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Be an "Idiot" of Simple Certainty

Topic: Holidays & Time Zones | Posted:April 1, 2015

There is a relatively simple - but for me, very powerful – teaching of Pesach. In the Haggadah, it says that no matter how well you know the story of the going out of Egypt, no matter how many times you have heard it, or repeated it or said it, you have to keep saying it. The kabbalists say that if a person is in darkness, or is going through challenges, difficulties, and pain, he should repeat the story of what happened 2000 years ago. Why?

Rav Brandwein, in the letters that he wrote to the Rav, speaks about Pesach and about this connection. There is one verse that he keeps mentioning, and if there is a mantra, a phrase, that you can keep in your mind throughout Pesach, it is this verse - “As in the days of going out of Egypt, I will show you the great miracles, the great Light…” The kabbalists teach something very fundamental: the fulfillment of any lack that we have, and the assistance for any pain that we experience, was revealed when the Israelites went out of Egypt. The kabbalists say that in the going out of Egypt was contained the seed of all the Light, all the healing, all the assistance we will ever need.

What is the story and why do you have to repeat it in your mind over and over? After hundreds of years, all the Israelites see is darkness, and suddenly Moses comes to them and says, “It is all going to change.” And the kabbalists teach, and the Rav made this clear, there is only one reason the Israelites were able to reveal the totality of the Light of the Creator; not because of their spiritual work, not because of any connections that they made. It is because when Moses kept coming to them saying, “I know that all you know is darkness. I know that all your parents and their parents’ parents knew was darkness. But believe me; have certainty that this can end now,” the critical mass of Israelites were able to open themselves up and have that consciousness. It was not that they went from total darkness to a little bit of Light. It all changed in a minute, from complete darkness to complete Light.

There’s a story about The Baal Shem Tov, the great kabbalist. When he was younger, there were people running after him trying to hurt him, and when he got to a great river, he used some of the Names to split the water, run through it, and be saved. Many years later when he was much older, he told his students, “When I was younger I was smart, and I used the Names and was able to awaken miracles. Now, when I am older, when I am wiser, when I am more connected, I practice simple certainty. And all those miracles that I awakened before with all my wisdom and Names and connections, I awaken now with simple certainty.” He said, “I am a child and I have certainty. I am an idiot, and I have certainty.” And this is the greatest secret.

That level of simplicity in certainty is way beyond where most of us are. Be honest with yourself – when you are in a state of total darkness, are you able to have certainty that there will be total Light in a moment? No. And because of that, if you do not beg for it now, if you do not work on it now, you are not going to have it when you need it.

Personally, for me, I want to become an idiot of certainty like the Baal Shem Tov said. I know most of us do not like the word idiot, certainly if it pertains to us. But I have to tell you that my request on this Pesach is to become a little bit more of an idiot in that way, where I am able to completely remove thoughts of logic, and awaken that simple certainty. What I am asking for on this Pesach, and what I hope we are all awakened to and ask for on this Pesach, is - I want to be an idiot and have certainty. I want to be a child and have certainty.

Pesach is not about bringing Light. Pesach is not about drawing some more Light of freedom to ourselves and the world. It is about one thing: as the Baal Shem Tov taught, as Moses taught the Israelites, it is to develop the ability to be an idiot when it comes to certainty. Develop the ability that when something happens, when you hear something, in a second you are able to say, "It is the Light of the Creator. This does not bother me, this does not worry me in the least." And realize why it is so important; because there will come a time in the life of every single one of us when we will need this simple certainty. Unless we beg for it, unless we practice developing it, we will not have it when we need it.

A great gift of Pesach is simple certainty. As such, we need to ask that we break and throw away all we understood about certainty prior to Pesach, and beg that on Pesach we are given the understanding and the strength of consciousness to convert ourselves to that simple certainty. And then, when we are given that strength and understanding, we have to practice it. As we said, why do we speak of Egypt? Because Egypt was the first time when a crowd of people was able to convert to simple certainty. And that was the only reason they did not have to suffer for another 190 years, and it is the only way that we, individually and collectively, do not have to suffer hundreds more years of pain and suffering - if we desire, beg, and practice being an idiot of simple certainty.

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