Topic: Consciousness | Posted:June 26, 2013
This week’s portion, Pinchas, is a very significant one. There are many, many teachings surrounding it, and certainly, as we have discussed in the past, one of them is of healing. But as I was studying the different writings of the kabbalists this week, I came to the realization that there is really one overriding, important consciousness – and therefore, gift - that we receive on this Shabbat. It can be encapsulated in a concept known as Gilui Eliyahu, the revelation of Elijah the Prophet.
The kabbalists teach that a person cannot accomplish the purpose for which they came to this world unless they merit this revelation of Elijah; and the kabbalists teach that in this week’s portion, the soul of Pinchas is awakened and becomes the soul of the prophet Elijah. So this Shabbat is about attaining, or at least beginning to attain, this level of revelation of Elijah the Prophet.
The reading begins with the words Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon hakohen, which means “Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest, the High Priest,” heshiv et-chamati me’al bnei Yisrael, “removed the judgment from the Israelites at this time in the desert.” Pinchas came to a point where he was willing to give up his life to be able to remove judgment; because he saw that there was death, darkness, and pain that was going to come rest on the Israelites.
Because of that complete giving over of himself, he succeeds in removing the judgment. And because of these actions, Pinchas receives the gift from the Creator to live forever. The great kabbalist Rav Yonathan ben Uziel, writes in his Aramaic translation of the Torah that the Creator says of Pinchas, “I will make him an angel that lives forever.” And even further, it is he, Pinchas, who will be the one who will come to announce the time of the end of pain, suffering, and death in our world - what is called the time of Mashiach or the End of the Correction, the Gemar HaTikun.
What this means is that without a connection to the soul of Pinchas, or Elijah the Prophet, no person, nor the world, can merit what’s called the End of the Correction.
If we focus on one thing this Shabbat it is to really awaken a true connection with the soul of Pinchas, with the soul of Elijah. Because now we understand it is necessary; it’s not just something that will help us. We cannot become the person we are meant to become without it, we cannot come to the End of the Correction without it.
So how do we awaken a connection to this great soul?
In Psalms, in Tehillim, King David speaks about the work of Elijah the Prophet. And he says, vaya’amod pinchas vayifalel, “Pinchas stood up, argued with the Creator, and then the negativity, the death, that was going to come was stopped.”
The kabbalists teach that Pinchas’ actions created a tumult in the Upper Worlds. The angels, when they saw the argument that he was having with the Creator, wanted to push him aside. But the Creator told the angels that he is a person who has the power to remove all judgment, and his removal of judgment will remain forever.
What was Pinchas doing that was so scary to the angels that they wanted to push him down? King David uses the words, vatechashev lo litzdaka ledor vador ad olam, which means that the action of Pinchas was an action of charity that will remain forever.
The word charity for most of us means giving to the poor, but this is not the type of charity he is talking about here.
The Israelites at the time were deserving of judgment; however, Pinchas chose not to pay attention to all the negative things that they are doing, but rather look deeper and see the goodness within them. Because no matter what they were doing in that moment, he knew they were still the Creator’s children. At their core, he knew their goodness and their soul, and that’s what he chose to connect to. Through this action, not only was he able to remove the judgment, but he was also able to awaken some love from the Creator to the Israelites.
So we understand that the action of Pinchas was the action of charity, but not charity to a person who doesn’t have food or shelter– instead, to a person who had no worthiness, who was deserving of judgment to come down upon him. And through instead focusing on their true essence, Pinchas was able to remove the judgment that came upon them.
Therefore, to answer the earlier question, we connect to this great soul through charity. But not charity as we think of it.
Every single one of us has people in our lives who we don’t believe deserve our time, our effort, or our gifts, for whatever reason – maybe they harmed us, maybe they’re not good, or maybe we think they’re not worthy. Those are the “poor” people that we have to give charity to; not poor in the literal sense, but poor in the sense that we don’t think we should give to them.
I think for many of us it’s probably easier to give $10 to a homeless person than to give ten minutes to somebody who we think is completely undeserving of our time. In fact, the Zohar says that before any judgment is about to come down on us, the Creator sends us a gift in order to give us the ability to remove judgment. And the gift is a poor person. So literally we think this means that when judgment is supposed to come down on us, a homeless man is going to come by and we’ll have to give him $20. But that’s not it; the gift that the Creator is sending us is not poor people monetarily, but the poor people we think are undeserving.
The essence of the great soul of Pinchas was that he was willing to give over his life to give charity; especially to those who don’t deserve. That is also the gift of the soul of Elijah. Every time we think, consciously or unconsciously, that we’re not going to share with this person or give to this person because he doesn’t deserve it, we are disconnecting ourselves from the soul of Elijah the Prophet. And every time we do give charity in this sense – when we find somebody we don’t think deserves our time, our effort, our wisdom, our gifts - and we give it to them anyways, we connect to the soul of Elijah the Prophet.
The kabbalists say that the End of the Correction cannot come until people give charity. And it doesn’t simply mean charity to the poor, it means giving to and sharing with all those people who we think are undeserving. It means looking at their true essence and knowing that they are a child of the Creator. That is what Pinchas did; he said, “I pay no heed to the actions they are doing now or to the negativity that they are awakening now, and I focus on their soul, on their goodness.” That is true charity.
And so through this, we come to understand that the Light of Mashiach, the Light of the Gemar HaTikun is in those people who are poor, in the people who we think are undeserving. When we give to this type of poor, we are removing judgment from ourselves and creating a connection to the soul of Elijah the Prophet.
There are a lot of secrets on this Shabbat. But of tremendous importance is that it’s the Shabbat of Gilui Eliyahu, the revelation of Elijah the Prophet. Every single one of us on this Shabbat can merit the revelation of the soul of Elijah the Prophet, and through the assistance of this soul, truly accomplish both the purpose for which we came to this world and the end to pain, suffering and death.