At the end of Parshat Noach, the Torah recounts the ten generations from Noah until Avraham. The Torah then tells us that Abram (later to be renamed Avraham) and his brother, Nahor, take wives for themselves:
“Abram and Nahor took for themselves wives, the name of Abram’s wife being Sarai and that of Nahor’s wife Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and Iscah (יִסְכָּֽה).” (Genesis 11:29)
The Gemera asks, who is Iscah? And Rav Yitzhak answers, “Iscah is Sarah, because she saw (יִסְכָּֽה) by way of Ruach Hakodesh.
Now you may have noticed that the word (יִסְכָּֽה) shares the same root as Sukkah (סוכה). There is a strong connection between Sukkot and Ruach HaKodesh. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells us that we can achieve Ruach HaKodesh by purifying our hearts (לטהר את הלב).
But what does this mean? Obviously, different people will offer different explanations based on their own experiences. Below you will find a guide to accessing what we call: a purified heart.
There is a reason that such emphasis is always placed on the heart. It matches the mind, and perhaps even exceeds it, in power in this world. The heart is the energy center of our being. However, this energy is not energy obtained from food or from sleep. It is spiritual energy, Chiuit, Chi, Shakti, the essence of Gd that permeates every fiber of existence. To be in touch with this energy is to experience Echad, because it is the great unifying aspect of everything.
Now this energy flows through everything always. If it were to stop flowing through some aspect of reality, that object would disappear from existence. Because it is the source of all existence, it is also the source of ideas, creativity, and inspiration. It is the river that flows from the Makor Chochmah (the source of Wisdom). This energy flows through you. The primary channel through which this energy moves is your heart. This is why, in the East, they refer to this energy center as the heart chakra. A chakra is simply an energy center.
Now we, through the power of our will, have the capacity to open or close this energy channel. When we open our heart, we feels tremendous love, joy, clarity, and peace. When we close our hearts, we feel fear, tension, numb, and disconnected. The energy does not stop flowing into us, it just now encounters a block.
We close our hearts to protect ourselves. We close our hearts because the experience of life overhwlems us and we decide that we do not like some aspect of what is happening. Our response is to disconnect ourselves from the source of reality. If you don’t like reality, then it makes perfect sense to disconnect yourself from the One who is creating it.
But you cannot close yourself off from what you don’t like without also closing yourself off from everything that you do like. If you close yourself off from this flow for long enough, you will die or you will kill yourself. This is depression. It’s not people’s faults. Often, they don’t know it’s possible or aren’t skilled enough to keep their hearts open.
Now when we refer to purifying our hearts, we are referring to the need to remove all of our inclinations to close and finally allow the energy to flow through our core as Gd intended. To do this, you must simply practice sitting and feeling the flow of energy that moves through your body, without resisting it with thought or tension in your body. When you do this, you are tapping into your soul, your conscious awareness of being, which makes the energy flow much stronger. As with a river that encounters an obstacle, enough water will clear the way. So too with your heart.
This at times happens by itself. Grief, great joy, fresh love, or tremendous beauty can provide such a flow of energy that the heart is torn open, giving rise to beautiful and at times tragic emotion, love, and connection. This is why grief as well as celebration brings people together so strongly. But until we can do it out of our own intention, the experience will not last.
If you do this enough times, in prayer and in meditation, when you’re walking and when you’re sitting, then you will begin to experience the presence of Hashem in your being. You will find a groundedness in yourself that transcends all understandings. Fear will melt away from you as you realize that nothing except yourself can ever remove this connection.
And with enough practice, we begin to experience ruach HaKodesh. For Ruach HaKodesh is simply to be the receiver of messages and inspiration from the divine. This energy that is from Gd will flow through you unrestricted and transform into ideas, chidushim, inspiration to take action, and crystal clear visions about yourself and others.
Purify your heart. When you can stay connected in awareness no matter the intensity of the experience moving through your heart, then you will be free. You will no longer need to control others or reality in order to feel good. You will understand that feeling good means simply, staying connected to the Source of all creation. You will feel this life force moving through you. And you will become a seer as Gd intended.
וטהר לבנו, לעבדך באמת