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Patience

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:February 19, 2014

There is a lesson in this portion that in order to receive the totality of the Light of the Creator - which was the purpose of the building of the Mishkan, of the Tabernacle - you have to be able to wait for the Light of the Creator.

The Light of the Creator never comes on our timetable. Rav Brandwein taught Rav Berg that if we’re not 100% sure, we should always wait… wait for the Light of the Creator to come in. The truth is that we lack patience, and because we lack patience, we do not allow the Light of the Creator to come in. Unfortunately, two things can happen because we are impatient. One, lesser Light will come in to fill the vessel that we’ve created. Or two, worse than that, the Light might never come in.

The Book of Samuel talks about the first year of Saul being king, when he puts together an army of three thousand, and his son has an army of one thousand. During battle, his son kills one of the leaders of the Philistine army. As a result, the Philistines bring 30,000 chariots, six thousand cavalry, and an endless amount of foot soldiers. One can therefore imagine the stress that this would put the king under. Additionally, all the Israelites are now, of course, worried. They leave their homes and hide in caves, holes, or anywhere they can find. Some just run away across the Jordan River.

Saul was told by the Prophet Samuel to wait in Gilgal. Samuel tells him, “Don’t worry. Wait. In seven days, I’ll come to see you. Have certainty.” But everybody around him is telling him, “Look what’s going to happen. We’re all going to be killed. There’s going to be a massacre. We’re so terribly outnumbered.” Now, it’s one thing to have certainty when everything’s going okay, but to have certainty when you have four thousand soldiers against hundreds of thousands of soldiers, and all the people who trust you are running away, it’s not so easy to have certainty. But Saul waits and tells everybody, “Don’t worry! The Prophet told me that he’s coming in seven days, and he’s going to help us once he gets here.” However, Samuel doesn’t come on the seventh day and people start leaving.

Saul doesn’t know what to do, but he knows that he has to show the people that he can make some connection to the Light of the Creator, so he says, “Let’s bring a sacrifice, an offering to the Creator so He’ll support us in our battle.” Just as he is finished bringing the sacrifice, Samuel appears and says to him, “I told you to wait. What are you doing?” Saul says, “I’m connecting to the Light of the Creator. I brought a sacrifice. I saw that if I didn’t do something fast, people would start leaving. Everybody was going to give up on me. And you said you were coming in seven days, but you didn’t come.” Samuel says, “I told you to wait, to maintain your certainty. Not just until the seventh day, when you thought I was going to come, but past that. You did not have the patience to wait for the Light of the Creator to come. Had you waited, you would have had the blessing of kingdom, of leadership, for you, for your children, forever.”

There are times we can have certainty, and there are times we start losing it. But we always need to know that it is in those moments when the certainty is slipping away that the greatest blessings want to come. The Creator wanted to give Saul the blessing of leadership forever. When he was outnumbered, when everybody started giving up on him, when he was told there’s a sign coming in seven days and it didn’t come, if Saul had been able to hold on to his certainty past the point of patience, he would have remained a leader forever; “You would have been given the Light and the ability to bring an end to pain and suffering in this world,” Samuel tells him, “but now, not only will you not remain forever or remain king, but also you will not be the conduit for the bringing an end to pain, suffering and death in this world.”

On the other side of this is King David, who became king after Saul. The Creator desired a leader, somebody who is able to maintain certainty against all logic. So King David is chosen for many reasons, but the main one being that he was able to maintain certainty beyond the point that makes sense.

In Samuel II, the Creator says to King David, “Now is the time to do battle with the Philistines,” which is, of course, the moment when Saul lost his certainty. So he has one battle with the Philistines, meets them head-on, and wins. Then King David asks the Creator, “What should I do now? There are still Philistines that are trying to attack. Should I go to the second battle?” The Creator tells him, “No. Now you have to go behind, but still don’t attack. Stand there with all your army and wait.” Remember, the Philistines are right there. If King David and his army wait too long, the Philistines will find them, and they’ll be killed. But the Creator says to him, “You have to wait until you hear the voice of movement on the top of the mulberry trees. And then you go.” Which is what David did.

This is, of course, an amazing level of certainty. King David wasn’t simply a spiritually elevated person, he was also a great general and warrior. He said to himself, “I put aside everything that I know about battle. I put aside everything that I know about war. And even if I think the moment is perfect, I don’t go. I wait.”It says the moment came when King David knew it was the moment to go, but he didn’t hear the sign, so he didn’t go. He knew not going in that moment meant that the Philistines were probably going to find them out and kill all of them, but he didn’t care because the Creator told him to wait past the time it made sense. And because he waited, the Light of the Creator came in and did the battle for him.

Being a leader, being somebody who truly reveals the Light of the Creator in this world, can only come to a person who has patience, who is able to maintain certainty past the moment of logic, past the time when everybody else says you’re stupid and wrong. And there’s a deeper spiritual reason for this that is connected to what we learn about King David, which is that everything that comes to us in life - whether it’s relationships, success in business, spiritual wisdom - has to be elevated towards us by the Light of the Creator.

It is the purpose of the gifts given to us that they be elevated by the Creator. However, if a person doesn’t wait for the gifts to be lifted towards him, but instead goes to grab those gifts, it’s said it’s as if he’s eating dirt. As it tells us in Isaiah, the lower places are where the snake, the negativity, is. You have to wait until the gifts are elevated towards you, and then you can receive them. Between every gift that is meant to come to us and ourselves there is space that’s called chalal. In that space resides the Negative Side. If you are impatient and try to grab it too early, putting your hand into that empty space between you and the gift and not waiting for it to come towards you, then you are connecting to that level of darkness. You might grab a little bit of the gift, but it cannot remain forever. It cannot be a true gift.

Between where we are today and every single gift that we are about to receive there is space. And we either wait for the Light to bring that gift towards us and then receive it, or impatiently we try to grab it. If we want to receive true gifts, if we want to bring true Light into our own life and into this world, it cannot happen without patience; but it must be patience with certainty, patience beyond any point that our mind or logic allows us to have it.

I hope we can all come to understand that everything that is of importance in our lives has to have this level of waiting attached to it. Having the ability to maintain certainty and patience past the point of logic is what separates those who receive small, finite gifts from those who receive limitless, endless gifts.

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