Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:August 19, 2015
In the portion Shoftim it says, tamim tihiyeh im Hashem elokecha, which means that you should be simple with the Creator.
The Maharal says a very important statement which pertains to this idea - ki tam hahefech mimet, simplicity is the opposite of death. The words in Hebrew for simple, Tav-Mem, are the opposite of the words for death, Mem-Tav; complexity, therefore, is equal to death. Because if somebody lives on this level of simplicity, he’s never separated from the Light of the Creator, and as such, death cannot come to him.
So, what does "simple" mean? Every day when something happens, when somebody does or says something, or we hear about something, our immediate reaction – which comes from the Negative Side – is to begin to try to figure it out: What does this mean? What’s going to happen from this? What can I do to stop it? What can I do to make it better? This entire thought process that most of us go through at least a few times every day separates us from the Light of the Creator. We need to understand that whenever something happens and we start trying to figure it out, make it better, change it, or start to worry about it, we are not being “simple,” and therefore, we separate ourselves from the Light of the Creator.
This insight, hopefully, gives us a new way to stop ourselves from falling to complexity. Every time somebody says or does something and our initial reaction is to worry about it, try to figure it out, try to see into the future on how we can make it better, we need to remember that each thought in that direction separates us from the Light of the Creator and attaches us to death. If we realize this, it gives us a much greater understanding, and, hopefully, desire not to fall to that lack of simplicity and thought of complexity.
You are either going in one direction or the other, and you know you are progressing towards the path of simplicity when, for example, yesterday you had ten worries from ten things, today you only have nine worries from ten things, and tomorrow you only have eight worries from ten things, and so on and so forth. Or, you are going on the other path, the other way, where, for example, ten things bothered you yesterday and you are trying to figure out what it’s going to mean, and today eleven things worried you, and tomorrow, it’s going to be twelve. That path is the path towards death, towards connection to the Negative Side.
It’s a very important understanding. Today, every one of us is going to have an instance where we hear something and our first reaction will be - what does this mean, why is this happening, what’s going to happen with this in the future? But we have to stop and say to ourselves, “I know that if I start thinking in this way, if I start worrying about the future, if I start trying to figure it out, all of that energy only does one thing: it moves me one step further from the Light of the Creator and one step closer to a connection to the Negative Side.
On the other hand, if when we have that opportunity we say, “No, even though my desire is to figure this out, to make sure this doesn’t harm me in the future, I’m going to be simple about it. I know that it’s coming from the Creator, and therefore, I know that the end is going to be good,” then we take ourselves one step closer to ki tam hahefech mimet… simplicity is the opposite direction from death.
The Zohar asks why the Negative Side is called the snake. There are many names that are given to the Negative Side, to our negative inclination, so why is it called the snake?
We know the story in Genesis, in Beresheet, where the snake comes to Adam and Eve. The Zohar asks - what do we know about the way a snake moves? Side to side. People can walk straight, but a snake doesn’t go straight. That’s why the Negative Side is called the snake – because of the way it travels. It is an indication ofthe way many of us live our lives. When something happens, when somebody does something to us and we say - What’s going to happen from this? How am I going to be harmed from this? What is this going to mean? – we actuallygo to the side, like the snake. We are taking a side view, worrying, trying to see into the future of what’s going to happen.
Therefore, when an external force or person does or says something, there are two choices we can make. We can choose to go the straight path, which means we continue with simplicity, the path of connection to the Light of the Creator. Or we can choose the other, which unfortunately is our nature and the one we often we fall to, when we go to the side like the snake and try to figure it out and worry about it. But when we realize that every single time we do that we are connecting to the path of the snake and disconnecting from the straight path to the Light of the Creator, hopefully it gives us the impetus to choose the straight path.
When it happens today for you, stop and say I have two choices now: I have a choice to continue in the straight path of simplicity, which is the Light of the Creator, or I have the way of the snake, which is to go to the side and try to figure everything out in the future from this. That is the choice that connects a person to the snake and disconnects a person from the Light of the Creator.
So, we have these two ways of thought. One, as we learn from the Maharal, is: ki tam hahefech mimet, simplicity is the opposite of death. And therefore, every time we have to make the choice to start worrying about something or complicate it, stop and ask yourself - do I want to be connected to death, or do I want to be unified with the Light of the Creator? Second, is the idea of the way of the snake. Stop and ask - do I want to go in the straight path, in the path to the Light of the Creator, or do I want to go the way of the snake, going to the side and trying to figure out the future? And if we really keep these two thoughts in our mind, it will give us the strength and ability to choose the path of simplicity, the path of the Light of the Creator, accepting whatever happens, not worrying about it, and knowing that no matter what, it will be good, because it is from the Creator.