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The Powerful Effects We Have On Our Spiritual Community

Topic: Well Being | Posted:August 17, 2016

It's important to realize, when coming to understand the different secrets the kabbalists reveal concerning the portion Va’etchanan, that it is not talking about Moses' need to physically go into what we know as the Land of Israel, but rather that he was asking for the state of connection to the Light of the Creator that's referred to as Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel. The geography was not important; what was important was that he felt there was this next level of Light that he wanted, but didn't receive.

The kabbalists teach there are 50 gates of understanding, and Moses received the 49th, but not the 50th. Therefore, we come to understand that this portion is about the desire Moses has to receive that 50th and ultimate level. The Torah tells us, however, that not only did Moses - it seems - not receive that elevation, but something negative happened, as well. It says, “God got angry at me and did not listen to me.” However, the Ari explains that the words translated as “The Creator was angry” hold within them a secret about what happens to an individual when those who are around him don't allow him to share.

One of the most important teachings of Rav Ashlag is that the only way we can develop is by having people around us, both who teach us and who we teach. He makes clear that the concept of having responsibility for each other is not simply a way for us to share, but that the only way for us to develop spiritually in the way that we're meant to is by living within a community that both pushes us to grow and also receives assistance from us in its growth. If not, we receive diminished Light.

In every individual’s spiritual growth, he goes through three stages which are compared to three stages of physical growth: when he is a baby in the womb, after he is born but not yet capable to manifest completely, and when he has attained a certain level of consciousness, and therefore, the ability to manifest. Everything as it becomes manifest in our world goes through these three stages; this is true certainly in the physical development of a person, but also in every stage of a person's spiritual development. However, in the spiritual state – unlike in a physical state - these three phases can go backwards or forwards.

Every soul has these three states, depending on the level of elevation of the generation. Depending on the vessels of the people who are in that generation, the Creator infuses within their leader wisdom, the ability to teach, and the ability to share. Therefore, what’s happening here, in reference to Moses, is that when the Israelites fell at the Golden Calf, because they no longer had the merit to receive Light and wisdom from Moses, Moses himself regressed to a lower spiritual state and lost the Light that he had before; he only had the Light that relates to the lowest of the three stages of growth. And he forgot many of the teachings and laws that he had received.

What we learn from this, and more importantly how it relates to us, is that our relationship both with those who give to us and those who receive from us is what influences how much Light and wisdom we have. So, if we do something that makes it so that we do not merit receiving wisdom or physical or spiritual sustenance, for instance, we make it so that those who are our givers also lose theirs. When we fall, we not only diminish our own Light, but those who give to us also lose their Light. And then it becomes like a snowball effect, as seems to be the case with Moses.

So we begin to understand the importance of this interrelation that we have with every single person. Everyone in our spiritual and physical surroundings is meant either to be giving to us or receiving from us. And when we fall or act in ways of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, we not only diminish our own Light, wisdom, and understanding, but we also cause all those who give to us to have a little bit less, as well.

Let’s say for instance - I'm choosing a physical example – that you're meant to receive money from somebody. If you act in a way that disconnects you from the Light of the Creator, then not only do you no longer have the merit to receive that money, but also the person who was meant to be the conduit for you to receive the money will lose a certain amount of his own money. And it's true not just about money, but also about wisdom, assistance, and so on.

So, first we have to accept and truly live what Rav Ashlag teaches, which is that we're meant to live within a spiritual community. We affect everyone in it, even those above us, meaning even those who are meant to give to us. And if they have diminished Light, then of course, we receive diminished Light, and that cycle continues. That's what happened here with Moses. Because the Israelites fell, Moses went into the lowest of the three states of growth, and he could no longer give to the Israelites; therefore, he could no longer enter into the Land of Israel. That's why Moses didn't enter. Not because of anything that he did, but because the Israelites robbed him of their Light. Had the Israelites not fallen, Moses would still be receiving endless Light and wisdom to be able to give to them.

Once the Israelites became unable to receive that Light of wisdom which was meant to come through the conduit of Moses, Moses could not enter into the Land of Israel. And really, in a very practical sense, the physical leaving of Moses from this world is because of that. Because the Israelites fell to such a place where they were no longer able to receive from Moses, Moses, as such, no longer had any purpose to remain in this world. Of course, this is a very extreme example of what can happen, but it's true that of every small fall we have, somebody in our spiritual system is being diminished by our fall, as well.

An important teaching we want to receive from Moses from this portion is to understand, as Rav Ashlag calls it, our responsibility. To understand that when we fall we not only rob ourselves, but we also rob those who are meant to receive from us, and, unfortunately, those who are meant to give to us.

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