Topic: Personal Transformation | Posted:February 10, 2016
The Midrash, in the portion Terumah, tells us that Moses was overwhelmed on this Shabbat. It says when the Creator said to Moses that the Israelites were to build Him a Tabernacle, Moses was all shaken up… how can man possibly make a place for the Creator? The Light of the Creator is so vast that you can’t limit It in a physical structure.
So when the Creator comes to Moses and tells him to go to the Israelites and tell them they should build a physical space for Him where he will come and rest, Moses said, but the Light is Endless and cannot be confined to a physical space. To which the Creator responds to Moses a statement which we really have to engrain in our minds – “I do not ask people to do the work with My strength, but only based on their strength.”
It’s a very important understanding. In the physical world, if two people are trying to get from point A to point B, they have to go the same distance; they can walk there, take a bike, or a car, but they still have to go the same distance. And I think many of us think that’s true also in our spiritual work, that it’s basically equal. If you want to be connected to the Light of the Creator, if you want to draw Light and blessings into your life, then everybody has to do the equal amount of work. But the truth is that’s completely not true. Every single person has to do completely different work. One person, using the same example, will have to go 5 miles, another person will have to go 1 mile, and another will have to go 10 feet. Every person, depending on where they are and who they are, has to do completely different work.
And it’s a different consciousness for us to have, because what the Negative Side tries to tell us is if we compare ourselves to somebody who is on a higher level than we are or to somebody who is doing more, then clearly they are revealing more Light than we are revealing. But, that’s completely not true. Because one person can reveal great Light in one action that somebody else, who has greater strength, will have to do ten actions of in order to reveal that same Light.
The Light of the Creator is not revealed based on any arbitrary or objective amount of work or energy that a person needs to invest, but only exactly on who we are. For instance, if you only have 20 minutes a day to read from the Zohar, but you put all your energy into those 20 minutes, then you will reveal as much Light as Rav Shimon bar Yochai revealed when he was in the cave for 24 hours. If that’s all your strength, you can reveal the same amount of Light in 20 minutes that Rav Shimon bar Yochai revealed in 24 hours.
The Ari tells us it’s something we should keep reminding ourselves: a small action in this generation is as great as the greatest action in a generation like Rav Shimon bar Yochai, or even in the generation of Moses. But the Negative Side doesn’t want us to know this. The Negative Side doesn’t want us to know that right now, wherever we are, whatever action we can do, will reveal as much Light as the greatest soul with the greatest action. It wants you to keep thinking that there are objective amounts of energy that we have to invest; otherwise we can’t receive all the great Light. But, no; we have to keep reminding ourselves that is not true.
And we see that even Moses had difficulty really taking this in. When the Creator said to Moses, they will bring sacrifices to feed the Light of the Creator, as it says in the Torah, to reveal Light, Moses says, what do You mean? How can they possibly feed the Light of the Creator? All the food in the world cannot sustain the Light of the Creator, burning up all the wood in the world can't be enough to bring the Light of the Creator. But the Creator told Moses it’s not like he thought; one sacrifice in the morning, one small animal in the morning, would bring all the Light of the Creator to all the Israelites in that entire day. Why? Because the work that we need to do does not need to be commensurate with the work of other spiritual people, of other spiritual giants. It needs to be done from where we are, right now. And that action we do will reveal as much Light as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in his greatest action.
Throughout this portion, everything the Creator says to Moses, Moses doesn’t understand. And the Creator keeps reminding him that it’s not like he thinks, which is that the Israelites have to do great work to receive great Light; the truth is that they just have to do whatever they can accomplish.
This is why it’s so difficult when you are talking spiritual matters, and even trying to give somebody advice about spiritual matters… because you're not that person. And you have no idea what action that person needs to do. Therefore, what we have to understand is that there are no objective actions a person has to take or a certain amount of energy that a person has to bring in.
The Negative Side wants us to think that our actions cannot reveal Light unless we're doing what Rav Shimon bar Yochai did, what Moses did, what Rav Ashlag did. But, no. If you are, for instance, in a very low place, and you have no strength except to only read two words of Zohar, then those two words of Zohar will reveal as much Light as Rav Ashlag teaching Zohar for ten hours. Remember, again, what the Ari taught: the smallest action in our time is equal to the greatest action in the time of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, or in the time of the Ari. Do not let the Negative Side convince you otherwise. Wherever you are, whatever place you are in spiritually, whatever place you are in physically, any action that you can completely do right will then reveal as much Light, and therefore, blessings, as the greatest action of Rav Shimon bar Yochai, for yourself and others.
We do not need to invest as much energy as any other person in comparison; we just have to invest all of our own energy from the place where we are right now… and that will reveal as much Light as the greatest action by the greatest soul. It's a tremendous, invigorating, and, hopefully, inspiring understanding.