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Awakening Memory

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:December 31, 2013

When the Creator speaks with Moses, He talks about the going out of Egypt; which, as we know, is not a historical event, but rather a spiritual process that continues to this day. And throughout the whole story of going out of Egypt, Moses says zikaron, zikaron. Those words awaken memory, and there is a great secret behind them.

In the Sh’ma we say lema’an tizkeru, “so that you remember.” What is it referring to? Not simply to remembering historical events; there’s something much deeper. There’s a secret of remembering. The kabbalists explain that it is important to perfect our memory and not fall to forgetting. Forgetting is a level that is referred to as the death of one’s heart, of one’s spiritual heart. There are two levels of daily remembrance. The most important one is to remember the Supernal World all the time. And so a question the kabbalists often ask is - in what realm are we living our lives?

If you think about it honestly, when most of us wake up in the morning and go throughout the day, the things of this world are our priority. We think, “How, or what, am I doing in this world? How do people think of me in this world? What are other people doing to me in this world?” Therefore, in this physical environment is where our memories are and our focus is. It leads to what’s called mitat halev, when a person’s heart and connection to the Light of the Creator diminishes.

So the first level of memory that we have to live our lives with from the moment we wake up every morning, is where am I living my life? What is my focus? Is it everything of this world, or is my soul connecting to the Supernal World? When we allow our thoughts of this world, as we usually do, to permeate and overtake us, we cause a great disconnect of our soul from the Light of the Creator. We come to the level of what’s called shichecha, forgetting. Because we forget reality. We don’t live in reality. Most of us are living in illusion all day, and if you live in illusion all day, then where’s your soul? Your soul falls to that illusion.

The secret of remembering is living your life mostly not in this world. Yes, you do all the things - you have to work, you have to do all the things of this physical world. But what’s your focus? What’s important to you? What’s your priority? If you are living in the level of zikaron, of remembrance, it means that you are remembering that what is important is the Supernal World and your connection to the Light of the Creator, and everything else that occurs in this physical world is secondary.

Therefore, what is the purpose of the going out of Egypt? What is the purpose of all the Light that is revealed? It is to awaken zikaron, to awaken us to live in the world of remembering.

Unfortunately most of us live our lives in separation from the Supernal World. When we see what people do to us, when we see situations that arise, we cut it off from its supernal source, from its supernal purpose. As such, we fall and live in the illusionary world, the world of forgetting. So when this happens throughout the day, what you have to do is remember to ask yourself, “What is it that I’m supposed to take from this situation to help me elevate?” And if you do this consistently, you come to live in the world of zikaron, in the world of remembrance, in the world that is connected, always, to the Light of the Creator.

The Ari says that you cannot come to the perfection of your soul unless you realize what’s happened to your soul in previous incarnations. How do you do that? The answer is relatively simple. You already have that information, and you have those memories. But you can’t access them because you are living in the world of shichecha, you are living in the world of forgetting.

When we live in the world of forgetting, we do not allow our true memories to come to us. The kabbalists teach that before we came into this world our soul was taught by an angel all the information that we will ever need in our life. Every single one of us, at different times in our lives, finds ourselves in situations where we need wisdom and clarity, where we need to know what to do. But the reality is that we have that wisdom; it is in the realm of zikaron, in the realm of remembrance. There is no information that you need that you don’t have. But you can’t access it as long as you are living in the world of forgetting. Because when you live in the world of forgetting you forget everything about yourself. You forget all the information that you already have.

It is said that many of the kabbalists were able to remember, in detail, everything that their soul had experienced in previous incarnations. There are many stories in which the kabbalists would actually detail their experiences in Egypt - where they lived, who their family was, what they experienced through the Ten Plagues, what they experienced when they went out of Egypt, and what they experienced at the Splitting of the Sea. Can you imagine how amazing that would be if you or I were able to completely access every single one of our previous incarnations? How different would our lives be? Whenever we meet an individual, we would be able to see what happened between us in a previous incarnation, and therefore what we need to change.

We have that ability. We have those memories. And none of us can achieve the purpose for which we came into this world unless we access those memories. But we can’t access those memories because we have chosen to live in the world of forgetting.

Every time we wake up in the morning we need to remind ourselves what our most important task that day is - to grow and maintain our connection to the Light of the Creator - and every time throughout the day when something happens and we don’t connect it to its source, we need to ask, why is this happening? And to know it’s happening in order to allow me to perfect myself, to strengthen my connection to the Light of the Creator. If those memories are not infused throughout the day, then we will never be able to access the original memories – what we studied in the womb, what has happened to us in previous incarnations.

It is a great gift of this Shabbat Bo to choose to start living in the world of zikaron, to start living in the world of memory. If we consistently remind ourselves to live in that memory, then we begin to access all the wisdom we already have. We begin to access all of our previous incarnations, and we can perfect ourselves and begin to correct all those things we need to correct.

That is why throughout the whole story of going out of Egypt, Moses says zikaron, zikaron; becausethis is about awakening memory, and it is a tremendous secret that is open to us on this Shabbat. Through it, we can all begin to live in the world of zikaron, of memory, and start to access all the wisdom, knowledge, and previous incarnations that we need to in order to perfect ourselves in this incarnation.

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