Developing Our Spiritual Sense of Smell

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Developing Our Spiritual Sense of Smell

Michael Berg
February 22, 2020

The Ari, Rav Isaac Luria, teaches that every month is connected to a part of the anatomy; this month of Adar, or Pisces, is connected to the nose, to the sense of smell. But, what exactly does he mean by sense of smell?

In the story of the Garden of Eden, it says that the fall of Adam and Eve happened because they used their senses - sight, sound, touch, taste - for selfish reasons, for the Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone. And while all those four senses were damaged, the sense of smell was not. It is, therefore, the most elevated, the most spiritual, and the most supernal of all the senses.

Most of us live our lives affected by what is obvious, whereas a truly elevated person is somebody who can receive and perceive what is almost nonexistent. For example, if we sign a great business deal, we will obviously be filled with happiness. Now, say there is a glass of water next to us; the same Light we experienced when we signed that deal also exists in a sip of water we are about to take, but we do not feel it. Like most people, we will feel much happier after signing an amazing deal than we would taking a sip of water, but not because the essence of Light and energy within the sip of water and that great deal is any different; rather, because we are only able to receive and perceive through the obvious.

The secret of the sense of smell, therefore, is the ability to perceive, and receive from, the less obvious. This month of Pisces, the Ari says, is about the sense of smell we have to develop, which is not natural to most of us. In a simple way, what makes a person grow spiritually is when he or she needs less physical occurrences to be content, because, in truth, the Light that exists in the things that make us happy exists also in the things that make us much less happy. On the ultimate level, we are told that at the End of the Correction the sense of smell will simply fill all individuals with joy, happiness, and wisdom. But our senses are corrupted in the way we live now.

The Endless Light is in everything. When we are enjoying a meal, for example, whatever joy we extract from that meal is the same joy we can experience from sitting in the chair we are in, because the Endless Light is in that as much as it is in the meal. But it all has to do with our spiritual sense, our sense, as the Ari calls it, of smell. And it is important to understand that every time we act in the way of selfishness, we corrupt our senses, and need more of the external things to excite us and make us happy. Therefore, what is the gift of this first month of Pisces? Smell; the ability to begin shifting our spiritual sense.

In this month, what we can ask for - and what is given to us - is the ability to perceive, and receive from, the true essence of things. The kabbalists teach that the Gemar HaTikun, the End of the Correction, can only be experienced by an individual who has developed this sense. And, as my father, Rav Berg, always told us, the Light of the End of Correction is here already; we just can’t see it because with every action, consciousness, thought, and word of Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone, we cover up that sense.

There are some people who have what we know as the “sixth sense,” who are able to see, understand, feel, and know what others do not. Why? Because their spiritual sense, what is given to us in this month, is not covered or concealed. Therefore, as we enter into this month of Pisces, we can ask to be able to see, feel, and know what is unseen, not felt, and unknown by most. That sense is awakened during this time, and if we have this desire and consciousness, and push to develop it, we can begin to extract joy from things we were unable to extract joy from, and understand, things we could not before.