Topic: Personal Transformation | Posted:September 10, 2014
Deuteronomy 26:16 begins with the words hayom hazeh, which mean “this day”, this day the Creator commands you to do these actions, the spiritual work.
However, historically, it’s not true that the commandments were given on this day when Moses is speaking to the Israelites in the portion of Ki Tavo. Yet, he makes a statement that on this day the Creator commands you to do the spiritual work. Why? What is the secret of the words hayom hazeh, “this day”?
Rashi, the great kabbalist and commentator, says that every day your spiritual work should be brand new in your eyes, and it should be like you are hearing about it each day for the first time. Therefore, Rashi explains that when Moses tells the Israelites that this day they are commanded to do the spiritual work, he’s giving them spiritual insight about how their work should be done - that every day your work should be as if it’s the first time you are doing it. Everything you study is as if it’s the first time you are studying it. Every time you connect to the Zohar is as if it’s the first time you are connecting to it.
But there is a profound secret here.
We know that within everything, there is the Light of the Creator. Everything has what we’ll call the inner Light that gets injected every day with new Light. But around it, there is a shell. And the shell gets old. Spiritual work, for example, gets less interesting as time goes on because of the shell. However, the internal Light that is re-injected there every single day by the Creator is more exciting today than it was yesterday.
The grandson of the Bal Shem Tov, the Degel Machaneh Efraim, quotes from his grandfather explaining the verse that says al tashlicheni le’et zikna, which means “don’t forsake me as I get older.” The Bal Shem Tov explains that it is like a prayer to the Creator not to let our work, our life, become old.
So, what does that mean?
If we understand that literally in everything – in the prayers that we pray, the Zohar we connect to, the actions of sharing that we do, and in physical things, like our marriage, work, and so forth, in every single one of those things every day, there is given a renewed Light. And whichever part of that reality we connect to is what our experience will be.
When we wake up in the morning and are not excited to make our morning connections, it means one thing: that we are connected to the klipah, the shell, and not the internal Light… because if you are connecting to the internal Light, you are excited. Because that’s what that Light is about; it’s new. It has never been experienced by you or anybody else ever before. If you are not excited, it’s because you are connecting to the shell and not to the internal Light.
For example, one can safely say – unfortunately - that with regards to marriage, the excitement one feels in it usually becomes less and less. Why? Because those people are connected to the shell around the marriage. However, within the marriage, every day there is new Light being given by the Creator, and if you are able to pierce the shell and connect to that new Light, you can be more excited by year thirty of marriage than you were in day one. And it’s true about every action that we take, both physically and spiritually.
Therefore, this is the understanding: in everything, there is a newness and invigorating excitement injected into it every day - which is the Light of the Creator - but there’s a shell around it.
It says ki hineh hachochech yechaseh eretz, which means darkness covers the earth; the negative actions that we do cover up and strengthen the shell that is around everything, making it much more difficult for us to pierce that shell and connect to the internal Light and excitement that is within every action.
So, again, in everything that we do there is new Light, there is excitement in potential. Usually, however, we are connecting to the shell around it and not to the internal Light. And therefore, we don’t feel that excitement, we don’t connect to that excitement.
But we need to understand that we have the power to connect to that new Light and excitement. It’s not only that we need to know it’s there. How do we connect to it?
First is consciousness. Do you really understand that when you open up the Zohar there is new Light being injected into the word that you are about to read? You have a choice: you will either connect to the shell (the proof of which will be the lack of excitement you feel), or you will connect to the new Light that is being injected into those words (the proof of which will be the excitement you feel when you read them).
Using the marriage example, you have the choice, every day, to know that there is a gift of Light being given by the Creator into your marriage that you have never before experienced. And if you sensed it, you would be more excited today in your marriage than ever before. You have the choice to know it’s there and to break through the shell that’s covering it up. Every negative action that we do either builds or strengthens those shells around everything in our lives and covers that internal Light, while every positive action that we do removes part of that shell we have created.
It’s important that we realize these two things: first, that in everything, every action, there is this gift of new internal, invigorating Light. Second, that it is within our power, at any moment, to pierce that shell and get that new Light. It is that consciousness and awareness which begins the process of enabling us to connect to the internal Light.
One of the great gifts that is given to us on this Shabbat is meriting both the understanding of and the connection to hayom hazeh, to “this day,” to the renewed Light and vigor that is given. Hayom hazeh, the purpose of the spiritual work is to pierce through the shell and connect to the new Light that is being given there.