Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:November 4, 2015
In the portion of Chayei Sarah, there is the story of the sending of Abraham’s servant, Eleazar, to find and bring back a wife for Isaac, who we know ends up being Rebecca. There are many levels and secrets in the whole story of Eleazar, but there is one specifically I want to touch upon here.
Eleazar comes with a tremendous amount of wealth and animals, and it says that he put the camels outside of the city. Camels have a spiritual significance, and the kabbalists explain that what it’s really talking about here is the work we need to do to elevate souls that are not able to elevate themselves, souls that are very far away. There are souls that are considered to be outside, and those souls - whether it is because of things they’ve done in previous incarnations, or things they’re doing in this incarnation - fall so low that they’re outside of the group of souls.
And part of our spiritual work, which is important that we think about, is not only to elevate ourselves and people we know, but to have the additional consciousness that the work we’re doing is also elevating souls so far away they are considered outside of the rest of the souls in the world.
The kabbalists explain that’s one of the reasons why on Friday night we say Boi Kallah during Kabbalat Shabbat when we turn around to the west and bring in the Light of Shabbat. On Friday night, at the time of Kabbalat Shabbat, we have the power to elevate all those souls that have no hope and that are outside, and we are actually elevating them. Therefore, when we turn to the west, which is the place that represents lack, we are actually turning to the souls that are outside, that are lost. And through Kabbalat Shabbat and the work of Friday night, we’re elevating those souls.
A big part of our work has to be to elevate those souls that are very far away. That’s what Eleazar was doing in this portion, and that’s what we need to meditate on every Friday night as we turn to the west, to the place where the lost souls are. We say Boi Kallah so that the Light of Shabbat can elevate those low souls.
Abraham and Sarah were married for many years, and they couldn’t have children, but the Zohar says that when they came together it wasn’t a waste because they were creating souls; souls of the people that further in their lives they brought to the Light of the Creator, as well as souls that came much later. Therefore, this idea that you do an action in which the affect can come later is important for us to keep in mind. Because, for instance, when we work with somebody, when we try to help somebody, and we invest time and effort and it seems like that effort is gone because we weren’t able to help them, we have to know that even if we didn’t give birth to a new soul, the energy that we invested is now going to elevate another soul that is lost.
It’s important to repeat: If you invest time and effort in a person, even if that work wasn’t able to awaken that soul, you have to know that Light gets transferred to one of the lost souls and awakens them.
So, one of the gifts of the portion Chayei Sarah that we receive from Eleazar is the idea of having both the consciousness and the power to be able to elevate those lost souls. And one of the times that we do it practically is on Friday night when we turn around to the west. But also, whenever we are with somebody, whenever we try to teach somebody, whenever we try to help somebody and it doesn’t work out, whenever it seems like the work that we did didn’t help this person, you have to know that the Light and energy we invested is transferred over, and some lost soul somewhere in the world is being elevated.
This whole idea of elevating those lost souls is a bigger and deeper discussion than this, but it’s an important work for us to do in order to really be able to bring the Gemar HaTikun, the End of the Correction. If we just help the “found” souls, the souls that we can help, and we don’t at the same time elevate those lost souls, we won’t be able to bring the Gemar HaTikun. It’s important that we make the idea of elevating those lost souls part of our spiritual work.