There is an interesting fact about the names given to Am Yisroel. We know from the Torah that various of the Avos (Forefathers) had their names changed by G‑d. Avrohom’s name was changed from Avrom. Sorah’s name was changed from Sori. We have a rule regarding Avrohom that once G‑d changed his name, reference to the previous name is forbidden. Yaakov’s name was changed to Yisroel, and once changed, both names are used by the Torah.

We learn in Chassidus1 a fascinating aspect to the Torah’s use of both these names. There is a code here, a deep secret of Torah, that a Jew actually functions at two levels — one a Yaakov level and one a Yisroel level. He is Yaakov in terms of his physical endeavors; earning a living, eating, sleeping, and negotiating the daily tasks of physical life. His outlook in dealing with those physical tasks is a Yaakov perspective. It is a Jewish perspective, but it is a perspective which is confined to the physical reality in which he exists.

There is a second and separate state for every Jew, which is his Yisroel mode. Everybody reading this book will be familiar with the fact that there are times in one’s life when one is functioning in a spiritual mode rather than a physical mode. These can be momentous moments; such as holding a baby for the first time, a first baby smile, standing trembling at the Bris Milah or wedding of precious children. All of these (and other such) times are moments when the physical reality of surroundings are almost irrelevant. What is relevant, is the baby, the son, the daughter, the moment, the feeling that one is in the presence of G‑dliness and the intensity of connection with G‑dliness .

It is important to understand that as a person develops spiritually, it is possible to access the Yisroel state, not only when the moment arrives by happenstance. It is possible to consciously access this state, for example, when davening, learning or doing a mitzvah. Equally importantly, as we will see in the following chapters, is that one is able to include one’s spouse in these moments, again by conscious decision. It therefore becomes possible through the exercise of Rotzon (will) to actually change perspective from a physical reality to a spiritual reality. To do this together with one’s life partner builds an impenetratable bond which is private, precious and everlasting. Just as the moments when the birth of a new child, the Bris Mila or the marriage are spiritual and can be shared, so too can mundane matters be shared as spiritually meaningful insights; for example, reactions of controlling anger (because all that happens is Divinely orchestrated-see Perspective I), controlling disappointment (because all is for the good perhaps just not yet understood — see Perspective II). The mundane can be converted to deeply spiritual moments. Remember this — serenity and nachas are catching....

A physical moment, even if pleasurable and intense, has a short life quickly forgotten. It is one of the wonderful byproducts of the Yisroel state that like with all matters of kedusha (holiness) this state remains accessible forever.