In the final installment of this three-part essay below, which is excerpted from the long version of Soul Prints, Dr. Marc Gafni writes that we can transform and raise our passion and artistic creativity. We transform them into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same. As long as our spirituality remains vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress the more primal, creative passion, lest it overwhelm us. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized.
From Part I: “Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo created. And yet, creativity is still viewed as suspect by much of the religious community. Art per se and artists to be sure are suspected of being amoral at best and, more probably, immoral. Acting, painting, sculpture, song are held in both high esteem and moral disdain. Why? The answer, which we have already introduced in our earlier discussion, emerges from an understanding of the deep linguistic and conceptual relationship between the biblical myth terms Yetzer and Yetzirah. Yetzirah means creativity; Yetzer is best translated as primal instincts, including but not limited to libido (Freud), the drive for power (Adler, Nietzsche), and the need for meaning (Frankel). In the Hebrew language, which is the ultimate source of all biblical myth thought, Yetzer and Yetzirah are the same word, linked etymologically and conceptually. The point: I cannot create without connecting deeply to my most primal instincts.”
Yetzer and Yetzirah: Raising the Primal Sparks of Creativity and Passion
by Dr. Marc Gafni
from “The Way of the Dragon“ in the long Soul Prints
Post-Lurianic sources teach that because the love of truth was so intense and erotic – because it was not the kind of “hobby spirituality” which we all know so well – the Mikdash artists were able to engage in deep creativity (Yetzirah) without being overwhelmed by primal instincts (Yetzer). The Yetzer for sexual eros was encompassed and directed by the more powerful erotic passion for spirit and truth.
As long as our spirituality is vapid and empty, we indeed need to repress Yetzer lest it overwhelm us. This, however, is not the way it should be.
In the biblical myth dream of the rebuilding of the Mikdash, the major issue is not to put up another building on the temple mount in Jerusalem. It is, rather, a universal spiritual dream of all people who dream and work towards a time when the erotic drive for truth and goodness will be so powerful that they will raise up the primal passions to their highest level of erotic beauty and morality. We need to re-read the source cited above, not as Kibbush Ha Yetzer in the sense of conquering, but as Kibbush in the sense of the Hebrew word, Kibbush Yrakot, the treating of vegetables to bring out their hidden tastes and qualities through care and attention. We “Kovesh the Yetzer.” We transform and raise our passion into a powerful drive for the sensual and the holy, realizing that, in a redeemed world, they are one and the same.
This secret of creativity is actually contained in the name of the person who was the artist, creator par excellence of the vessels in the temple, Bezalel. In Hebrew, Bezalel has two meanings. The first meaning is “in the shadow of God.” Like the shadow ever drawn after its source, Bezalel is pulled to God. The second meaning is “in the shadow is God.” Because our primal passions sometimes threaten to endanger us, engulf us, or otherwise expose our lack of control and vulnerability, we push them into the shadows. There they fester. Primal passion unrealized is soul print destiny unrealized. If you remember from our earlier discussion, passion is an essential prerequisite in uncovering soul print. Unexpressed passion is life unlived. Life unlived develops a life of its own in the shadows and ultimately may become our undoing. Only by moving through the darkness of primal instincts by embracing Yetzer and redeeming its sparks of light in the shards of the shattered vessels can we engage in the ultimate act of creativity, the formation of a spiritual persona of integrity, depth, and true greatness.
Saul avoids Yetzer. He avoids his own imperfection, and so he cannot create himself. He therefore loses the kingship to David whose entire life is about integrating his primal shadow passions and uncovering the full beauty and complexity of his soul print lines.