Sefirat HaOmer and the 288 holy sparks

It’s written in our holy books that at the creation of this world, 288 holy sparks from the World of Atzilut[1] fell into our world. The deeper meaning of this statement is that there were 288 spiritual ‘roots’ that then got divided up into many thousands and myriads.

This is the way that Hashem chose to create and sustain the world.

These holy sparks are covered over by the klipot, the ‘shells’ that are the basis of evil in the world, which covers them over with ‘bad’.

Our job is to come down to this world and to remove the evil that is covering-over these holy sparks, and the elevate them back to their rightful place in the World of Atzilut.

These sparks are a part of the seven holy measures, or middot, that range from chesed (kindness) right up to malchut (kingship).

For example, The midda or measure of gevurah (courage/judgment) has been designed to give us the strength we need to find against the evil inclination. But sadly, many times we use its strength to fight with other people, instead.

Hashem placed these 288 holy sparks in the world in order to keep us busy with rectifying the world and raising these sparks back up to their rightful place.

These sparks contain a soul-force, a life-force, and we can choose whether to use the power they contain for the good. i.e. to do Hashem’s will, and to keep the Torah and its mitzvot, or the opposite.

We can also choose to use their strength to go against Hashem’s will, and to commit sins, and to go after our lusts and to strengthen our own bad middot, God forbid.

The verse tells us that: “The desire of a man is evil from his youth.”

Our yetzer hara, our evil inclination, is always trying to harness the power of these holy sparks that are contained in each person to go against the will of Hashem.

For example, It’s written in the holy books about Hannah is the mother of the prophet Shmuel (Samuel).Hannah was a huge tzaddeket (holy woman) and spent her whole life praying that she would merit to have a son.

The prophet Shmuel was born when she was 139!

In the Gemara, Chazal learn out all the halachot connected with reciting the Shmoneh Esrei prayer from Hannah’s conduct.

In her previous incarnation, Hannah was Rahab, the woman who helped the nation of Israel to conquer the city of Jericho after they left Egypt. For many years, Rahab was very deeply sunk in the lust for immortality.

When the Jewish people entered the land of Israel, she made teshuva, converted and merited to marry the leader of the Jewish people at that time, Yehoshua Bin Nun.

In order to complete her Tikkun, or rectification, she had to return in another lifetime as Hannah, the mother of Shmuel. Hannah had a tremendous ability to pray and to stick close to Hashem, because prayer and lust are actually rooted in the same place, spiritually.

Prayer and lust are powered by the same Divine spark.

In her first incarnation, Rahab fell very badly. In her second incarnation, she merited to channel the tremendous strength she had into prayer and merited to achieve her complete rectification.

This is one of the main reasons why in our generation, there is such a difficult war going on against lust and immorality. Heaven is arousing the birur, the clarification, that has to occur with these holy sparks.

Especially regarding prayer and staying close to Hashem. Sadly in the meantime, the yetzer hara is diverting a lot of this strength away into lust.

If a person feels that his negative character traits and lusts are overpowering him, he should know that he actually has a very high soul. And a powerful ability to succeed tremendously in serving Hashem.

But first, he has to switch his strength over, so it’s flowing along the right channels and in the right direction.

How can one do this?

By making teshuva, and doing a lot of hitbodedut, talking to God in his own words.

May it be God’s will that we should all merit to do this!

[1] A kabbalistic world

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