I’m going to share different aspects of transcendence in my upcoming MMM sessions now. I’ve rediscovered that I’m a transcender, and this week I want to focus on timelessness, or transcending time.
Why now? In the Parshas, we see that Yaakov, Jacob, goes down to Egypt and said that he “began to live.” Our mystical Sages say, and also in the Talmud it’s written that Yaakov never died. He was timeless. He lived, and of course we know he died, because there are verses in Torah telling us so. But on another level there’s a part of Yaakov that never died.
It behooves us to explore that, because Yaakov is us and we are Yaakov. That’s what the patriarchs and matriarchs are all about. It’s not just a Bible story for us to enjoy quaint lessons from. In reality, they are inside of us and we have to understand that Yaakov never died because it affects our consciousness.
This is the direction I’m going in my MMM sessions – how to stay alive on many, many different levels. One of those levels is reached by understanding how to stay alive by transcending time.
Time is entropy. Time is death. Time ticks away, from a beginning to an end. When you get beyond time, there is no time. There is no end and no beginning.
So, that’s the direction I’m headed now. And we’ll start with an understanding of what time is. Time is basically rectification, Kabbalistically, in our present world right now we are in the world of time. We see G-d is running the world through a time-oriented facet.
As long as there’s more to fix, as long as we’re in this world to fix up unfinished business, it will be measured by time. Our concept of time becomes transcended to the extent that everything is Perfect AS-IS, and everything is whole as-is, and the direction we are headed.
To get to those places of timelessness, there are a lot of different possibilities. One of them is just to be aware, to be real and to embrace the idea of eternity; it’s the notion that what we do now will reverberate forever. It’s understanding that every thought, word and feeling we have now goes on forever.
When we relate to our thoughts, words and actions in that way, we step into timelessness. We relate to it daily.
Timelessness can be acquired by hooking up into our essence. When a musician hooks up into essence, you never get tired of their music. Whenever a great poet does it, contrasted to a great Biblical poet like King David, we see that King David’s psalms go on forever. His poetry has eternal, lasting value. That same psalm has been recited for the last 3000 years, and it never gets old. It will continue to be recited into the future as well. “The song remains the same…” as goes the song sung by Led Zeppelin. It never grows old.
We can measure our own creative works by measuring their timelessness, too. We are trying to create things that are timeless by connecting up to our essence. Any time we connect to essence we connect to G-d and to limitlessness. When we bring limitlessness into the realm of time, then time melts away. That’s when we are situated above time. As they say, time flies when you’re having a good time. When you’re having a good time you’re connecting to G-d and to endlessness. In many ways, it goes by in a flash.
Jacob was working for his bride, Rachel, whom he loved. Seven years passed in a way that showed time had no meaning at that time in history.
We need to find a way to disconnect with what we understand time to be in order to achieve timelessness. When we do that, we do it through G-dliness and through essence, and also through understanding the connectivity of everything. When something is measured by time it means you’re only seeing one, particular time zone, and not what happened before or is happening beyond this time zone.
To the extent that you think in a more wholistic way, beyond a particular time zone, then you are able to expand time. You can make time disappear.
That’s what I think the essence the mystical thinking about time is all about. It’s to go over time. We don’t really move in a linear way through time, we jump around. A timeline has no real relevance for us, not prior to or following after the present moment.
During a calendar year we revisit the same Parshas and the same holidays, in an elliptical way. We are not just going around in circles because we are going deeper and deeper each time around. We see new things we didn’t see before when revisiting the same places. That’s because, until we grasp all the gusto and all the essence available in a particular time zone we aren’t able to transcend its limitations. We can go beyond it once we experience its essence.
So, that’s who we are and what spiritual time is all about. We are moving from an era of humanity, of a time-oriented period, to an above-time-oriented period. We get a taste of this every Shabbat. Shabbat takes us to the place where we try to train ourselves to not think about time, or think about tomorrow. We have many laws, halachot, constraining us from thinking about what’s happened before and what will happen afterwards. It’s about being “here and now,” in the present.
That trains us to move from the time-boundedness of this world to the unboundedness of the next world.
