Topic: Prayer & Meditation | Posted:January 14, 2015
The portion Va’era begins, “The Creator tells Moses, ‘I revealed myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in one level of Light, one level of connection. But in this highest level of connection I did not make myself known to them.’” So the kabbalists ask, what secret is the Creator giving Moses in that statement? And most importantly, what understanding and secret do we want and need to receive from that teaching? To answer this, I want to share from the Pri HaAretz, the book of collection of teachings from Rav Menachem of Vitebsk; it is the one book that Rav Brandwein would study the weekly portion from.
It's a lengthy section but I want to focus on one point that has to do with speech… specifically, speech that is of prayer, that is of study. The original words of Rav Menachem of Vitebsk in Hebrew are very beautiful and powerful, but translated, he asks - when every person is praying, do they think that it’s them who is speaking, who is saying the words of the prayer, the words of connection? Menachem of Vitebsk says we have to be very careful not to do that.
The consciousness needs to be that it is the Creator speaking through my mouth; and this is true also when you're teaching, when you're praying, or when you're doing anything important. The thought has to be that this is not me speaking, these aren't my words coming out of my mouth when I'm praying, but rather they are the words of the Creator coming out of my mouth. Same as it is the Creator speaking through me when I'm studying, when I'm saying the words of the Zohar. When I'm praying and I'm asking for healing it's not me who's saying those words of healing but the Creator is saying those words of healing.
He says that if you're able to maintain the constant consciousness and awareness that it's not your mouth speaking, it is not your mouth praying, but rather it is the mouth of the Creator, then you are creating - with every single word that comes out of your mouth in prayer, in study, in teaching - a new world. Just as in the moments of Creation, it says in Psalms that with the words of God the heavens and earth were created, it's this simple for us if we’re able in our prayer, study, and teaching to be constantly reminding ourselves that it is not our mouths speaking, it is the Creator speaking through us. When we do this, we are creating a new world with every single word or prayer that we say.
You can imagine the difference, the difference between you asking that Light to be revealed or the Creator asking that Light to be revealed, right? If you're able to maintain throughout your prayer, throughout your study, throughout your teaching, the consciousness that this is the mouth of the Creator speaking, it is not me speaking, then you are as powerful in that moment in creating our world. And in so doing, every word that you're going to say will be even much more powerful than you can imagine. When you're asking for a prayer for this person or for that person, but if it's now the Creator who's doing it, then that will awaken things greater than you can even imagine.
Therefore, Menachem of Vitebsk says that if you simply have the consciousness that it is the Light of the Creator speaking through your mouth, then regardless of who you are, regardless of what spiritual state you are in, then you are creating, and it's the Light of the Creator bringing healing, the Light of the Creator bringing protection. Further, when a person does not involve himself in his speech, but rather when he's praying, when he's studying, when he's speaking, when he's teaching, he is saying that the Light of the Creator is speaking through his mouth, then he becomes connected immediately to the endless Light, and Light simply flows through him.
So this is what he explains the secret of this Shabbat is. And it says in the beginning of this portion that the difference which occurred between Moses and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that Moses was, on this Shabbat, given the ability to become the mouth of the Creator; whereas with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, although they were at a very high level, were able to draw healing through their own power only, through their own mouths.
But what occurs on this Shabbat is the ability to connect Moses' mouth to the mouth of what's called the Yud Hei Vav Hei, the mouth of the endless Light of the Creator. We have to understand that Moses was a very powerful person, even before he received this gift on this Shabbat; he could awaken great Light, but not endless Light. So what changed on this Shabbat is that Moses was given the attachment of his mouth to the mouth of the Creator – the consciousness that Menachem of Vitebsk was speaking about, and that we can now merit as well. It was first given to Moses, and now from Moses to all of us. That is the secret Menachem of Vitebsk says of this week's portion. Moses was given the ability so that his mouth becomes connected to the mouth of the Creator so that he can bring endless blessings.
Important for us from this teaching is understanding that this is how our prayers have to be. This is how our study has to be. This is how our teaching has to be. We have to keep reminding ourselves when we’re praying, when we’re standing in Amidah, when we’re reading Zohar, that it is not my mouth that is talking, it's the mouth of the Light of the Creator that is talking. And if you're able to, Menachem of Vitebsk uses the word “practice.” He says that if you are able to train yourself in this way, then you are connected to the endless Light, your prayers become powerful, your study becomes powerful, and your teaching becomes powerful.
We are being given the ability on this Shabbat - simply with our consciousness - to connect our mouth with the mouth of the Creator, speaking words which can then bring endless Light. When we are praying, we have to keep reminding ourselves constantly: “this is not my mouth, it is the mouth of the Light of the Creator.” Practice, practice, practice, Menachem of Vitebsk says, because every single person can merit through practicing this consciousness his prayers becoming more powerful.