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The Constant Battle for True Certainty

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:May 7, 2014

Talking about the beginning of this week’s portion, Nachmanides, the Ramban, writes about what’s called the Shmittah, which is the seventh year when no work of the land is supposed to be done; you work for six years, but on the seventh, you must stop. And he says we are awakened, in this reading, on this Shabbat, to one of the great secrets in the Torah.

So, what is the secret?

There were six days in Creation, and then, we know, on the seventh day, Shabbat, no work was done. The Ramban says that when we speak about the six years of work and the seventh year of rest, we are referring not just to the times when you’re working the field, but also to the time of those six days of Creation and the seventh day of rest. And he says, further, that when we talk about the seventh year, we are talking about the secret of the End of the Correction.

The kabbalists teach that the world will be around for 6,000 years, and that the seventh millennium is when the End of the Correction will occur and Mashiach will be revealed. And that’s really, he says, the secret that is revealed on this Shabbat. He tells us, further, that the secret to accessing the seventh year, the seventh day, which is really the secret of our perfection and the perfection of our world - the secret of the End of the Correction - is through either certainty, acquiring peace, or silence.

Here, I’d like to address certainty. There are two types of certainty. The first is the certainty beyond logic that we so often talk about, and the second, the Ramban tells us, is the type of certainty that most of us find ourselves in. It is the type of certainty where we need some form of proof, some form of logic. This type of certainty might give us some assistance or blessings in our day-to-day life, but it will never give us access to our perfection. It will never bring us to the purpose for which we came to this world or the ability to manifest the End of the Correction.

So clearly, getting out of that second type of certainty and getting to the place where we don’t need anything to sustain our certainty is of the utmost importance. Because the other type of certainty, although it might be able to draw some blessings in your day-to-day life, will not enable you to access the ultimate Light. It will not give you the ability to access the End of the Correction. So, how do you do it? What tool is the Ramban giving us? It’s not something we haven’t heard before, but now, hopefully, we understand why we can’t allow ourselves not to be pushing in this direction. Because if we are not training ourselves to transform into that only real type of certainty, we’re not accomplishing what we came to this world to do.

We talk about this all the time; every single day, there are the things that we’re happy about for mostly selfish reasons (whether we’re aware of it or not), and there are the things that we are not happy about - this person is doing this to me, this thing is happening to me, it’s not what I want, it makes me upset, etc. But we want to get to the level of certainty where in every given moment we know that what we are experiencing is what the Light of the Creator is giving to us, and therefore, we are able to, in some way, know that there is nothing that should make us happier or satisfy us more than what is being given to us right at that moment.

This is the tool for us to use: in every single moment when something happens and fear or doubt start coming in, the Ramban says to stop and say these words - I have certainty this is coming from the Creator. And therefore, there is no internal thought, fear, or doubt that I am going to allow to overtake me. It can be the smallest thing or the greatest thing, but if we know it is coming from the Creator, then it is what’s perfect for us in that moment. It is exactly what we need, and therefore, we’re happy for it. Initially, it won’t be what you are really feeling. But if you keep pushing yourself time and again, you will eventually train yourself out of the second group of certainty and into the first.

If you want to ask yourself what the most important work you are going to do each day is, remember that it is not in any connection that you’re making or act of sharing that you’re doing. Rather, it is in those moments which you don’t want to happen when you say, “I have complete certainty this is coming from the Creator, and this is exactly what I need now.” And each day, we want to become the person that feels that way all the time. Yes, we have all heard this before. But, be honest; are you working on this more than anything else? If not, then the Ramban says you’re not on the path to drawing for yourself and the world the Light of the End of the Correction. That constant battle for this level of true, elevated certainty is the secret of true, elevated certainty.

There’s a whole discussion in the Torah that during the time when this elevated level of certainty is revealed, we go back to who we are meant to be. The truth and gift of this Shabbat Behar, therefore, is the ability to return to our perfected self. We do this because eventually we come to a point where our selfish thoughts and desires are subjugated to the true perfection that is what the Light of the Creator desires for us. And because we have nullified that negative part of our selves, we begin tasting the true essence of the Light of the Creator, and we can, as such, begin tasting the Light revealed at the End of the Correction.

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