This will be the MMM for Parsha Re’eh this week, and the topic is Integrating the Lower Self, or the Lower Soul. This is a topic that really interests me, because most people are completely ignorant of it and suffer as a result of their ignorance of it. They simply don’t know how to integrate their Lower Soul into their lives.
The Lower Self, Lower Soul or Animal Soul… which is not the same as the Evil Inclination, not at all… but it is part of us which often takes over to sabotage us at the wrong moment. It can impair us in a negative way, or it can empower us in a positive way.
The source of the Lower Soul in Kabbalistic works is called The Left Side of the Heart or The Animal Soul. It’s associated with the original mix-up with the Tree of Good and Evil. It’s associated with Esav, the twin brother of Yaakov, and the Esau/Esav energy of unharnessed chaos, in a way.
When properly processed however, this part of ourselves becomes a great point of life force and empowerment. We have to integrate it, and it’s dangerous stuff because we can easily take it too far.
In a conversation with a friend of mine who is a Hollywood script writer, we discovered that he does not refrain from talking about the dark parts of himself because it gives him the creative edge needed in his business. The more he does it, the more his works become brilliant.
To bring this idea back to the Jewish sources, it’s like this – King David, at the end of his life, could not physically maintain warmth. So, after searching the Land of Israel, the most beautiful girl was found, and she was hired to lie beside him to keep him warm.
The meaning of “not being warm” in King David’s expression was, “libieb chalal bekirei” which translates as, “my heart is void inside of me,” and means that he had no desire for lower-soul stuff any more. It means he was complete and had no need for it, so that caused the situation he experienced at the end of his life, his inability to literally and figuratively warm himself up.
The body heat and the spiritual heat that warms people up is that Lower Self, that Animal Self, that stuff that’s coming from the Left Side of the Heart. King David didn’t have it, toward the end of his life, and he needed help to get warm, literally.
Moses, at the age of 120, right before he died, was completely lucid. And he said, “I can no longer go in and come out anymore,” which means he didn’t experience ups and downs any more. That Lower Soul is responsible for knocking us down so we have to climb up and reach a higher place. Moses didn’t have that responsibility any longer. He was not no longer a warrior and he didn’t belong in this life anymore because he had completed the job.
So, that lower part of ourselves, that Animal Self, is actually the part that keeps the life force alive. So, what we need to do to get to that part, to connect with it, and there are several different ways to do that. One of the ways to connect with that part is to clean it, clear it, and purge it.
We need to give it a voice. People who do Transcendental Meditation say a non-sensical mantra so that the mind will “sweat out” all of these lower soul thoughts, so that they are not just repressed there. They get processed, and that’s what keeps them calm during the day.
Debbie Ford, one of the original new age writers, wrote about the dark side of ourselves in a book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. The wrote about what she called a “shadow world.” We have many parts inside of ourselves, character traits which are not flattering and we’d never want written on our tombstone. We’d never want to become famous for them or have them written on our CD.
We may be lazy or jealous or just looking for a good time. Those are just some examples, and what we have to do is find our own character traits and bring them to the surface, so that we can make a deal with them, we can say, “ok, I’ll let you be a part of my conscious world if you don’t mess me around too much, and if you don’t steer me wrong.”
When we do that, we are able to integrate. Then we generate and ignite those parts of ourselves that, if we didn’t allow them to come to the surface in a healthy, sane way, they would derail us. They would sabotage us, at all the wrong times and in all the wrong ways. So, that’s another way to get to them.
Yet another way to get to them is to know how to mix them, to mix the strong parts with the weak parts, the holy parts with the not-so-holy parts. We can learn to unify them in a way which is healthy.
One way to do that is to look into our mind, which is what the Baal Shem Tov used to do. When we’re involved in a holy space, such as prayer or learning or something like them, we need to look at the thoughts coming to us. There are a lot of lower-self thoughts coming to us, saying, “raise me up!”
Some people are encouraged to go around, because it’s too dangerous to deal with the thoughts. But another approach is to say, “take those things and elevate them, to put them in the service of G-d.”
Instead of wanting to strong-arm people, be a warrior for G-d. It’s that kind of a work that we do.
Even in time management, we can process these things. We can take the Higher Self, which is what we should do, and the Lower Self is what we would do if we could, and we blend those together. We take the woulds and the coulds and, and scoring them on a scale of 1 – 10, and then looking at the combination of them and making it our priority.
