Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:May 20, 2015
The Creator comes to Moses and tells him, “As you count the other tribes, don’t count the tribe of Levi. Do not count them as you count all the other Israelites.” Why is the Creator so adamant that Moses not count the Levites as he is counting all the other tribes?
Rashi, the great kabbalist and commentator, says the Creator saw that all those who were to be counted were eventually going to fall and not be able to enter into the Land of Israel, and therefore the Creator does not want the Levites to be counted with the other tribes. The Creator says, “The Levites are mine;” they didn’t fall when all the other Israelites fell at the Golden Calf.
For hundreds of years, the kabbalists have been trying to understand why Rashi points back to the Golden Calf. Because the reason the Israelites didn’t enter the Land of Israel is not due to the Golden Calf; they lost the Light of Immortality because of the Golden Calf. The reason they didn’t enter into the Land of Israel was because of the story of the Spies. The Israelites lost their merit, lost their ability to elevate into that state called the Land of Israel, when they believed and fell into the trap of the Spies. And the Levites didn’t.
So why is Rashi mixing up two other stores - the fall of the Golden Calf and the counting that is occurring on this Shabbat - when really all that’s necessary to know is that the Israelites fell with the Spies, and the Levites didn’t? It really is a much longer discussion than this - some people say that the Levites did fall to some degree with the Spies, while others disagree - but the basic question is a very obvious one.
One of the biggest mistakes we make on a daily basis is that we don’t realize that our ability to grow or our ability not to fall in each moment is dependent on a hundred different decisions that we made yesterday, the day before, a month ago, and even a year ago. If you are able to have clarity of vision today, if you are able to have strength today, if you are able to grow and not fall today, it is not because today you have that strength or vision. It’s because yesterday you had a choice whether to fall or not, and you didn’t. It’s because you have made the right choices along the way. And because of that you are given the assistance from the Light of the Creator in this moment to be able to see, to be able to know, to be able not to fall, and to be able to grow.
Every single moment, every single question, and every single piece of wisdom that we need for our self or others is not based in that moment. It is based on the decisions that we make throughout. A decision, or lack of decision, that you’re making today, will make you fall tomorrow. If you allow yourself, knowingly, to do a little bit wrong here or think a little bit wrong there or not push yourself a little bit there, then a day from now, or a week from now, you’ll need strength, vision, knowledge, or understanding, and you won’t have it. It’s not your fault at that time; you just don’t have it. But had you pushed yourself the day before that, or the week before that, or the month before that, you would have the vision, the knowledge, the wisdom, the strength.
So, now we can understand the answer to the question: why does Rashi mix all three together – the Golden Calf, the counting, and the Spies? Because they are all connected; because every moment of our life is connected.
The Levites were elevated higher than the rest of the Israelites during the time of the counting because they didn’t fall at the Golden Calf. And because they were elevated during the time of the counting, they had the strength not to fall during the time of the Spies. And because they had the strength not to fall during the time of the Spies, they were able to elevate into what is called the Land of Israel. It’s all connected, every moment is connected; had they fallen at the Golden Calf, they wouldn’t have been given the extra elevation at the time of the counting, and they wouldn’t have had the strength not to fall during the time of the Spies. Every single moment in our lives is dependent on decisions that we’re making in every moment before.
We have to push ourselves now so that we have the strength to handle tomorrow’s challenges. If we are not constantly pushing ourselves or aware that every single little thing we do is going to determine what happens next, we wind up being completely blind and having no reason for why we are overwhelmed, or don’t have the answers, the vision, or the strength. Say, for example, yesterday you could have connected for ten minutes, but you connected for five. Three days ago you could have done a certain action, but you didn’t. And ten days ago you had the ability to share in a way that was uncomfortable, but you didn’t. These opportunities are given to us so that we can build or own strength and receive that additional assistance from the Light of the Creator.
There are no small moments, there are no small decisions, and there are no small thoughts, because each one leads to where we’re going to be.