Topic: Personal Transformation | Posted:October 7, 2015
When we come to the Shabbat of Beresheet, the first Shabbat of the year, we have gone through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, the dancing of Simchat Torah, and often people are out of energy. So, it’s interesting that when most people are at the end of their excitement, we are brought to one of the most important Shabbats of the year, and there is a true kabbalistic reason for this which might be counterintuitive. When a person feels what we call reactive excitement, when our body feels the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone about Shabbat or any connections, it actually limits the amount of Light we can receive. Therefore, it is actually a very important and necessary preparation for one of the most important Shabbats of the year that our body is not as excited or ready.
Those of us who are feeling at all tired from Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah come to this Shabbat, and hearing that it is one of the most important Shabbats of the year, might be worried that our excitement is not as it should be. But it is actually a good thing, because it means that our Desire to Receive for the Self Alone is less limiting of our soul being able to receive the tremendous Light that is available on this Shabbat.
So, understanding that, I want to now share one level of consciousness that is revealed on this Shabbat and available for us as we set up our year; a new physical year, yes, but a new spiritual year more importantly. And as we set up our year – physically and spiritually – this understanding is not just important for this week and this portion, but important so that we truly bring our mind to know the Light and blessings that are given to us on this Shabbat.
In the portion Beresheet there is a discussion about the first Shabbat. We know that there were the six days of Creation and then there is Shabbat, the seventh day. It says that on the seventh day, “The Creator completed everything that He had done.” What does that mean? The great kabbalist Rav Chaim ben Attar explains in the Midrash that it says even after the Creation of everything physical in this world, the entire world was still not settled. And it means that not just then in the time of Creation, but even now, after all the connections we have made – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah – we still have to settle that Light.
There are people who get excited quickly, and lose that excitement quickly. And what happens is that the tremendous amount of Light they generated during all the connections they made until now is unbalanced, and so they can lose it; we were blessed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with sustenance, health, and life, but all of those blessings that we received have to be infused with the underpinning of the Light that makes them balanced. You can have all the blessings that you asked for and still not have an ability to truly receive them or have them bring you to the level of fulfillment or connection that you desire.
The same process occurred during the time of Creation that occurs for us now - the process of creation for all the blessings that we will need this year. But it is unbalanced, and so they can be lost; meaning not that the blessings themselves will be lost, but the underlying energy that makes them worthwhile can be lost. And to have the blessings without the Light flowing into those blessings all the time is almost worthless.
For instance, a brit, or a circumcision, which is an elevation of the soul of a new child and a removal of all kinds of hindrances and blockages that he might have throughout his life, always occurs on the eighth day. The Zohar explains the reason it has to occur on the eighth day is because the child has to go through at least one Shabbat. Although there is a soul imbued within the body, that soul is not settled in the body until it has gone through the process of Shabbat.
This is why it says in the Midrash that everything was created in the first six days. There was still something missing. What was missing, the kabbalists say, was peace and tranquility. What was missing was the settling of the soul within the body. That is why Shabbat Beresheet was created; that is its power, and the power of Shabbat. Although everything physical was created, none of it was imbued with that life-force of the Creator - which is the only thing that brings fulfillment - until this first Shabbat.
We have, throughout Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah, drawn all of the blessings that we want and need for this year. But now, with the power of this first Shabbat, we actually imbue them with tranquility, with a balance. Which means that we do not just get sustenance, we do not just get health, we do not just get life, but we actually get them with a constant infusion and reinfusion of the Light of the Creator… and that is the only time that they are truly blessings. One of the gifts we want to receive on this Shabbat, therefore, is not just that the blessings we awakened through all of our work manifest, but that those blessings constantly be infused with the Light of the Creator.