Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:August 27, 2014
In the portion Shoftim it says, "When you go to war with your enemy and you see horses and soldiers, and many legions more than you…do not be afraid of them..."
Regarding this, the great commentator Rashi explains that when it talks about going out to do battle and you suddenly see that the armies arrayed against you are greater than you, what the Creator is really telling us is - "You, in your eyes, see so many enemies against you. But, in My eyes, there are not many there." We think we have a lot of enemies against us, but really, there’s nothing there. It’s an important concept.
It goes much deeper than that, and is a beautiful understanding. When it says,"going out to battle," it’s not talking about a physical battle; it’s talking about the battle that each one of us has with the Negative Side.
It says that you see, or at least you sense with your physical senses, all of these enemies, all of this negativity, against you. But you should know that the only strength they have is from you. The strength they have is created through the negative actions that you have done. Therefore, it means not that they are greater than you, but that they are actually created from you. Why? Because you view your eyes, your body, and your five senses as your own, not as the Creator’s. That’s the consciousness which gives strength to the Negative Side.
But, if you are able to truly push yourself through this difficult work and remind yourself constantly that these are not my eyes, ears, my mouth, my body - they are the Creator’s, then your enemies will have no strength. You take away all of the force that the Negative Side has. With this consciousness you burn away and remove all negative forces from this world, because you have cut off their life.
This is a deep concept.
The individual has looked at something he should not have looked at. He said something he should not have said. He has created negative energy - energy of speech, energy of seeing, energy of action. What sustains this negative energy? When, for example, an individual has said something negative about another person, with that form of energy he has created a force of negativity. The Negative Side keeps taking and sucking from our energy to stay alive. So, if we feed it with negativity, then we sustain it.
If you transform yourself and come to this consciousness, reminding yourself constantly every day that this is not my mouth, this is the Creator’s mouth, then you cut off the sustenance to the Negative Side. Because what sustains all the negative forces that we have created through our mouth, eyes, hands, and so forth, only remain sustained as long as we see them as ours. So when you come to the consciousness that these are the Creator’s eyes, this is the Creator’s mouth, this is the Creator’s body, then it has no more strength anymore. You have taken away their source of Light, their source of energy, and they die. Further, when you come to this consciousness, you can become a guard, stopping any negativity from manifesting in your life.
The danger with this concept is that we all know it on some level. But, be honest with yourself – do you know as a spiritual concept that this is not your mouth, your ears, your body, yet are you still allowing yourself to speak and act negatively? If so, it’s only because you view your hands, eyes, mouth, etc., as yours. If you truly viewed your hand as the Creator’s hand, then there would be nothing you could do with that hand except share and reveal Light in the world. And the only way we have of truly coming to this consciousness is reminding ourselves hundreds of times a day that in this month of Elul (Virgo) we are in, we have to do it.
Further, one of the ways the Ari, Rav Isaac Luria, says a person can truly access the Light of this month is when an individual is very careful in saying the blessings before he eats or drinks. Of course, we know that throughout the whole year it’s important to make those blessings, but the Ari makes it a point about doing it in the month of Elul. I remember when I first read this years ago it was strange to me that out of all the things the Ari could speak about – anger, study, prayers, sharing, etc. – he specifically makes a point that in the month of Elul you have to be very, very careful in saying the blessings before you eat and drink.
Why? Because the whole transformation that has to occur is from a consciousness of mine to a consciousness that is of the Creator. One of the purposes of the blessings we make before we eat is to awaken the consciousness that this is not my food, this is not my apple, this is not my drink. Only then do we draw the Light and sustenance from those things.
We know that the work of this month is to transform ourselves, to whatever degree we can. Maybe we cannot all come to this completely, but we need to work to change how we see our body, eyes, ears, mouth, and hands. The only way to do that is to remind ourselves of it hundreds of times a day. In doing so, we cut off the sustenance to the Negative Side and protect ourselves against negativity.