Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:November 23, 2016
In the portion Chayei Sarah, it says Ve’Avraham zaken ba bayamim, “Abraham was old, coming into his days.” The way the words ba bayamin appear in the Torah are translated as, “he was older, full of days.” But that’s not the exact translation; it says ba bayamin, as in the concept of entering into a day. What does that mean? What is the secret here of entering into a day?
Most of us, when we think about our lives and days, think that in any given day, we had, for example, ten opportunities to reveal Light and ten tests to fall, like becoming angry, selfish, or reacting in negative ways. And at the end of the day, we can make an accounting; if we grabbed five out of ten opportunities to reveal Light, then we have that amount of Light. If we feel five out of ten times we have to subtract whatever darkness that we created, then at the end of the day we see how much Light we revealed.
We think that the day is an accounting of the positive actions we took and the negative actions that we fell to. But that’s a big mistake. Let’s compare it to a corridor in a building, where there are ten rooms that are beautifully fixed up and constructed, and ten that are in shambles. You walk by the rooms and you can open the door into a beautiful room and go in, or not. And there are also doors into the rooms that are dark and not ready. You can go in there and see the darkness and close the door. Most of us have the understanding that we are walking down the corridor. We open up doors, we close doors, we gather positive actions or negative actions. But that’s a big mistake. Every day has, as we read from the Zohar, what’s called the Or HaGanuz, Concealed Light, within it. And the purpose of our actions is not for themselves, but for the places that they take us, for the Concealed Light that they will reveal. If we think that our day is assessed by actions, “I’ve taken this many positive actions, or this many negative actions,” then we have missed the entire point of life and the entire point of every single day.
There is, as we read from the Zohar in Naso, beginning in section 44, a beautiful secret about Concealed Light, that hopefully, if we understand it, changes our life. The Zohar says that every day has a fence, a barrier, around it, which makes it so that not every person who wants to can enter and receive the goodness of that day.
When we wake up in the morning, we think, “I’ll do this action to reveal Light, but I won’t do that action. It’s up to me. I’ll get as much Light as I decide to reveal, and do as many actions as I decide to do.” However, it doesn’t work like that, because every day that we wake up there is a barrier, a protection, around the goodness, the Concealed Light, of that day. And the protectors, the forces that protect the goodness of every day, are like, the Zohar says, thorns around the vineyard; as such, you can’t just enter. If you want to enter, you will hit up against the thorns.
And there are other protectors - snakes, scorpions, and all kinds of angels - who protect the goodness of that day, such that a person who has not earned the Light of that day cannot enter. If there wasn’t this protector, anybody could decide, “Today, I’ll receive some Light, I’ll receive some wisdom, I’ll receive some secrets.” But it doesn’t work that way; there is a protective shell. We have to remember these, “Every day has a protection around the goodness for that day.” And there are many negative angels, snakes, scorpions, and wild animals, which are not physical animals, but rather, forces of protection around the goodness of the day that create a sense of darkness; they all mess with our minds and may bring doubt and confusion to us so that a person cannot enter into a realm or Light that is not his.
So, the Zohar here is revealing to us this secret that is different from the way most of us think. Most of us think we wake up in the morning and have free will, so we decide, for example, that we won’t make our connection in the morning, or at least we won’t do it in such a powerful way. But later in the afternoon, we’ll have our coffee and we’ll get excited, and then we’ll make a connection. We decide we will miss the morning connection, or the excitement in the morning connection, but we’ll do it later. That’s because we think we have free will and can grab whatever Light we can. But, no. There’s a barrier around the Light of every day, and we are given the exact amount of opportunities, both of actions of sharing and the exact amount of tests for our actions of negativity, to manifest a break in that wall, a break in that protection, such that if we woke up in the morning and had the opportunity to reveal Light and didn’t take it, we have just strengthened that wall around the goodness of that day, and so two hours later when we might feel like making a connection, it doesn’t happen. Why? Because we are outside of the wall. We are not in the goodness or Light of that day.
It’s not about when we decide we will reveal Light. Because if we are outside the wall of the goodness of that day and trying to reveal Light, it’s not going to come to you; rather, it’s going to come to you as confusion and darkness. We have to understand that we don’t really have free will in every day and that we have to break through a wall every day. Our day is set up with the opportunities to reveal Light and the opportunities not to fall; they are set up exactly for the purpose of breaking through the wall of that day. And if we don’t break through the wall of that day and later try to reveal Light, then we’re on the other side of the wall and can’t receive the goodness of that day. That’s on the negative side.
But, when a person understands this, the Zohar says, he grabs every opportunity all day from the moment he wakes up to reveal Light, because he knows now that he’s not just revealing Light for himself, but also the world. He knows he needs to break through the barrier today and that if this came to him now, it means he has to grab this opportunity, because it is helping him break through the protection around the goodness of this day. If we fall then, we make that wall much more difficult, and we won’t be able to reveal any Light we try and reveal later, because we’ll be outside the wall of the goodness of that day. However, if a person understands this and grabs every opportunity to reveal Light, all of those protectors now become his assistants. All those angels, snakes, scorpions, and negative forces of darkness are not only removed, but actually come to assist him and become his supporters.
Therefore, it’s not just a removal of a barrier; we actually receive the assistance of all those forces, and all those negative forces then become positive forces, and they will bring us into the Concealed Light and goodness of that day, and will speak on your behalf to the goodness of that day, saying, “Our Master, this person is a righteous person, he deserves your Light. He wants to enter into you. He is begging us, he is saying, open for me the gates.”
This explains why so many people do spiritual work and receive nothing; because they are not going through the process. It has to be a daily process, where these negative angels become positive angels that are helping us, elevating us, and speaking to the goodness of the day, saying to it, “This person really desires you. He’s asking for the gates to be opened.” And when this occurs, the Concealed Light of every day will say to them, to these angels that were once negative and now supporting the person, “Open for him the gates.”
The Zohar asks, what is the secret? As it says in Isaiah, “Open the gates and the righteous should come through.” This is the work of every day, and, again, should change everything for us. Hopefully, now, we understand the falsehood of the way most of us view our days. We think from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep at night that we choose, “I’ll do this action of sharing and I’ll reveal some Light, but I won’t do that one. I’ll fall a little bit here, but I won’t fall there.” However, the work of the day is not to reveal Light or not to fall into darkness; it is to break through a barrier that exists around the goodness of that day.
The secret is that this is the work of our day, every day: to break through the barrier that holds the Concealed Light. I know for myself, and I hope for most of us, that this is a very exciting shift in the way we view our days, and our lives. When we begin our day and understand this is the purpose of our day, and that we have to both desire and do everything we can to break through the barrier, then we can. Otherwise, if we live the smorgasbord spiritual life where we take some opportunities and not others, we reveal some Light, and have short days. But we want, like Avraham ba bayamim, to enter completely into our days.