Whatever scores a 10 on the woulds and coulds in my life is the first thing I’m going to do. It’s the most important thing, and the ones scoring 9 and less, are less important to me.
We can look at these lower parts of ourselves and rather than completely focusing on them, we can look at the positive side and try to bring that out to be the dominant side. We can mesh them together to achieve harmony in our lives.
We can look at the Esav side of ourselves, this animal energy we have, and if we can possibly put it into proper vessels, then we have harnessed the animal energy for holy purposes.
There’s a lot more to talk about on this topic, but that’s it for now.
The MMM theme for the week of Parsha Eikev is connection. Here’s a list of the things I want to share in my connection-themed MMM:
- The whole concept of connection or connecting, in Kabbalistic literature, is the juxtaposition of two Sephirotic aspects, one of which is always the source of all activation, movement and vitality. Everything is either a connection or a disconnection. Connections in Kabbalah are called “chasadim,” and disconnections are referred to as “gevurot.”
These are the universal activators of life, opposite of each other. Chasadim connect, and they are associated with water, and gevurot disconnect, and they are associated with fire. Many more parallel aspects exist, but I won’t deal with them right now.
- Another source of connection is the unification of the broken vessels of the world. Right now, we are in a 45-day period of time, from Tisha B’Av until the 25th of Elul, the day commemorating the creation of the world. Forty-five is the Kabbalistic code name for Tikkun, or rectification.
Connecting, then, is rectifying. And disconnecting is breaking, which is the opposite of rectifying.
- A Messianic consciousness source for connecting can be seen by understanding that a human being is a microcosm, created in the image of G-d. A microcosm is a brilliant mechanism of connection, and interconnection. Man as a microcosm, or a small world, is connected with the past, the present and the future. We are connected with all people in the world, all consciousnesses of the world, and with all aspects of life, if we know how to press the right buttons to connect.
- A Garden of Eden source for connecting comes from the Fall from the Garden. While the Fall created disconnection and duality, such as light and dark, life and death, anything and it’s opposite. The connecting aspect, the way we get back into the Garden, is by getting into the oneness. This is what will happen when we get into the Messianic period.
- A Cycle of Life source for connecting comes from time, which does not exist in a vacuum, but in brilliant interconnections. For example, the weekdays are connected with the Sabbath, which is connected with the next weekdays. Rosh Hashana, the New Year, is connected to the whole year, in fact there’s an intimate connection. Our lives are connected to the post life; it’s all going to be reflected in that way. Our present life is connected to our past life and our future life as well.
These are Cycle of Life connections. The more we connect them, the more we can tap into the healing potential of making connections, which is what it’s all about.
- A Bashert source for connecting is available in our relationships. Bashert means “meant for each other,” and it comes from historical connections we’ve had with each other, root soul connections. When we discover those connections and actualize them, then we can live in a win-win relationship, or a bliss-bliss relationship where we are completely receptive to each other.
You could say we complete each other, we are each other’s soulmate or soul sibling, and we turn the “me” into a “we.” That’s the greater possibility for connecting in relationships.
- A Me/Myself source for connecting is often called, “finding your calling.” We find our calling in life with what we most resonate with when we’re “in the zone.” Or, we find the most difficult thing in our lives and endeavor to take care of it. We can project how we will take care of it by finding our inner voice and by going down a path towards actualizing ourselves. That’s what we call, “connecting to myself.”
- A Faith in G-d source for connecting is when we have faith and trust in G-d, and when we see G-d’s hand at work 24/7, in everything we do in life. It’s available by connecting our will to G-d’s will, with our entire heart and soul and might.
Here are my comments on events in the Parsha and on events in the calendar, as this is a big time of transition right now.
This week’s Parsha is Vayikra, and together with that we are moving into a new year of Creation, a new creation, basically. There’s a Spring creation and there’s also a Fall creation, which is Rosh Hashana and all those Holy Days.
The Spring creation is happening already, in two different ways. There’s a Creation time which began on the 25th of Adar, and there’s another new creation which begins on the 1st day of Nissan, next Tuesday. It’s a big day of transition, when we move out of the old and move into the new. So, I see the common denominator in all these creations as the act of receiving. We need to be receptive.
