Topic: Master Kabbalists & Their Writings | Posted:August 24, 2016
Rav Brandwein gave a teaching to Rav Berg regarding the portion Ekev, and when Rav Brandwein chooses to teach one thing concerning a portion, it means that within that teaching is not only the most important consciousness we need to have for that week and that Shabbat, but also, maybe even more importantly, there's something about the secret we need to take with us throughout our lives.
So, Rav Brandwein speaks only about the first three words of the portion Ekev - “Vehaya ekev tishmeun” - which literally translated mean, “And it will be when in the end, you will hear.” Rav Brandwein says that in these three words are the secret of the purpose of life, and the secret of the purpose of The Kabbalah Centre.
In a letter to Rav Berg that was written in 1968, Rav Brandwein shares what was revealed to him concerning this reading. The beginning of the understanding, he says, is this: Vehaya represents joy, ekev represents humility, and tishmeun represents being guided by the Light of the Creator. When you have joy, are developing your humility, and diminishing your ego, then you will begin to be guided, hearing the Light of the Creator. Only an individual who is constantly endeavoring to diminish his ego to achieve greater humility can come to tishmeun, can come to hear. This doesn't mean to hear voices; it means to be directed, all the time, by the Light of the Creator.
And then, in order for us to be able to truly understand this, Rav Brandwein shares a section from the Zohar in the Song of Songs which is the basis not only for a true understanding of what the Shabbat and reading of Ekev is about, but also, of the purpose of our soul in this world and of why we do the work of The Centre.
The Zohar says that even the most giving person who leaves this world without having obtained the secrets and without working to study the wisdom of the Zohar, did not accomplish its purpose and cannot remain in the supernal world of the souls. Because, every single soul has a dual purpose: an elevation of consciousness and understanding that comes from the learning and attaining of the secrets of this world, and the action. One without the other does not complete the soul's purpose, and therefore, the Zohar says even an individual who was a tremendously positive and sharing person who elevated their actions, but did not elevate their consciousness to come to understand the workings and secrets of this world, has to come back to this world.
The Zohar says, quoting a verse from the Song of Songs, that when the soul - a soul that King Solomon calls a beautiful soul - leaves this world, it comes to the Upper Worlds and wants to enter into that place of rest. And it says to the Creator, “I realize that I lived a life that is a beautiful life, but my consciousness wasn't elevated, I did not attain the secrets, and I see that to really connect here in this world, I need secrets. So, tell me the secrets of the way the supernal world works. Teach me the secrets that I did not study or receive in this world.” And the Zohar tells us the Creator says to that soul, “A beautiful soul that elevated action but did not elevate consciousness through the study of the secrets cannot enter and remain in the supernal world.”
So, the Zohar says, “Go back into this world. Find the souls who know the secrets and go and study with them. And then you can study the secrets and find the true resting place for your soul.” And that, Rav Brandwein says, based on the teachings of the Zohar, is the secret of the first three words of the portion Ekev. Vehaya represents joy. When is the soul truly filled with joy? Ekev, when it goes to the teachers of the secrets. And when it learns the secrets of this world, the secrets of the Zohar and the secrets of Kabbalah, then tishmeun, it is directed by the Light to the Creator and can connect completely to the Light of the Creator.
Sometimes when we study Kabbalah, we believe it's for the purpose of making us a better person. And while that is true, it's also important to remember the secret Rav Brandwein gives about this week: unless our consciousness is constantly being elevated, our connection to the Light of the Creator and all the Light and blessings that can come from that connection cannot be achieved. The Zohar here is talking about when the soul leaves this world, but this teaching is true every single day.
The secret of this Shabbat is a reawakening of our need for the constant elevation of consciousness for ourselves and the world. Because even the most beautiful actions done without a constant elevation of consciousness to the attainment of the secrets of the Zohar and Kabbalah limit the elevation of the soul. And when the soul’s elevation is limited, the amount of Light, blessings, and strength that it can bring down to its life is limited.
Therefore, from Rav Brandwein to Rav Berg to us, what we want to be reawakened to is the understanding that the purpose of our souls coming into this world is not simply to transform into a more sharing person all the time, because that makes a beautiful soul, but that's not enough. As the Zohar says, the question we have to ask ourselves every day, both for ourselves and those we come in contact with, is - Did I elevate my consciousness today? Did my mind, my understanding, and the consciousness of the secrets become elevated today - maybe even by one minute of connecting to the Zohar, of one minute of understanding the secrets more deeply? If yes, the soul enters into the uppermost chambers, and is able to bring back down into this world all the Light and blessings it is meant to have in this next day.