Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:March 4, 2015
The portion Ki Tisa begins, the Creator tells Moses, "When you elevate the head consciousness of the Israelites…" This Shabbat, therefore, is about elevating our consciousness from one level to another. What are these two levels, and why is it so important to be elevated?
It says that before Amelek came to the Israelites, the Israelites had doubt; literally, the verse says, "Is the Light of the Creator with us or not?" Even though the Israelites were in a place where they received so much and where the miracles were so clear to them, they still asked, “Where's the Light?”, and, as such, then became opened up to receive all kinds of negativity.
Rashi, the great kabbalist and commentator, explains that there are two types of certainty among spiritual people, and that it’s very important to understand and to realize how different they are and the consequence of each. For the first group of people, even those who have certainty, their only way of knowing, of connecting, to the Light of the Creator is when they receive. When they're not receiving blessings or sustenance, then the essence, the existence even, of the Light of the Creator leaves their consciousness. Their certainty is dependent upon receiving. In this place of consciousness, they have no ability to have certainty that the Light of the Creator will assist them. This state, which is the state that most people - even spiritual and connected people - exist in, is considered being connected to Zeir Anpin, which in Aramaic means "small face," or small consciousness.
The second level is the level we have to be striving towards. In this level, a person is connected to the Light of the Creator and sees the Light so clearly all of the time, and knows with certainty all of the time that everything - all sustenance, all blessings - only comes from the Light of the Creator. On this level, he is connecting to what is called "Ancient of Days,” or Atik Yomin.
Rav Ashlag says that these names, Zeir Anpin and “Ancient of Days," don't refer to the Creator, who never changes, but to the individual's level of connection and consciousness. If you are in the first group, which most people unfortunately are, then you are of that consciousness, and therefore, your Creator is Zeir Anpin, a small face. But when you have clarity all the time, and you see the Light of the Creator in all things, and know that it is only the Light of the Creator, then you are connected to the state that's called Atik Yomin, Ancient of Days. A person with the consciousness of Atik Yomin knows - not he'd like to know or he'd like to have certainty – but, he truly knows that the Light of the Creator can create miracles at any moment, even in a place of great danger.
We learn that the consciousness we have actually influences what type of Light and miracles we receive. It says in the Talmud, “Even if a person has a knife at his throat, he should not stop himself from receiving mercy.” It's a very interesting statement. Even if a knife is at a person's throat, meaning he's about to die, he should not stop the mercy of the Light of the Creator from being revealed to him, because the Light of the Creator is merciful, is always giving and capable of creating miracles. There is no place where the Light of the Creator doesn't exist; yet, if an individual does not have that certainty and that clarity, then he stops the miracle from happening. From this we learn that it is therefore lack of certainty that actually stops miracles from happening.
This is so important to understand; you can only draw from where you're connected. You cannot be living all of your life in the realm of Zeir Anpin, which is where your certainty is dependent on receiving, and think you're going to draw a miracle from Atik Yomin, from a higher state. It doesn't work that way. You can only draw from the level to which you are connected.
As such, it is a great danger where most of us are, in the first group, where the certainty is dependent on what occurs externally. Because then we are only connected to the realm of Zeir Anpin, the level where the Light of the Creator is diminished, and where we are stopping the miracles. This means that every single one of us, every single day, to the degree that we're still connected only to the realm of Zeir Anpin, to certainty that's dependent on receiving, is stopping miracles from happening.
Because where do miracles come from? Miracles come from an individual who is connected to the realm of Atik Yomin, that higher realm of certainty that is not dependent on being given at that time, or being in a state where receiving is even possible. You have to remember this phrase: Where your thoughts and consciousness are is where you draw from. And miracles do not come from the realm of Zeir Anpin. Miracles come from the higher realm of Atik Yomin, the Ancient of Days. But in order to be able to draw those, you have to be living in that realm.
Remember - you can only draw from where you are connected. And if you're connected to certainty that is small, what's called Zeir Anpin, then you can only draw from there. But if you're connected to unlimited certainty, you draw from the place of unlimited miracles. It's a beautiful and powerful teaching.
Therefore, with regards to going back to where we started - when the Israelites fell and they asked, " Is the Creator with us or not?" the Zohar says what they were really asking was, "Where is our consciousness?” Is it Zeir Anpin, limited consciousness, limited and dependent certainty? Or is it the certainty of Atik Yomin? And only if you are constantly of the consciousness of limitless certainty of Atik Yomin are you are removed from the negativity, the possible darkness of this world. This is what Moses gives us on this Shabbat.
On this Shabbat, Moses elevates us, lifts up our head, our consciousness, from the place of Zeir Anpin and connects our certainty to Atik Yomin, where no negativity can touch us. He elevates us from the low state of limited and dependent certainty to the state of limitless certainty, certainty that is not dependent upon anything. Truthfully, this teaching is so beautiful that even if nobody understands it, I'm excited to have brought it into this world. But I hope that we all take the power and gift that is given to us by Moses on this Shabbat, and not only hold on to it, but continue to do the work to hold on to it, not just for this week, but for our entire lives.