We are moving into a receiving period. Beginning now, for the next 72 days, until Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah, we are influenced by Chessed. 72 is the numerical value of Chessed. It represents the time zone we’re in right now and it also represents G-d giving us what we need, with us having to do anything about it.
I wrote a poem about receiving without effort – effortless receptivity. The only thing keeping us from living in that world, besides righteousness, because sometimes we fall off in that way, but the main thing is our inability to believe we deserve and can receive from G-d.
G-d is constantly telling us, so to speak, “I’m here to give you anything you want. You’re a child in a candy store, and it’s just a question of how much you want to receive.” So here are some of things to consider during these 72 days, especially as Nissan starts on Tuesday.
Nissan is the beginning of the new year that’s measured by months. The 12 months of the year begin with Nissan. In this Parsha we talk about Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of the new month. It’s really “the beginning of the beginnings,” or the power to know what we can do with beginnings in our lives. There’s opportunity in any kind of beginning, which gives us the ability to step into a whole new paradigm, a whole new reality.
So, this new beginning is a transition time, moving from the Winter to the Spring, from an old year to a new year, from a paradigm of hiddenness to one that is revealed. The order of the name of the month refers to the different orders of the four letters of the name of Hashem. The four letters are arranged as we see them in Torah only in the month of Nissan, this new month, which indicates that Divine Providence is there for us to receive.
In Nissan, we don’t have to fight to get past blocks in order to receive the energy. We are stepping up into that flow now. Nissan is like the father of the 12 months. The word for Spring in Hebrew is Aviv, which is also an acronym for “father” (Av) followed by Yud Bet (the 12 months of the year). The first 12 days of Nissan represent the months. Each day represents one month of the year.
For those who have the magnified, prophetic eyes to see and the ability to receive, it’s possible to know what’s going to happen in each of the upcoming 12 months of the year. Just like a father figure is somebody who conceives the rest of the family, the way he goes is the way the rest of the family will go, the month of Nissan has that power as well.
It’s also that time when we receive what we receive from above without having to receive it. That is, to some extent, what the holiday of Passover is all about. Pesach is not only commemorating but also reenacting, reliving G-d giving us an incredible amount of wellbeing. It’s mostly a question of, “Can we believe it so that we can receive it?”
If we can believe it and receive it, we get out of Egypt, even though we have to go through the counting of the Omer afterwards. “Easy come, easy go, “you might say of it, and we do have to put in the effort to get it back. But overall, it’s all about receiving.
It’s about receiving G-d’s bounty at all times, and it’s what Parsha Vayikra is all about. Understanding the sacrifices, the korbanot, requires a lot of explanation to understand. Most of the world would not think of sacrificing animals as spirituality, but in fact it is.
Korbanot is a play on the word “kiruv,” which is “getting close to G-d.” This idea needs a lot of explanation, hopefully next time I post.
But, the time zone we’re in right now is electric with potential for transforming our lives, and going through a transition time from dark to light, from Winter to Spring, from cold to warm. It is a beautiful, abundant, receptive time zone.
I’ll share a few ideas about Purim and then a few ideas about Parsha Tetsaveh, and I see a common denominator between them, which is finding extraordinary consciousness inside ourselves. It may sound familiar, even repetitious of the previous weeks’ posts, but I can’t help seeing it in parsha after parsha.
Purim is a very Holy, above-nature day, when we shift the way we see reality. You might say, we see that the root of nature is super-nature, or the super-natural. That’s what Purim is about, in general. It’s a day when we are able to overcome the deepest, most antagonistic, Amalek forces in our lives. Those are the forces shouting at us that we are not worthy, and everything is happenstance, causing doubts about ourselves and our connections to G-d. We are able to overcome all of that.
It’s a day when we walk into the mystery, the Ayin, the Nothingness, and we come out in a sort of alchemy. We transform into a whole new type of human being. Purim is a day we come to understand opposites, the diametric opposites of despairing, dark reality and the most beautiful, breath-taking salvation we can experience. We begin to understand it not only in the Purim story, but in our lives.
