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The Power to Be "After Death"

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:April 9, 2014

The portions of Acharei Mot and Kedoshim are generally read together, except when there is a leap year in the kabbalistic calendar, like this year.

In the portion of Acharei Mot the Creator says we should follow the spiritual path, and when we do this, we will achieve life. The Ramban, also known as Nahmanides, teaches that both the level of life we have and the level of life that we reveal through the spiritual work that we do is dependent on where our consciousness is. Therefore, when we comprehend these words from the Creator, we awaken this Light for ourselves and the world.

The Ramban explains that the type of life that each person can draw is dependent on where his consciousness is and whether or not he is doing the spiritual work; there are numerous ways that one can draw Light from their spiritual work, and no two people’s lives, he says, are the same. The life that each one of us draws is unique depending on how we do our work and how we are connected to the Light of the Creator. The Ramban says that those whose spiritual work and focus is only about connecting to the Light of the Creator can, and are meant to, achieve this complete unification with the Light of the Creator, as Nadab and Avihu achieved.

Throughout the Torah, the Creator speaks about how when you do certain things you can achieve life. What this means is that every person, depending on his spiritual work and focus of his spiritual work, can achieve certain levels of life. And, ultimately, what is revealed on the Shabbat of Acharei Mot is that we are meant to come to the level where our body and soul remain together forever because we have achieved completedevekut, complete unification, with the Light of the Creator.

The Ramban reveals to us that this Shabbat is not solely about devekut or the power of bringing down into this world an element of removal of death, but that ultimately it is the Shabbat where we are meant to - and can - achieve physical immortality. It means that we can, and are meant to, come to a point where we achieve complete unification of our body and soul in the Light of the Creator. When that level is achieved, we achieve eternal life.

So, on this Shabbat, we know we have the assistance of Nadab and Avihu, and the assistance of the Ramban. But we also have the assistance of the Noam Elimelech, Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk. The Noam Elimelech asks what do the words Acharei mot, “after the death,” mean? He says they mean that a righteous person has decided to finish off death. When the Noam Elimelech refers to a righteous person, he is also referring to all of us—we, too, have the power to be “after death,” meaning to annul, to finish off, death. When we finish a certain process, for instance, like taking a test, we feel that the test is then behind us. The Noam Elimelech explains that “after death” means, like the test example, that the level of death is now behind us.

Therefore, we learn that Acharei Mot is not a sad story about the death of the two sons of Aaron, but rather it is the Shabbat when our ability to be past death is revealed. And how do we achieve this level of “after death,” this level of devekut, of unification and closeness to the Light of the Creator? It is simple. Through our elevation in the Supernal Worlds on this Shabbat.

The Zohar says that the students of Rav Shimon bar Yochai were filled with so much joy when they came to this Shabbat, because it is the Shabbat when the level of being past death is revealed to us and to the world. This is a Shabbat of overwhelming Light, overwhelming joy, and overwhelming love; as such, we have a tremendous responsibility to reawaken the secret of Acharei Mot and bring this consciousness of being past death to the world.

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