Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:December 14, 2016
In the portion Vayishlach, Jacob is preparing himself with protection, because physically, his brother is able to kill him or greatly harm him. The kabbalists of a few thousand years ago say something interesting: that the night before he is going to meet Esau, “Jacob is left alone.” And in the Midrash, it says about the Creator that “the Light is on Its own.” So, just as it says about the Creator that the Light is on Its own, so too does it say that Jacob is alone. Therefore, it seems as though Jacob achieved the level of the Creator in terms of being alone; what is the secret of that teaching?
To understand, we go to a story told in the Talmud about Rav Hanina Ben Dosa. The story goes that there was a woman who knew how to call down the powers of darkness and negativity, and, for whatever reason, wanted to harm Rav Hanina Ben Dosa. She knew sorcery and witchcraft, and needed to take some dirt from under his chair with which to draw negative things into his life, so she hid in his house all day trying to find an opportunity to get some of this dirt.
At one point, Rav Hanina Ben Dosa sees her and says, "Take whatever you want. Do whatever you want. There is nothing you can do that will harm me. There is nothing but the Light of the Creator." And that is the secret - him saying to her, "There is nothing but the Light of the Creator, and therefore there is nothing you can do that can harm me;” because all forces that do harm, whether they are using spiritual negativity or physical negativity, receive sustenance and have to survive. There is a little spark of Light that exists within all forces that try to do harm to an individual or this world, but no force of harm can touch a person who has the constant consciousness that there is nothing but the Light of the Creator, and Rav Hanina Ben Dosa was on that level.
I know we've all heard this before, but I know for myself, and I hope for all of us, that we want to come to a place where we live this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because then we are protected all of the time, guaranteed. Let’s think about it; we’ve all learned that there is only the Light of the Creator, but when we think about our day or week, how many times were we really able to see only the Light of the Creator? Many times we weren’t. We get a phone call we don't want, or news we don’t want, and think, “No, it’s not from the Light of the Creator;” our consciousness, unfortunately, is not "Everything - every interaction, every person, every negativity - is simply the Light of the Creator.”
Rav Hanina Ben Dosa, through years of work, came to the point where there was nothing in his life that he did not immediately see as the Light of the Creator. And this goes to years of training; “this person has upset me, this situation is terrible… but it is all the Light of the Creator." We have all probably learned this in some way, but I don't think any of us have lived this 100% yet. And now we realize that it's not just another nice tool that we learn; it is a way, a path, towards complete protection.
What does it mean when it says about the Creator that "The Light is on Its own?” It represents the consciousness of singularity, where we are able to come to a point in which we only see the Light of the Creator in everything that happens in our life and anything that happens around us. It is not easy. Many of us are trying, but failing. But now we understand that this is all life is about.
It says about Jacob that “he was left alone," and when we read the story, it seems a little bit scary; it's the middle of the night and he is all alone. However, it's a good all alone, because it means that there was Jacob and there was nothing else except the Light of the Creator. Esau could not harm him. Why? Because he did not see Esau; he saw the Light of the Creator.
How do we master this consciousness? By daily practice. And it is easy, because there are 10, 20, 30 times a day when things happen that we don't want to be the Light of the Creator, or when we are sure it is not the Light of the Creator. But, now we know; Rav Hanina Ben Dosa was not talking from ego when he said, "Do anything you want, there is nothing that you can do that can harm me,” to the sorceress. He was completely protected, because through years and years of training, he came to a place where he saw everything in his life, without a second of doubt, as the Light of the Creator.
This is such a powerful thing, and sometimes, I think in our spiritual work, we don't have the impetus or drive to do it because we do not understand, really, what's at stake. But this is a fundamental and powerful teaching. No negative forces or people in this world can or will be able to touch a person like Rav Hanina Ben Dosa who comes to the constant consciousness that "it is all the Light of the Creator." When an individual solidifies in his consciousness that it is only the Light of the Creator, he makes it so that no negativity can come to him. And, again, my hope for myself and for all of us is that we do not just learn this, but that we actually come to the beginning of making this change in our lives.
The Zohar says that an individual has to come to the consciousness where he sees all judgment and negativity as the Light of the Creator; "There is no situation or person that upsets me, angers me, or disappoints me, because nothing else exists. It's all just the Light of the Creator." When an individual is truly able to come to the consciousness that it is all only the Light of the Creator, and he does not cause separation through thoughts such as, "This person angers me, this person disappoints me, but that's not the Light of the Creator, it is just somebody who is an idiot and upsetting me,” then no forces of negativity can exist in this world. Furthermore, the Zohar says if enough people do this, then there can be no negativity in the world. Therefore, this is probably the most powerful lesson in the week of Vayishlach; it is certainly, hopefully, a change in our lives. When a person comes to this place - and it comes from deeper and harder work than we have maybe pushed ourselves to do until now - then a person also has the power, the Zohar says, to awaken great miracles for himself and others, and to change anything that exists in nature.
This Light, this gift, is available to us this week. It means that we become singular in our role in life. It is not another nice, spiritual tool that we sometimes use and sometimes don’t. If we want to get to where Jacob and Rav Hanina Ben Dosa were, where not only are we completely protected, but where we can also decree miracles, then we have to push ourselves to come to this singularity of consciousness.
If we push ourselves consistently in this direction of change of consciousness, no negativity or darkness can come to us, and we become spiritually powerful. We are able to decree miracles for ourselves and others. So, I hope for myself, and for all of us, that we take this in a deeper way than we ever have before. Because every single one of us can, and is meant, to come to this place; may we merit understanding it and truly doing the work necessary to get there.