Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:October 31, 2012
Something we speak about every year with this portion is the story of the Binding of Isaac. However, this week’s portion holds within it many other teachings and stories. One I’d like to share with you is a relatively simple idea that if we really use, can change everything.
Abraham has a child with Hagar, named Yishmael. In this portion, Yishmael begins acting in a negative way. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, receives a prophecy that Yishmael should not remain in their house, and so Abraham sends the mother and son away. As they are walking in the desert, Yishmael becomes sick. Hagar is very concerned and tries to give him as much water as she can, but the water in their canteen runs out. The literal translation of the next verse says, “She threw the child, Yishmael, under one of the bushes.” What does that mean? Hagar had tremendous love for her son, so it doesn’t make any sense that she would do that. If she had given up hope and thought that he was going to die the least she can do is lay him down, right? Why would she throw him under one of the bushes?
Water represents chassidim, which means mercy. We are told in the verse that there was no more water left, meaning there was no mercy left, there was no more mercy surrounding Yishmael- he was completely overcome by judgment. The verse is telling us that when a person comes to the level where the judgment is so strong, then they need to draw great mercy, they need a miracle; this is what Yishmael needed in order for his life to be saved.
Here, a secret about prayer is revealed. If a person needs assistance that is within the realm of nature, then a person can use prayer. A request for physical blessings can work if the blessing that is needed is natural. But, if a person wants to draw great mercy, a great miracle, then the request and the consciousness of prayer needs to be within the spiritual realm only. Therefore, when it says Hagar threw the child, what it’s actually saying is she threw out of her mind any thought of the physical healing that she’s asking for her son. Her thought was only in the spiritual realm.
When a person has a lack in this world, it is only a manifestation of a lack he has in the Upper Worlds. If a person’s thought process is only, “I need to solve this problem or that difficulty,” then any connection made using that consciousness can reveal only a certain amount of Light. When a person needs great assistance, he has to go to another level. As above, so is below… he has to start thinking that what is happening on the physical level is only mirroring what is happening in the Upper Worlds.
Therefore, when a person goes to pray, his thought should be of filling the emptiness that exists in the spiritual realm. Yes, it may manifest in this world as sickness, poverty, or so forth, but that’s not what we focus on in our prayers. Because when a person focuses his thought, his prayers, on the physical absence only, he limits the amount of Light that can be revealed. When we understand that any physical lack comes from a Supernal and spiritual place, and our desire is that the spiritual lack be filled, then it will eventually also remove the physical lack.
If we want our prayers and our spiritual work to really reveal endless Light, we should never focus on what we are missing in the physical world. When we pray knowing that any physical manifestation has a spiritual source, our consciousness is that of wanting the Light to go and fill the Supernal lack that exists. This is an important understanding - miracles can only be created, and can only come, when a person’s consciousness is in the spiritual realm.
You can make all the connections, but if you are focusing on the problem that exists in the physical world, then it will be very difficult to create a miracle. But when you know that if there’s a lack in your life it means that there is a lack in the spiritual realm, then you can bring any amount of Light. It’s not a relatively difficult shift of consciousness. However, it has to be real. If we use this tool, if we use this understanding, we can reveal an endless amount of Light, and an endless amount of miracles both in our lives and the lives of others.