It’s a day when we can reach out our hands and we will be given whatever we desire, in terms of prayer and charity, for example. We have to hold back on this day and realize that G-d is running the whole show anyway.
Those are a few ideas Purim represents for us. We see that a week before Purim is the day that Moshe Rabeinu was born, and it’s also the day he passed away. Moshe represents so much for us; he represents the pinnacle of being human, of human prophesy, leadership and humility. He represents the whole Torah, so it’s a good time right now to study his words, the best we can.
Now let’s jump into Parsha Tetsaveh, which is also all about extraordinary consciousness. One thing we notice is the Eternal Light, which burned all the time in the Temple. (Remember, everything in the Temple is us. G-d said, “Make me a Tabernacle, and I will dwell inside of you.” He didn’t say, “inside of it,” but he said, “inside of you.” That means the Israelites themselves.)
Everything Torah teaches about the Tabernacle is really about what we have inside of us, so we have an eternal light within us, and we need to find that light because it never goes out. No matter what situations we face and how hopeless they may seem, there is the place of light inside, and the eternal light never goes out.
There’s a place inside us that’s called Urim v’ Tumim. The light on the breastplate of the High Priest, which was made of the letters representing the tribes, and which was used to answer the most important questions regarding the Israelite nation, lit up supernaturally to answer to provide answers. And we, too, can get answers to any questions we ask if we have the faith and trust inside us.
Parsha Tetsaveh also talks about the concept of holy clothes, meaning the clothing worn by the priests and the High Priest. We can think about this clothing as hiding and revealing something, both at the same time. In a deeper, mystical sense, clothes (levush in Hebrew) is the term which describes the way holy souls are housed inside of us. Our souls help draw down what we need to know and they help guide us on our way. That’s another extraordinary consciousness inside of us.
There is much more available. We have access to eternity, to clarity and to the highest possible light.
Take all this and have a wonderful Purim!
This is about Parsha Terumah. I found a common denominator (as I’m always searching for one that reflects personal growth opportunities) in Parsha Terumah, and it’s called The Lion In Me. In other words, My Inner Strengths. I found ways to reveal hidden, inner strengths inside of me and inside of everyone.
First of all, Parsha Terumah is my father’s yartzeit. And my father’s name was Yaakov Aryeh, which is Jacob the Lion, and I found my father in me, which is the lion in me. That’s sort of an esthetic, poetic part of the Parsha for me, but also a very real part of it, too.
Also, this is the beginning of the month of Adar, which brings Purim, and Purim is all about inner strength. We are usually not aware of our inner strength and Adar is a month of G-d hiding himself from us, so we find ourselves discovering and reviewing our inner strengths. That’s a big part of the mysterious month of Adar, which looks like the opposite but shows us that out of nowhere the good guy wins the battle in the end. This is also part of the Lion In Me.
As of this week, we have finished the last of the Shovavim period, which is a period of rectification of the spilled seed of Adam, a theme found in all the parshas of that period. We are rectifying and thereby reconnecting with our souls, and discovering inner strengths in that way. We are going to start the harvest of the six-week period we’re finishing up right now, and next week as well.
In Parsha Terumah, G-d talks about the Holy Temple in a very interesting way. He says, “I am going to dwell in them,” not “in it.” That means us, his people. The Holy Temple is inside of us, and those strengths need to be discovered inside ourselves. Once we have this perspective, it opens up a whole new way of seeing life.
So, everything that’s brought in this parsha reveals the inner, Holy Temple parts of us. For example, Betzalel, the one who physically created the Temple, had the ability to see the entire universe. He could see the creative ones and zeros of the universe-creation system, just as someone might see the creation of a computer system. He could see the roots of it all in a micro-cosmic way. We have access to this perspective, too, if we choose to plug into it.
In the Temple we have the Cherubim, standing on the Holy Ark, which is the Torah part of ourselves. The Cherubim represent the prophesy, and the place between them, as they face each other, is the place where all prophesy and all wisdom came from. It’s a very inter-included, transcendent place of inner strength inside of ourselves. It’s the focal point for the interface, from which all aspects of our world interface with the higher world.
That’s an incredible strength to rediscover inside of ourselves.
And we have the menorah, the candelabra made of pure gold, holding the burning candle stick which serves as a seat for the soul. The wick holds up the soul. It helps us find our soul and lights it up for us so we can feel it.
