Topic: Well Being | Posted:February 18, 2015
The Zohar, in its entire commentary about this Shabbat of the portion Terumah, makes clear that there’s a tremendous amount of Light that is revealed, revolving specifically around the individual’s ability to make a personal, deeper connection to the Light of the Creator. The purpose of this Shabbat, and what’s available to us on this Shabbat, is really to awaken a personal, constant connection with the Light of the Creator.
Rav Moshe David Valle, one of the great students of Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, an Italian kabbalist, wrote a commentary on the Torah. And it is his explanation on the beginning of the portion Terumah which will create the opening for us to really understand this Shabbat’s gift.
The portion begins, the Creator tells Moses about the Israelites, “They should bring Me an offering. “ And the Creator says, “Any person,” meet kol ish - and these are really the key words on this Shabbat - asher yidvenu libo, “whose heart is awakened to give,” kol ish tikkhu et terumati, “from him you can and should take the offering.” And Rav Moshe David Valle asks what is the connection between the beginning of this week’s portion— which speaks about the ability, on a deeper level, of any individual to be able to awaken a connection to the Light of the Creator— and the end of last week’s portion?
In the end of last week’s portion Misphatim, the Israelites had a vision of the Light of the Creator. For most of us, our spiritual work is not based on things that we see. It’s based on things we understand, sometimes experiences we have, but not often on visions that we have. Yet, here is one of the few times when an entire collective of people had the same vision. They saw, it says, the burning fire of the Light of the Creator at the head of the mountain. They had a physical visual experience with the Light of the Creator; they saw that as the Light of the Creator comes down to this world, it is experienced as a burning fire.
When the Israelites saw this, they became scared, because you can’t stand by a fire, or certainly enter into a fire, for long without being burned. They asked, how can we, simple people, expect to have a constant connection with that? Somebody else, like Moses, can make a connection for them, can bring some Light back down to them. And maybe in their day-to-day life they can make some connections, but they did not think they could have a constant connection to the Light of the Creator without being burned.
But we need to remember - when we see something in the physical world, it is the lowest level of what we are seeing. And the lowest level of the Israelites’ vision of the Light of the Creator was an all-consuming fire; therefore, they said they will never have the ability to make a constant connection. All of us, to some degree or another, have this thought. Do any of us really believe that we can maintain a constant connection to the Light of the Creator? Probably not. Most of us think you go in and out. You make a connection, you leave. We think there’s this concept of going back and forth. As such, the thought of having a constant connection to the Light of the Creator is something that’s way beyond us. We have an understanding that the Light of the Creator is way beyond our ability to maintain a constant connection to. And that is the place the Israelites got to at the end of last week’s portion Misphatim and is the purpose of the beginning of this week’s portion, Terumah.
The Creator wanted them, and us today, to know that just because we experience a vision of the Light of the Creator, we should not understand from it that we will never be able to awaken or maintain a constant connection to It. Because we can, and are meant to. Not only does the Creator want them and us to know that we can have a constant connection, but also that it’s relatively — “relatively” being an important word here —relatively easy to maintain that constant connection; in fact, we don’t have to enter into an “all-consuming fire” to maintain a constant connection.
So, how do we do it? It says a heart that does not have hatred, does not have jealousy towards other people, kol ish, any person like that, tikkhu et terumati, can awaken a vessel into which the constant Light of the Creator can be manifest. This is telling us that if we prepare our heart with love, if we do not feel hatred or jealousy towards another person, if our heart is truly filled with love towards other people, then on that heart, in that individual, the Light of the Creator will rest easily.
The word for awakening, or “yidvenu,”is the same numerical value as the word “Chesed,” which is mercy or kindness. Which means that if you awaken your heart with kindness, if you move out any hatred, any jealousy that you have in your heart, then in that heart - no matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter what level you might think you are on spiritually - the Light of the Creator can rest.
What the Rav Moshe David Valle is telling us is that it’s not really about a process of spiritual elevation; it’s just about preparing our heart. As long as our heart does not have hatred or jealousy towards other people, the Light of the Creator can rest with us. This means, like the Israelites, that we have to forget about any thought we have had previously about believing that we cannot merit or come to a place where we can have constant connection with the Light of the Creator; no… we now need to know that we can.
The first step is to awaken a heart of love. Yidvenu, which is the numerical value of Chesed. If you have a heart of Chesed, a heart that does not have hatred, or jealousy, or negative feelings towards other people, on that type of heart the Light of the Creator can rest. And not just rest, but have a constant connection.
What does it mean to have a constant connection? Because, as we know, consciousness is everything, then having a constant connection is dependent on having the consciousness that we literally have the Light of the Creator with us all the time, like a shadow that walks with us everywhere we go. If you don’t think or have certainty that the Light of the Creator is literally resting with you everywhere you go, then It is not.
But if you have the heart of love, as we said, and you have this consciousness that the Light of the Creator is with you everywhere you go, then the Light of the Creator truly is with you everywhere, all the time. That is really the secret of this Shabbat.