What's in a name? Take the name "Aaron" for example. It's a warm, biblical name. It has the connotation of trust and understanding. Perhaps this is because the original Aaron was an epitome of love and caring.

But a name is more than connotation. Kabbalah teaches that a person's name comes from the soul. It is connected with the essence of a person far beyond the conscious. So we can journey into the deeper self through the vehicle of a name.

The Hebrew letters spelling the name Aaron (Alef, Hei, Reish, Nun) also spell out the word for something being visually present (nir'ah). This gives a sense that the deeper nature of the Biblical Aaron had much to do with drawing down sublime spiritual flows to visually benefit humankind. Chassidic master Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi notes that Aaron was the first Hebrew Kohen (priest). He possessed the power to draw down a degree of compassionate love known as Rav Chessed (abundance of cosmic compassionate love). He is known to have transformed enmity between people into love, and also to confer the aura of love over a group or even the nation. His heirs, the Kohanim, inherited this trait and continue this process to the present day. (Interestingly, genetic studies have revealed that Kohanim have a unique genetic marker that identifies them as a distinct historical grouping).

Not only do they have this capacity to draw on cosmic love and shower it on others, but also the spiritual flow is characterized by velocity and speed. Like a mighty river whose fast-flowing waters carry away anything in their path — hurt, envy, hate, or misunderstanding. The Rav Chessed power of Aaron not only reconciled warring parties but did so with amazing speed and velocity. Do you sometimes feel transformed by simply being in the presence of someone? Aaron had that affect on people, but even more so. His was a clear example of non-local phenomena!

A further example of this took place during the archetypal dispute for leadership — Korach's challenge of Moses and Aaron. The spiritual test came in the strange form of a competition: which disputant could make an almond branch bloom. Aaron did so with amazing speed. In fact the Hebrew word for "almond" — shaked — literally means "speed" as well, it being the fastest growing of the all fruits. It was a particularly good receptor of Aaron's spiritual powers.

Although most of us do not possess Aaron's amazing powers of Rav Chessed, we do have an innate power of loving kindness known as Chessed Olam (worldly compassionate love). In other words, every one of us has the power to reconcile people with differences, to resolve disputants in conflict, to foster love where its lack is apparent. This capacity derives from our inner soul, but it needs to be aroused. When it flows strongly and with velocity, it can carry away with it any ill feelings, enmities, jealousies, and vengeance. A Kohen can do so with great force. But we all possess the power to draw it down to the earthly plane.

Remember, you are much more powerful than you think. You are created in the image of the Cosmos and possess its powers as well. Use your powers to resolve the disputes around you, as well as disputes within the self. You have the power. Use it wisely.

MASTERY: Focus on your capacity to love. How do you do that? It is not like focusing on a navel or a flame. It requires you to focus on your flow of empathy and compassion and then to direct it to someone. There are two inherent problems related to such focusing. The first is to summons empathy. The second is to focus appropriately. Propriety means a feeling that doesn't exploit the other, actively or passively. The more difficult test is to arouse empathy. The meditation exercise below may assist.

MEDITATION: Bring to mind someone you may harbour a grudge against, distrust, or just have a bad feeling towards. Revisit the circumstances that may have brought this about. Introduce a new element: what must have been the shortcoming that caused that person to hurt you or be insensitive to you. Picture that shortcoming as a wound with a trickle of blood flowing out. That person's behaviour/words were the result of a wound - an emotional wound. You may not know how that wound was inflicted - even possibly self-inflicted. Just be aware: when a person hurts you, they are hurting. Heal them with love, empathy, and compassion. Visualise these three being bandages that you strap over the other's wound.

Follow-up resources: audio tapes Transforming Anger and Love/Hate Relationships, by Laibl Wolf, both available at Rabbi Wolf's Website (see link below)