Topic: Consciousness | Posted:February 6, 2013
While last week’s portion was the Revelation at Sinai, this week’s portion is a discussion of what would seem to be very unspiritual, mundane laws. The Creator tells Moses, “These are the laws that you should put in front of them.” The first thing that is spoken about is regarding a person’s purchase of a slave. From the literal side, we know that thousands of years ago slavery was common. But still it doesn't make any sense that the first discussion after the Revelation at Sinai would begin with a concept of slavery.
As the kabbalists teach, when things don’t make sense in the Torah, that’s where the greatest secrets are. Therefore, the secret to this portion is a great revelation, and gives us a true comprehension of what Moses was really talking about.
In this portion a slave is referred to as a thief who is caught but cannot pay back what he stole, and as such becomes a slave to the person from whom he stole. The key here is in understanding the spiritual secret of stealing. When we speak about theft at its core, it is when a person believes that anything is his - his money, his belongings, his spiritual growth, his spiritual connection. When a person is of the consciousness that these things are mine, he is stealing. Why? Because the truth is that everything is from the Light. Nothing is ours.
If we are honest with ourselves, we will agree that most of our thoughts throughout the day are based upon this concept of mine. Why do we get upset? Why do we argue with other people? Because we think, “this is mine, you are trying to take it,” or, “you’re not treating what’s mine properly.” Almost every argument and every form of negativity that comes about in a person's life is based upon this concept of mine. And that is the stealing, the kabbalists teach, to which this week’s portion refers.
With this understanding, we now come to realize that we steal all the time. Most of our lives are based upon this theft, and it is the consciousness of mine that is, in fact, the source of all doubt and worry in our lives, because we are separating ourselves from the Creator. That theft in consciousness also steals our strength and power. The innate strength that every single one of us is meant to have is taken away from us when we separate ourselves from the Creator.
Now let’s try to understand what it means when it says that this thief, which is us, gets sold as a slave; we are the slaves that are sold every day. The secret of the sale that is referred to is the teaching that when we steal in our consciousness, we separate ourselves from the Creator, and we therefore cannot directly receive Light, sustenance, blessings from the Creator… because we have decided we are separate, and the Creator follows our direction. Therefore, there can be no direct funnel of Light, of abundance, of blessings from the Creator directly to us, and as such, we create the need for an intermediary.
Now, here is the great understanding: when it says in the Torah that the thief is sold as a slave to another individual it means that we, in deciding to be separate from the Creator, can no longer directly receive from the Creator, and so we create the need for there to be an intermediary that receives the blessings from the Creator and then gives to us. Practically speaking, it is the same as how healing has to come through a doctor, or assistance has to come through a lawyer. This then is a great secret of this week’s portion - how we first steal, and therefore create the necessity to be sold to somebody else as an intermediary to give us our sustenance and fill our needs.
It is important that we take the time before this Shabbat, and on this Shabbat, to think about how much of our life is based upon mine. We have to be clear that the theft in our consciousness makes it so that doubts and worries come in, so that our strength is diminished, and so that the Light of the Creator cannot come directly to us.
That is the secret of the sale of the slave. We are the slave. We are the thieves. We are the ones who daily make it so that we cannot receive the direct Light and blessings from the Creator. There is no way to go back to the perfected self unless we continually fight this consciousness. There can be no removal of pain, suffering, and death from our world, both individually and collectively, as long as we still hold on to mine.
How do we correct this mine consciousness? Most people think the answer would be to give up everything. But the kabbalists tell us it’s actually the opposite. It says in the Torah, when you become a slave you have to work for six years. The Zohar explains that there is a secret to why it says six years: Yesod, or Yosef. The Zohar reveals that kol, which means “everything,” is the code word for the spiritual level - or sefirot - of Yesod. The consciousness of Yesod is one of receiving everything. When you are able to say, not in words but in consciousness, “I know that none of this is mine, but I want everything in this world so that I can give it to others,” that is when you can have everything. It’s a paradox… you can only have everything when you have nothing.
And so when you are a slave to this consciousness of mine, as we all are, the Torah gives us the secret of how to correct it: become Yesod - the paradox that only by completely removing the concept of mine can a person can have it all, kol.
When our consciousness is that of nothing is mine, then we can come to the level of Yesod, like Joseph. Joseph came to control all the money in the world because he had the consciousness that nothing was his, and became the epitome of Yesod , the epitome of kol, everything. And that’s where we are meant to go. It’s not that with this consciousness we say, “nothing is mine and I don’t want anything.” Rather, we say, “nothing is mine, and therefore I will have everything.”
We did not come to this world simply to remove our spiritual theft, we came also to transform it through understanding that the purpose of everything we have is only as a way to give it to others. Then, and only then, can you have everything.
One of the secrets of Shabbat Mishpatim is to realize that we are thieves and slaves, and that as long as we remain with the mine consciousness, we will experience doubts and worries, loss of strength, and the inability to receive directly from the Creator. Yet, if we are able to work with the teachings here – to consistently break thoughts of mine and consistently desire to receive only so we can give – then, and only then, can we come to the level of Yesod and have everything.