Form will be revealed.
The word "proper" is used. Usually, we are "required." From this we learn, it is only 'natural' for us to emulate our Creator. It is not a requirement, it is a natural process for us to learn Hashem's attributes because we also have these qualities within us. We are encouraged to be confident to know that we can reach such great spiritual heights... to discover our own tzelem Elokim.
First, we need to know who Hashem is. The more we know His ways, the more we can emulate them. When we understand Hashem's essence, we can understand what is etched in our souls. Then we can actualize it." The more we understand Hashem, the more we understand ourselves.
Tomer Devorah teaches us how to awaken our tzelem Elokim through learning the 13 attributes of Hashem's compassion. If we don't, we are falsely representing the essence of who we are. We are not living true to our nishama. We have a tremendous potential for spiritual greatness that we have not yet tapped into. Now, through learning the Supernal Attributes of Hashem's compassion, we can discover our true selves, our undiscovered holiness.
May Hashem shower His blessings upon us... as we learn to live emulating His Ways.