Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:January 16, 2013
Previous to this week’s portion, the first seven Plagues - which represented the taking over of the lower seven Sefirot or lower seven levels of Negativity - were unleashed. This Shabbat we come to the Creator’s unleashing of the final three plagues, and as such, the removal of the stronger and more difficult to overcome top three levels, or first three Sefirot, of Negativity; they represent for us those aspects of our spiritual work and of our Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone that are much more difficult to transform.
The Zohar explains that the entire story of Moses, the Creator, and Pharaoh is not about historical events. It is actually referring to the battle that every single one of us has with the forces of darkness and the forces of negativity - which are called “Pharaoh.” It also explains to us that every one of the Plagues were actually processes to break down the forces of Negativity and exhume the Light that sustains them; and once we take out the Light that sustains them they no longer have the power to create darkness or negativity.
In the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon reveals to us that Moses was going through his own spiritual process and explains the reason behind the first word the Creator speaks in this week’s portion. The Parasha begins with a call from the Creator to Moses, to “Come to Pharaoh.” But logically, we would think that what the Creator should be saying to Moses is, “Go to Pharaoh,” right? The word that is used, “Bo,” which means “come,” signifies that the Creator is either going with Moses to Pharaoh, or that the Creator is calling Moses to come with Him to Pharaoh. So, why does it say “come to Pharaoh” as opposed to “go to Pharaoh?”
When we read the literal story in the Torah, we don’t have a true understanding of what’s happening spiritually behind the scenes. Moses had believed, up until this point, that with the assistance of the Light of the Creator, he had the power to win the battle against Pharaoh, and the power to win the battle for himself. He had believed that with the assistance of the Light of the Creator, he had the power to win the battle for all the Israelites at that time, against the forces of darkness, against the forces of chaos, against the forces of Negativity. As we study in Kabbalah, certainty is important. Having no doubt, having no fear is important. Moses was in that place; he had no fear. He had certainty that he had the power, with the assistance of the Light of the Creator, to fight against the forces of Negativity.
But, the Creator is not okay with that… He is not happy with that. As we will see.
The Creator comes and tells Moses, essentially, “You don’t understand what you are fighting against. You don’t understand the forces of darkness within you and within this world that you have to do battle with,” and the Creator, as Rabbi Shimon says, takes Moses “rooms within rooms,” to show him how powerful the forces he is trying to defeat are, showing him the tremendous source of the Pharaoh’s power and the root of the forces of darkness and Negativity.
Moses had not realized the truth of the battle he had in front of him, and once he is shown this vision of the enormous power that the Negative Side has, he becomes filled with fear. The Zohar says Moses becomes so fearful, he says, “I can’t do this. I can’t fight this battle. I’m too scared even to come close.” At the moment the Creator saw Moses become frightened, it says that is the moment the Creator comes in and says, ““I will do battle, I will defeat Pharaoh.”
Why? Because only the Creator has the power and the ability to do this battle and defeat the forces of Negativity. Nobody else. He’s teaching us that as long as we have this false certainty in ourselves, which is what most of us have, we actually stop the Light of the Creator from coming in and doing battle.
This gives us an important tool, if we take it, in our spiritual work. The only reason most of us believe that we have the ability to fight the battles against our own darkness, that we have the ability to transform ourselves and the world by ourselves, is because we have no true appreciation or knowledge of the forces we are fighting against. Like Moses, we have to come to a sense of how difficult the battle that we are trying to wage is.
We think we can do it by ourselves, or by ourselves with the assistance of the Light of the Creator, because we don’t really understand the battle that is in front of us. The problem is that the Creator is ready, at every moment, to come in and defeat all the darkness that comes up for us. But we don’t let Him, and as long as our consciousness is that of, “I can do it with the assistance of the Light of the Creator” – maybe we believe we can do it 60% and need the Creator 40%, or that we can do it 80% and need the Creator 20% - that stops the Light of the Creator from coming in and defeating the forces of Negativity.
So, one of the great gifts that we have to ask for and receive on this Shabbat is to come to a true realization that we can’t do it. We can do a little bit. We can do the small things. We can bring some Light into our lives. But the ultimate, the complete removal of the force of the source of darkness, of chaos in our lives and in this world, we can’t do. The moment we come to that point, as here with Moses, the Creator comes and does battle. For every single one of us the Light of the Creator is waiting. He wants to come in and fight the darkness. He wants to defeat all the sources of our chaos. But we don’t let Him, because our ego is so strong.
It was important for Moses to be shown that the certainty he thought he had was false, for only when he came to that realization could the totality of the Light of the Creator come in and defeat “Pharoah,” the forces of negativity. And therefore we, like Moses, have to come to the realization that we can’t do it by ourselves either. The ultimate battle, the ultimate fulfillment, the ultimate removal of pain, suffering and death, is impossible to achieve on our own, and one of the purposes of this week’s portion is to awaken that realization. In the moment we truly arrive at that understanding, only in that moment, can the Creator come with 100% totality of Light to fight the battles of Negativity.