Topic: Well Being | Posted:April 6, 2016
The portion Tazria talks about leprosy, which is really just a way of understanding all disease, negativity, and darkness that comes to a person. And there is a section from the Ari (Rav Isaac Luria) that I think gives us a true understanding of what Light is available this week. In fact, when you look at the teachings of many kabbalists concerning this portion, we see that in this week is the seed from which disease and problems stem, and therefore, can be solved. As such, it's important to go to the root, which is an understanding called tzaraath, this concept is called leprosy, or the source of all negativity.
The Ari tells us a very important secret. He speaks about the way the Light comes down into our world, which, to give a very general, basic explanation, is as such: there is the level of Zeir Anpin, which is the male aspect, and there is Malchut, the female aspect. There are certain historical figures who were the chariots, the conduits, for these levels. Jacob is considered to be the chariot for Zeir Anpin, and his two wives, Rachel and Leah are considered the chariots for the Light of Malchut. The Light flows through Zeir Anpin, and is manifested through Malchut. But while the Light flows through Zeir Anpin, it really comes from what we call Chochmah and Binah, or Supernal Father and Supernal Mother. And the Light that’s called the Chassidim, which comes from Binah, has to come with the Light from Chochmah as well, otherwise the Light won't be protected.
We are on the level of Malchut; we are who manifest the Light of the Creator. The Light called Zeir Anpin is manifested in the two realms which are called Rachel and Leah. That's how the Light flows down, but the Light itself has to come from both Chochmah and Binah, because the Light itself is the Chassidim that comes from Binah, and has to be enclosed with a layer of protection from Chochmah. So, the Ari says the Light that is manifest in our world only becomes manifest when the Light of Chochmah also comes with it.
Why do we have to make sure that no Light is ever manifested without the infusion of the Light from our Supernal Father, Chochmah? Because, if Light comes down into our lives and it is not protected, then we might feel it for a second or we might have it for a moment, but almost immediately, the Negative Side will find a way to take it away. And then not only do we not have the Light or blessings, but also, now the Negative Side is even stronger in its ability to do damage to us.
Therefore, we never want Light and blessings to be manifest if they do not have this Light from Chochmah that is surrounding and protecting it, because as the Ari says, it is only that Light from Chochmah that pushes away all forces of negativity from our blessings. As such, it is clear that having blessings is not enough; we need to have protected blessings. And the only way to have protected blessings is to have them come in this shell of protection called Chochmah. It is this Light from Chochmah that pushes away all forces of negativity so that they don't have the ability to take the Light of Binah over to their side; and that's really all the Negative Side wants to do - take this Light from Binah, which is the source of all blessings. Therefore, we always have to make sure the Light of Chochmah comes with every blessing and is the protective shield ensuring that all negative forces detach themselves from our blessings.
When, for whatever reason, like a lack of spiritual growth or spiritual connection, or because of the negative things that a person does, he does not have the ability to draw that protective Light of Chochmah, then instead of the Light that is meant to manifest, the three types of what's called leprosy, or what would be viewed as negativity, darkness, or disease manifest. And when a person is unable to draw down the protective Light of Chochmah, whether because of something negative that he or she has done or because of a lack of Light, then rather than blessings or fulfillment being revealed, these three levels of leprosy, these three levels of negativity, are revealed.
So, now we hopefully have a bit of a deeper understanding of what causes negativity, as is discussed in this portion. What is it that causes leprosy, or negativity? Light and blessings that are meant to come down, but for whatever reason, either because of something negative the individual has done or because of lack of Light that he or she has drawn, that Light cannot be manifest because it doesn't have the protective shield of Chochmah; therefore, it manifests as leprosy, some form of negativity.
Here, the Ari now reveals the real secret, which is what the Zohar says concerning leprosy. Leprosy is translated in Aramaic by the Zohar as a “closed entity.” The Zohar says leprosy is a holy thing that comes from holiness and Light, pushes away the forces of negativity, and is a force of judgment from the side of holiness. Every day, the Creator sends down blessings and Light that are meant to manifest in our lives. But when a person is not pushing himself enough in his spiritual work, or if he is speaking, thinking, or acting in negative ways, he is not able to draw the protective Light from Chochmah. Therefore, in order to protect that blessing from being taken over by the Negative Side, the Creator sends this protective shield to hold back that Light from manifesting, and it is then experienced by the individual as leprosy, as something negative… but it's not. It is, as the Zohar says, holy, elevated, and positive. In fact, if we were able to see how much pent-up Light and blessings surround us, we would not allow ourselves to behave in the ways that we do.
The force that holds the Light and blessings back is actually a positive force, protecting us and our un-manifested blessings, and is called tzaraath, leprosy. It is a tremendous amount of Light coming to our lives which we do not allow to manifest, because through our negative actions, we have not been able to draw the protective Light of Chochmah. Therefore, the Creator says, “Let me make sure that blessing does not manifest, so let's put a protective shield around it.” And our experience of that protective shield, which is Kedusha as the Ari calls it, holy and Light, is experienced as negativity. The Light doesn't go away and that blessing has already come to us, so it remains as a pent-up blessing, unable yet to be revealed, and we experience that pent-up blessing as a challenge, disease, and so forth.
So, what do we do? It says that the individual is brought to Aaron, the High Priest, which means that the individual has to change and do the work to open up to allow that blessing to be revealed. But it begins with the understanding we are talking about here. If an individual does not know that every challenge, difficulty, pain, and even disease that he is going through is simply pent-up Light that thankfully has not yet been allowed to be revealed because he has not drawn down that Light from Chochmah to be able to protect it, then he’ll never be able to manifest it. It begins with this awareness of what these things are, and then once we understand, we can ask ourselves in what ways we need to change and grow in order to allow that pent-up, held-back Light and blessing to be revealed. Because the Supernal Light that is imprisoned is the Supernal Light that has not been allowed to manifest in Zeir Anpin, and that is what causes the tzaraath, that is what causes the negativity.
Part of our work this week, therefore, is to begin knowing that there are literally endless amounts of pent-up blessings there for us, but that we are not allowing to be revealed. Every time a person acts in a way of selfishness, ego, or anger, and every time a person does not push him or herself to grow, change, or connect, that Light keeps flowing down, those blessings keep flowing down, but they have to be constricted and closed off. And what happens is that as there are more blessings which come down, and there are more blessings which are closed off, we experience them as tzaraath, as what the Torah calls leprosy.
So, at the core of the gift of this week is, first of all, the understanding that any experiences we already have of challenge or disease are not a negative thing; rather, they are, as the Ari says, Kedusha, from the Light of the Creator. They are a package of pent-up blessings, which thankfully is not being allowed to manifest in our lives yet because we do not have a capability to protect them. But once we know that, and we truly begin to change the way we behave and connect, then those blessings and pent-up Light can be opened.