Igniting the Soul in Five
This ploy is a lesson from Elisha the Prophet. Any Hollywood screenwriter would be delighted with the tense confrontation between the prophet and the idolatrous king...
by Rabbi Lazer Brody
Have you ever been in a great mood, upbeat and optimistic, when all of a sudden, you encounter someone whom you really don't like? Or maybe it was someone who insulted you, cheated you or upset you terribly in the past. Whatever the case might be, we sometimes encounter people who bring out the worst in us, whether it's anger or some other unpleasant emotion.
What's happening to us in a situation like that?
Imagine that your soul is a tiny flickering candle that illuminates the darkness in your life. The individual who triggered your negative reaction is like someone who threw cold water on the candle and extinguished it. The challenge now is to rekindle the candle as fast as you can and return to the pre-upset equilibrium.
In simple terms, if something or someone snuffs our joy in life, we have to ignite it again as fast as possible. You might call this emergency CPR for the soul. That's what we'll learn right now – how to ignite the soul in less than five minutes.
I can't take credit for the ploy we're about to learn; it's a lesson from Elisha the Prophet in the third chapter of Kings II. Any Hollywood screenwriter would be delighted with the bowstring-tense confrontation that the prophet describes here:
Yehoram, the evil son of the notorious idolater Ahab, was the eighth king of Israel in Samaria. At the same time, Yehoshaphat was the king of Judea. The king of Moab declared war against Yehoram and Israel. Even though Israel and Judea split into two separate kingdoms after King Solomon's death, and even though Israel succumbed to idol worship, Yehoram still turned to his Jewish brethren in Judea hoping that they'd help him in his time of duress. Yehoshafat agreed.
Their joint army marched, with their ally Edom who also despised Moab. They marched seven days through the wilderness of Edom to surprise Moab from the south, but they couldn't find water anywhere. In his blasphemous sarcasm, Yehoram said, "Hashem has called three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”
Yehoshafat, visibly upset upon hearing such blasphemy from Yehoram, asked, "Is there not here a prophet of Hashem, from whom we can hear the word of Hashem?" Yehoshafat knew that they badly needed the blessing of a holy man.
One of the Israelite officers answered, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is close by, who was the servant and understudy of Elijah the Prophet."
Relieved, Yehoshafat said, "The word of Hashem is with him." All three kings went to see Elisha.
When Elisha saw the idolater Yehoram, he lost his composure and with it, his holy spirit. He snarled at the king of Israel, "What business have I to do with you? Go see the prophets of your father and mother (Ahab and Jezebel)!" He then turned to Yehoshafat and said, "Were it not for you, Yehoshafat King of Judea, I would never look at this person!"
"But holy prophet," pleaded Yehoshafat, "we need your blessing! We need to hear the word of Hashem!"
What could Elisha do? Seeing Yehoram, the evil son of Israel's most wicked king and queen Ahab and Jezebel, who had tried everything in their power to kill his holy mentor Elijah the prophet, upset and angered him so terribly that he lost his holy spirit. He could not utter a blessing, much less give over the word of Hashem. What could he do.
Hashem flashed an idea in the prophet's mind. "Bring me a melodist!" Yehoshafat summoned an upright minstrel, who played a melody of devotion to Hashem for Elisha. In a few minutes, Elisha's holy spirit returned to him. Not only did he bless the kings, but he also gave them the strategy that enabled them to defeat Moab.
We can do the same thing that Elisha did, and it works wonders.
If you feel that your soul has been extinguished, sing or hum your favorite melody. Choose the melody that always inspires you or encourages you. In less than five minutes, you'll feel a warmth in your chest. That's from your soul – it has just been rekindled.
If you don't have a niggun (melody) in mind, try this one; it's one of my original compositions and one of my favorites, and it always works for me. Enjoy it:
Rabbi Lazer Brody was born in Washington, D.C. in 1949. After receiving his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland in 1970, he moved to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces regular army, and served in one of the elite special-forces units. He is a decorated combat veteran of two wars and numerous of counter-insurgence and anti-terrorist missions on both sides of Israel's borders.
Rabbi Brody is the English-language editor of Breslev Israel's highly popular English-language website at www.breslev.co.il, and the founder and director of Emuna Outreach. Between Breslov Israel and Emuna Outreach, he devotes his time to spreading emuna and particularly the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev around the globe.
"Lazer Beams," Rabbi Brody's award-winning daily web journal, has been instrumental in helping tens of thousands of people around the globe find joy and fulfillment in their lives.