Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:January 28, 2015
This week is a very important Shabbat; it is what in the Kabbalah Centres we call the Shabbat of the 72 Names of God. However, it says that the kabbalists called this Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of the Song. Quite a few major things occurred on this Shabbat: the revelation of the 72 Names, the great miracle of the Splitting of the Sea, the song the Israelites sing after the Splitting of the Sea, the manna, the fight with Amalek, or doubt and negativity. Out of those, it seems like the least important would be the song; but, that’s what the kabbalists chose to call this Shabbat. Why?
The Rav always explained that there are two realities everywhere all the time. There is the reality of the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil, which is, unfortunately, where most of us reside. In that reality, sometimes we experience good things, and sometimes we experience bad things. But in the exact same moment, there's also another level, the true reality, called Etz Chaim, the Tree of Life. The true reality is that there is only good. We, with our diminished consciousness, still live within the realm of Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil, and only see that world.
Ultimately, the purpose of the work that we do is to bring the world to the real consciousness, the Tree of Life consciousness. The work that we do, the spiritual elevation that we hope to achieve, is in order to bring us to that consciousness. If we were able today to look at this world and see only goodness, that would be the end, it would be the Gemar HaTikun. But because we are still judgmental, because we are not able to penetrate the veil of darkness of the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil, we don’t see the reality of Etz Chaim.
So the purpose of our work, actually, is not to become spiritual people. It is not really to do anything except enable us to have the Tree of Life consciousness, the consciousness that everything is good. All the work that we do, all the connections that we make, are only to prepare us to be able to have that consciousness.
And that consciousness is called Shira, song. Of course this song does not refer to simply a nice song. It represents unity; it says in the Midrash that when the Israelites sang at the sea, the words that came out were not from their own mind. At that moment, all of nature was unified as one in this consciousness. Therefore, the revelation of the 72 Names of God, the great miracle of the Splitting of the Sea, was not what was important. The revelation of the 72 Names and the Splitting of the Sea happened in order to enable them to have the consciousness of Etz Chaim.
Think about that for a moment: the only reason the 72 Names were revealed to Moses, the only reason the Splitting of the Sea occurred, was to bring the Israelites to the Tree of Life consciousness.
It says in the Midrash that in the song, the Israelites said Hashem Yimloch, ”the Creator will reign,” but that if they had said Hashem Melech, which means that this consciousness can now stay forever, it would have all ended there. What does this mean? The 72 Names were revealed to them, the Splitting of the Sea occurred for them, and they elevated to the point where they said, “I can look at this world and have the consciousness of Etz Chaim. I believe within myself that I can see only goodness in this world.” But even at that point they still didn't believe that it could stay forever. And because they said Hashem Yimloch – meaning, this is amazing, we see what it's going to be like in the end – but yet they didn't believe that they could bring the end right then, it didn't stay forever.
So, the first understanding is that this is why the kabbalists called this Shabbat Shira; because the purpose of this Shabbat is that consciousness. There is no other Shabbat of the year where the consciousness –not the work towards the consciousness, but the consciousness itself - of Bilah HaMavet LaNetzach, the Removal of Death Forever, is revealed. The consciousness of Shira, the unity of the world, was only revealed on this Shabbat. The consciousness of Etz Chaim was only revealed on this Shabbat. Therefore, the gift of this Shabbat is to connect to that consciousness, and, as such, it's one of the Shabbats that you can't really talk about, you can't really explain, it's a Shabbat you have to experience.
The Zohar, in this portion, makes it clear to be very careful in your speech; even in your spiritual speech and your spiritual work, because this is a Shabbat to be quiet. Just as the Israelites did it then, on this Shabbat, every single one of us can experience Etz Chaim consciousness. It is not something to be understood, explained, or that can be attained through our prayers and study. If we are quiet, as the Zohar says, then we can actually experience this tremendous gift which is not given on any other Shabbat. Every single one of us, on this Shabbat, can at least taste the Tree of Life consciousness.
But we have to also believe that we can connect to it. It says in the Midrash, and Rashi quotes it, that after the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea, the Israelites awakened a desire within their heart to say the song. This means that after that tremendous miracle, they had a choice to make: do we believe in ourselves to attain Etz Chaim consciousness? They could have said no. They could have been thankful to the Creator for the miracle and stopped there. But they didn't, because they believed that they could attain that consciousness, because they believed they could attain that level of Shira. And, therefore, they revealed it for themselves.
So it’s very important that besides having an understanding of what this gift on Shabbat is, we need to also believe in ourselves that we can achieve it. Because you can have the opportunity to be thankful after a miracle, but Shira doesn't represent giving thanks. It represents the next step where they said, “I believe that I can bring myself- right now - to connect to the Shira, to really connect to Etz Chaim consciousness.” And because they believed that they could, they awakened that Light for themselves and for the world. They opened up the doorway for the Final Redemption.
It’s an unbelievable opportunity this Shabbat; the gates of the Tree of Life are opened up. We can’t talk about it, we can’t even think about it…we have to connect to it. It’s a Shabbat of I don’t know if the word is emotion, or a feeling, but it’s there, and we have to really believe that we can do it on our own. On this Shabbat, we have to accept, as the Israelites did, that we can elevate ourselves and the rest of the world to that level.
We learn, and it says in the Midrash, that the purpose of Mashiach and the purpose of our generation is to elevate ourselves and the world. This is the Shabbat, Shabbat Shira, the portion of Beshalach, where we make that choice. This is the Shabbat of elevation of consciousness for ourselves and for the world. It is an unbelievable opportunity that I hope we can all truly grab.