And we have the middle bar which holds together the whole construction of the sanctuary, the Temple, which extends from one end to the other. This parallels our will, our ratzon, which extends from the highest aspect of ourselves all the way down to the lowest. When we discover and reveal that ratzon, then nothing stands in our way.
We have an all-encompassing healing going on, which happens in the court surrounding the Tabernacle and in the Tabernacle itself, in the hangings and all they represented. The courtyard represents the body, which encompasses and surrounds the inner organs, as well as the all-encompassing, surrounding entities. So, we have the ability to rediscover and reveal the body/soul connection, and the body’s physicality inside ourselves.
There are also many more levels of inner strength that we can access and explore within ourselves.
This week is Parsha Mishpatim, and I discovered a common thread running through everything I gathered for it. It is a common thread regarding transcending mind noise, or in a positive expression, it’s mindfulness. It’s about transcending mind noise, and I’ll show how events in this Parsha fit into that category.
First of all, Parsha Mishpatim talks very directly about staying away from shekker, which means deceit or lies. Our Sages come up with all kinds of recipes and definitions of what that means in our lives, part of which are transcending the mind noise created by the actions and lies of others people toward us.
Another aspect this Parsha talks about is to not take bribes. Bribes create a mind noise which makes a person fail to see objectively any more, even a righteous person. We have to stay away from that mind noise, the Parsha tells us.
We have to stay away from the noise of doubt. When the people said, “We will do and we will hear,” they kicked doubt out of their mindset. That’s the most profound mind noise-ridding we have in the Parsha, because that got them back to the level of the Garden of Eden when they said, essentially, “Sight unseen, G-d, we’re jumping in and doing whatever you say!”
At that, the Israelites were blessed with zero mind noise, unlike all of us living in these not-yet-Garden of Eden times who are struggling constantly, in every situation. Staying away from doubt is probably the biggest mind noise trap of all.
But, there’s more… There’s the mind noise we spoke about in the previous Parasha which is a preemptive strike. It has to do with one person coming into another person’s house in order to steal from them. They are coming into that house with the assumption they may be killed, so they will probably be locked and loaded, and ready to shoot first.
We have to be able to pre-empt that thing when they come in, and to shoot first in that situation. And that’s a way of dealing with the evil inclination as well. When we deal with the Evil Inclination as our own inner struggle by pre-empting the battle, we win. When we don’t, we don’t. That’s a huge transcendence of the mind noise happening to us as well.
In Parsha Mishpatim it talks about the righteous convert. So, another type of mind noise transcendence is compassion. It is to look at a person, as the Torah tells us to do, and to have compassion on that person, who may be a stranger, or a convert. Many people fall into the trap of cruelty as opposed to compassion.
We have the mind noise of people in our lives whom we hate. The Torah tells us, “You’ve got the mind noise of hate in your mind? Help the hated one. If you see a person who is bent down with some kind of burden, drop what you’re doing and go help him. That will help you get rid of you get rid of your mind noise as you help him. It gets rid of the horrible mind noise called hating.
Another mind noise is taking pleasure in G-d. There are passages that say G-d is going to help us get rid of our sickness, and so forth, because we will get to a place where we are taking pleasure in what’s happening in the world and what’s happening in our lives. That’s a mind noise inside ourselves. And we need to take pleasure in G-d and the role he’s playing in our lives instead. That’s a pleasure that is sort of the opposite of worldly pleasures.
Moses going up the mountain for 40 days is one of the scriptures here. It represents freedom from mind noise in the form of detachment. He was detached enough to not eat or drink or probably even sleep for 40 days up on the mountain. He was a human being, but he had such a high level of detachment that all the mind noise of, “I need this, I need that…” was removed from who he was.
Perhaps I’ll find other examples of mind noise cancellation, maybe in this Parsha and maybe in my life. But it opens up a very big topic, the idea of the mindfulness of getting rid of mind noise.
This week is Parsha Bo, which is famous for being the Parsha of the Redemption, the Exodus from Egypt.
My exploration of the details of Parsha Bo go out on a limb a little bit, to at least explore the possibility that everything about the Redemption Parsha is about ways for us to get ourselves free. It’s about becoming free people and getting ourselves out of slavery.
