There is a great deal of work that each of us needs to undertake in order to get ourselves right. It takes tremendous courage to even attempt this work and a great deal of Divine grace to succeed in fulfilling it. We are battling against tendencies that have built up over many lifetimes. When faced with the enormity of this task, some of us lose faith and courage, but this is only because we think that we need to go through our struggles alone. We do not realize how much help there is waiting for us on higher planes. We need only turn our minds heavenward and those in the Kingdom of Heaven will be there to aid us. The help of heaven is an extraordinary thing. It can transform anyone into a powerful Divine instrument. It can fill an ignorant person with wisdom, a coward with fearlessness and turn a sinner into a saint.
The Hasidic Master, Shlomo of Radamsk teaches that some souls come into this world from a high supernal source with a strong inner connection from the beginning. These souls become exalted spiritual masters. Most of us, however, do not come from such a high level and are not so developed at birth. We evolve spiritually by linking with the souls on higher plane. When they overshadow us, their strength and inspiration enables us to do great deeds that we could never have accomplished on our own. This, he says, is the hidden meaning of Jacob’s request to his children on his deathbed that they do him “the kindness and truth” of burying him not in Egypt but with his forefathers in Israel. What Jacob is really telling them, Rebbe Shlomo explains, is that the Children of Israel must not let themselves become immersed in the material darkness of Egypt. They should strive instead to reach the light of the Land of Israel by constantly turning toward their spiritual fathers – the souls in the supernal worlds – for guidance and inspiration. Jacob is urging his descendants to look for the help of heaven and not the help of human beings.
Those on higher plane are also part of the collective Soul of humanity. We all work together within the Body of the Great Being Who overshadows Earth. Those on higher plane live in the conscious awareness of this state of unity and oneness. Our goal is to awaken this sublime consciousness within ourselves. Sri Ramakrishna used to say, “If you move one step towards Him [God], He comes down ten steps towards you.”  We need only look inward instead of outward and God will be there. Even if we do not feel His or Her presence, we can be sure that those on higher planes will respond to any sincere prayer. If not directly, then through another person as their instrument: help and succor are always pouring toward us if we are ready to receive it.
The Midrash states that the souls of Israel are hewn from under the Throne of Glory. The Hasidic Master, Elimelech of Lizensk teaches that a spiritual “cord” (chevel) links each soul to this supernal source. This inner link is always present within us, but we often cannot feel its presence because we have covered it over with layer after layer of materiality. These layers create a barrier between our spiritual source and us. The purpose of all spiritual disciplines is to help us clear away this barrier so the Divine emanation can flow unobstructed along this inner path. It is by means of this spiritual cord that we build our link with those on higher planes.
The work of maintaining this supernal connection is accomplished through a twofold process. We keep our connection clear and firmly attached through a life of purity and God awareness. And we expand its dimensions through prayer, meditation and study. In this manner, ever-increasing light and inspiration can flow into us, and then through us, out into the world.
According to Rebbe Shlomo of Radamsk, there is yet another unique dimension to the help of heaven. The help of heaven is offered without any thought of return. Those on higher plane are truly selfless. They willingly sacrifice themselves for us. They give all that they have to help us and uphold us. They suffer with us in our suffering and rejoice in our joy.
The spiritual life is about learning how to emulate those on higher planes. It is about learning to act with selflessness. Our challenge is to train ourselves to forget our own selfish desires and look toward the needs of others. When we can act from this place of true selflessness, then we will transcend our personal limitations and become part of the great web of souls that stretches up into the heavens. We will become agents of God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose. We will become emissaries of His light, power and love.
Jacob’s life can be divided into two periods: one period when he carried only the name of Jacob, and a second period that begins after he receives the name of Israel. By battling with the fear and darkness inside him, Jacob overcame his personality limitations and merged into his soul. By drawing on the help of heaven Jacob was transformed into Israel – one who wrestles with God. It is this secret that he is sharing with his children on his deathbed. It is this great “kindness and truth” that he asks them to take as their legacy for the generations of the people of Israel.
Turning to those who dwell on higher planes is a path through which we can receive incredible strength and courage. The help of heaven will sustain us through our struggles and inspire us to become more than ourselves.
Copyright © 2009, by Yoel Glick
- Swami Chetanananda, God Lived with Them, p. 114↵