Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:August 21, 2013
The first sentence of this week’s portion says, ki tavo el ha’aretz, vehaya ki tavo el ha’aretz, “and it will be when you will come to the Land,” asher Hashem eloheikha noten lakha, “that the Creator gives to you.” Here, the Israelites are being spoken to by Moses at the end of the 40 years as he is getting ready to leave this world; they will soon enter into the Land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua.
The kabbalists teach that the secret of the verse – and therefore the secret of this Shabbat - is not about entering into the physical land of Israel as the Israelites did thousands of years ago, but rather about the elevation of the individual into what is called the Upper World. Rav Berg often says that consciousness is everything; that where a person’s thoughts and consciousness are, is where he is. So, then the question is, how do we elevate our consciousness into that Upper World?
The answer is relatively straightforward and simple if we think about it.
When we give importance to, or become angry or worried about, things of this physical world – meaning the world of Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone and ego– which is what all of us do 99% of the time, what we are actually doing is taking our consciousness and steeping it further into the physicality of this world. For instance, somebody may say something that upsets us. When that happens, we have to ask ourselves - is this the type of thing that would upset a soul that resides in the Upper World, in a World that has no attachment to ego or to the Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone? If it’s something that almost always bothers, upsets, or worries you, it is because you are attached to the physicality of this world, to your ego.
It’s also true about things that make us happy and that we enjoy. What are those things? If you are honest with yourself, you will realize 99.9% of the things that bring you joy are not the true things, are not the things of that spiritual World, but rather they are the physical things of this world. And that’s dangerous for many reasons, because one of our purposes in life is to detach from that world and attach to the Upper World.
It says in this portion, vehaya ki tavo el ha’aretz; kabbalists explain that when vehaya is used it refers to joy. What this is teaching us is that the only joy a person can ever really experience is in elevating himself to that Upper World. The only true joy is in detaching ourselves of this world of physicality, and attaching ourselves to the Supernal World.
There’s a famous saying that a person who lives outside the Land of Israel has no God, meaning he has no connection to the Light of the Creator. Only a person who lives in the Land of Israel has a connection to the Light of the Creator. The Land of Israel here is not referring to the actual physical land, but to the upper spiritual realm that we are talking about. And that’s the choice that comes to us on this Shabbat. Do you want to continue to reside in the world of Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone, or do you want to detach and come - asher Hashem eloheikha noten lakha -into the Land where the Creator gives you constant Light and blessings?
Furthermore, it says in the Talmud that when the Israelites were battling Amalek – which we know represents doubt and the source of all darkness and negativity – Moses lifted up his hands, and that every time the Israelites looked up into the heavens they would defeat Amalek, and every time they did not, they lost to Amalek. So, what is the secret of that story? It’s not simply that looking up into the heavens gave them strength. Rather, when they forced themselves to push their consciousness into that Upper World and detach themselves from the consciousness of this world is when they received assistance, miracles, and protection. As long as they remained attached to this world with their eyes gazing downward, giving importance to the things of this physical world, they lost to Amalek; an individual can only draw Light, protection, assistance, and miracles to the degree in which he detaches himself from this world.
A lot of us, even those of us who are spiritual, think we have a choice and that it’s ok to remain relatively attached, saying to ourselves, “I know in the long-term I probably don’t want to be that attached. But I have time, I’m spiritual, I’m doing all these other things.” But there is no choice. Because the reason we are in this world is to detach from the world of the Negative Side, and to attach ourselves, in this life, in our consciousness, to the Upper World. And through that, draw unlimited blessings and miracles from the Light.
That is the gift of this Shabbat.