Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:March 12, 2014
There are more than a hundred verses in this week’s portion, yet usually when we study it, we only get to the first sentence - zot torat ha’olah, which means this is the secret, or the teaching, of the sacrifice. And then it repeats, hiv ha’olah, this is the sacrifice. Just grammatically, if you look at the structure of that sentence it’s very strange; there’s a seemingly unnecessary repetition. Why?
The Midrash uses a parable to explain it.
There was a king walking in the desert. One of his friends came to him and gave him figs and a bottle of wine, to which the king responded, “You’ve given me a box of figs and a bottle of wine? I’m the king. Is this the type of gift you give a king?” The friend said, “Right now you’re traveling, so this is the type of gift I can give you while you’re traveling. But when you get back to the palace, I’ll be able to bring you much larger gifts, the gifts that I really want to bring you.”
So, let’s understand the parable. The king asks his friend “is this all you’re going to offer me, the king?” The friend says, essentially, that while the king is traveling it makes sense to just give him a little gift, but when they get back to the palace the friend can then bring him all the gifts that he wants to give him. And that is also the secret of this Shabbat; it is a new understanding of the words zot torat ha’olah. Here, the Creator, like the king in the parable, is speaking to each one of us, asking if what we’re doing, what we’re offering, is all we are going to push ourselves to reveal. Therefore, hiv ha’olah is actually a question: This all the spiritual work you’re offering? This is it?
The answer to that question, for now, is yes. Because currently, from the place of limited consciousness that we are in, what we are doing, all the offering, all the work, is all we can do. Compared to what we need to be doing, these actions are limited, and like in the parable when the friend tells the king he will bring him more gifts later, we are saying to the Light that later - when pain and suffering is finally removed from our world - we’ll show You our true potential. And then we will bring the true gifts and true spiritual work.
The kabbalists explain that all the work we do has to be facing the Light of the Creator. Which means that in even the smallest action, we must be saying that the purpose of this action – of sharing, of connection, of study - is to bring about the totality of the Light of the Creator in this world. And if that’s the consciousness, no matter how small or insignificant the action, it reveals great Light. That same action, done without this desire, without this consciousness, reveals very little Light.
If our consciousness first and foremost is that we know that we can do a lot more, and we want to do a lot more, but this is what we’re able to do right now, and secondly that we are desiring that our small actions bring about the complete revelation of the Light of the Creator in this world, then that action reveals great Light, no matter how small and insignificant it might be; because the Light and the power of any action is not dependent on the size or quality of the action, but on the consciousness behind it.
Therefore, the consciousness has to be two-fold. On the one hand, we have to be clear that yes, compared to our true potential, it’s a very small action. We have to say to the Creator, “I know I am still confined by the illusion of this world, I’m confined by the consciousness of this world, but that’s where I am right now.” On the other hand is what the kabbalists call facing towards the totality of the Light of the Creator, meaning that we desire that the action we are doing bring another speck of Light into this world.
There are no great actions or small actions; there are only actions with consciousness and actions without consciousness. That is all. The over-riding thought of this week, the over-riding Light of this week, is a true and deep shift in our consciousness, and a constant true and deep maintaining of this consciousness. And it’s an amazing thing, because we are all trying to do actions of sharing, we are all trying to grow, to bring more Light into our lives and into the world, but we don’t appreciate how magnified all of our small actions would be if we were constantly pushing to grow with our certainty, with our consciousness, with this connection to the ultimate Light so that even the smallest, most mundane action reveals an endless amount of Light.
This week, this Shabbat, may we all merit to truly not only make that shift of consciousness, but to also maintain it, to burn up all the doubts and negative thoughts so that we are able to maintain and grow the consciousness of the Creator. Only then can we constantly draw Light into our lives. Only then are we able to be a conduit for the complete revelation of the Light of the Creator in this world, and the ultimate removal of pain, suffering, and death from our world. If we’re able to maintain those two aspects of consciousness in every action that we do, there is no small action, for it will reveal great Light, bringing both ourselves and this world one great step closer towards the End of the Correction, the Gemar HaTikun.