Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:December 31, 2014
This portion is called Vayechi, which literally means “and he lived,” referring specifically to the life of Jacob during the 17 years he was in Egypt. And it really is a discussion of Jacob’s preparation in leaving this world. He knows he’s not going to stay in this world much longer, and it says he tells his sons, “Gather around me and I will say to you what is going to happen to you at the End of Days, Acharit Hayamim.” If you read the verse literally, it means that Jacob is telling his children, and telling us, what the process is that each one of us has to go through - and that the world has to go through - in order to achieve what’s called the “Final Correction.”
But the Zohar says that those words, Acharit Hayamim, “End of Days,” really hold within them a secret that follows us our entire lives; a secret that’s important to understand. In the section of Ki Tisa, the Zohar speaks about this secret by using a parable of a king with his son, the prince, who keeps falling time and again. And, of course, we are that prince, that individual who keeps falling. The Zohar says, what happens when an individual continues to fall, continues to act in ways of selfishness? The king, or the Creator, removes that individual from being close to the king, from being close and connected to the Light of the Creator. But, he doesn’t send him off alone. He sends the mother, the queen, to be with the son. And from there on, the mother and the son, the queen and the prince, will endure any difficulty, any hardship, any pain that comes from the actions of the prince together.
The Zohar is teaching us that whenever the combination of the words Acharit Hayamim, meaning “End of Days,” appears, it is referring not simply to a time in history, but more importantly to the secret of the Shechinah. Because of our individual negative actions, our mother, our supernal protector, what’s called the Shechinah, is sent away with us.
It’s important to understand how this process works, and how this system is set up. We know the law of cause and effect, and every single one of us, through our actions of selfishness and negativity from this incarnation and previous incarnations, draws upon ourselves all kinds of separation and darkness that has to then manifest in our lives. But the reality is that not all of the darkness, negativity, or separation that we have awakened is actually allowed to manifest in our lives. Every single one of us has an aspect of the Shechinah, of our supernal mother, who surrounds us and always makes sure that no matter what we’ve done, no matter what darkness or negativity we have deservingly awakened, we never receive more than we can handle - and sometimes even less than that - to come into our lives. Therefore, the secret of what Jacob reveals to his sons is that our supernal protector, our Shechinah, stops any amount of negativity from coming into our lives that we can’t handle.
This is good and bad. The good news is that our Shechinah will never allow negativity to come into our lives that we can’t handle. However, it’s bad news in the sense that because we never completely experience the negativity that we have awakened, we often don’t have a strong enough push and desire to change it.
So, what do we do? First, we understand this idea that Jacob reveals to us this Shabbat, the concept called Acharit Hayamim, which is the secret of our own personal Shechinah. It means that everywhere we go and every experience that we have, especially the negative ones, we experience maybe 10% of it and the Shechinah experiences the other 90%. The Shechinah stops the totality of our negativity from manifesting in our lives. But that negativity, that pain has to go somewhere. Where does it go? Our supernal protector takes it in and experiences that pain until the time we go through our work of transformation and purification, and remove it completely. As such, it’s important that we elevate our consciousness to truly understand how much pain our protector, our Shechinah, is going through.
As we sit comfortably feeling that everything is ok, everything isn’t ok. Our Shechinah, our own personal protector, is in pain from our actions. Because of our individual and collective negativity and actions of selfishness, our Shechinah experiences this pain. Don’t be fooled by any comfort or good feeling you have, because the only reason you are not experiencing the totality of your own actions is because of Acharit Hayamim; our supernal mother surrounds us and does not allow for any of that darkness in its totality to manifest in our lives. And it is crucial that that truth, that reality, not hold us back from changing, purifying, and growing as much as we need to.
One of the most important teachings that Jacob gives over to us before he leaves this world is, “Know that you are never alone. Know that you have this protective shield of what’s called the Shechinah around you.” And really, all of us should on this Shabbat begin to know this. To know that the only reason we are not feeling the complete effect of our negativity is because the Shechinah, our supernal mother and protector, is experiencing it for us. To know that the reason we can sit here comfortably and experience a certain amount of pain but not the totality of the darkness that we have awakened is not because it doesn’t exist. It is because we have this energy called the Shechinah that is willing to take that pain upon Herself until we decide that we want to change. Until we decide that we desire enough to transform, to remove that negativity and darkness from ourselves.