On the way to my hydrotherapy session this morning, I listened to the daily Tanya class from Rabbi Yehoshua B. Gordon, of blessed memory. In the dressing room afterwards, as I was getting changed to go to work, Rabbi Gordon’s explanation about the Chassidic term “garments” of the soul became very clear.

Garments can be quickly changed, as opposed to the intellectual attributes and emotional attributes of our soul, where change is a longer process and takes more work.

We all have the inborn capacity and capability to make choices about what we think, say and do, and shift our thoughts, speech and action, even completely from one direction to the other.

Moreover, the Baal Shem Tov taught that where our thoughts are is where we will be. Not only can our thoughts change swiftly, but the whole of us and our experience of the world will follow in that direction.

The Alter Rebbe explains that this simple internal act of changing our thoughts—even if we are sitting quietly at home and no one else knows—causes a huge influx of supernal light into all spiritual worlds, this physical world, and our soul, and may well be the final thing that triggers the whole turnover of the darkness of this world to light.

This is the power of Jewish cognitive therapy!

Sources: Tzava’at Harivash, section 69, p. 55; Likkutei Amarim Tanya Chapter 27; Ramban Hilchot Teshuva 3:4