The coming out of Egypt story, like all the Torah, is not only an historical account in some museum, collecting dust, but it’s the Torah of Life. It’s telling us how to come out of our own, personal, private exiles and private Egypts. So, the exploration into this week’s Parsha can elicit a lot of information about how to get ourselves free. It’s very important.
Here are some facts, some ideas on getting ourselves free that come from Parsha Bo:
- This whole concept of coming out of Egypt is not a once-a-year holiday concept that we attend to, like other holidays; it’s not a once-a-year vaccination of sorts. This something we have to do on a daily basis. We are meant to remember coming out of Egypt twice a day when we say the Shema Israel, morning and evening. That’s a commandment of the Torah, a part of the human spirit bringing itself up, up and out of the Egyptian choke-hold situation that we have in our lives. It’s a universal thing going on.
- The idea of the transformation, what happened with the Egyptian slaves, is that they went from a small, constricted consciousness to expanded consciousness. A big part of getting out of Eqypt was getting out of their small-mindedness, and that’s definitely a recipe for expanded consciousness as well.
- Another thing is that they went from wordless speaking to speaking with great articulation. And it was the same with Moses, who mirrored the Israelites that way. As he told G-d, he had blemishes in his speech. But, Moses became the greatest articulator of all time because he received and articulated Torah. So, part of getting out of Egypt is being able to “speak ourselves out,” and in doing so, speak ourselves into consciousness.
- Another way we can get ourselves out of Egypt is to emulate the way the Israelites were born as a nation. They were born in an extraordinary way. They were born having to leave immediately, without having time. Time was not a factor. The indulgence of time wouldn’t have allowed them to come out of Egypt. But, since they got out of there so fast that the dough didn’t have time to rise (which is why we eat matzah on Passover) shows us that if we want to begin a new redemption process in your life, we need to start out in an extraordinary way. In other words – transcend time.
- Another Redemption process is Emunah, it’s simply believing in G-d. They were coming from a nation enslaved, and the ones who made it out did so because they believed. They simply chose to believe in G-d. And that choosing to believe, or “downloading of G-dness” into their Divine Providential reality is what got them out of Egypt. When we make G-d our partner, our guide, and the one helping us get out, we get out.
- Another thing that got them out was miracles. They got out of Egypt with open miracles. We get out of our situations not only with open miracles, but with hidden miracles as well. The story of the open miracles gives rise to the realization that everything is a miracle. If G-d is running the show, then even nature is miraculous. The mindset that everything is in the hands of G-d, even the natural, hidden stuff, is going to get us out of Egypt as well.
- The fact that they got out as fast as they did – with electricity, zerizut in Hebrew, means not to be indulgent at all, just to move very fast when the time is right. That is certainly a way of getting out of Egypt as well.
- The Israelites got out of Egypt, and we get out of Egypt by initiating the process with a wordless sigh or scream, any kind of non-verbal, primal cry to G-d. G-d hears it and starts the process of freeing us. We have to know this, and we have to be emotional and primal about it. When we are truly primal and helpless, crying, “I need you, G-d! I need you to pull me out!” and truly believe G-d is listening and will do it, then you leap out of there because you know G-d’s going to do it right away. You get out of your Egypt that way.
- When the Israelites got out, it was so miraculous that they went and reclaimed their property, that which had been claimed long ago by their Egyptian masters. Those masters willingly gave back their property, and the Israelites found favor, chein in Hebrew, with them, too. They found chein in the eyes of the Egyptians. They were enamored by them. Here’s a people, and you’re destroying their whole world, but they are stilled enamored by you. Part of the exile process is learning that you don’t have to be afraid of people. If you’re doing G-d’s will and you’re getting yourself free in the right way, not only will people not oppose you, but people will find favor with what you’re doing.
- Another thing that comes out in the Parsha is the subject of Rosh Chodesh. The month they got out of Egypt was the Rosh of all Rosh Chodeshes, the head or beginning of all new months. This represents our ability to renew ourselves. A big part of getting out of our own Egypt is being ready and willing to say, “what was, was, and now I’m going to renew my life.” That’s another representation of getting out of Egypt as well.
This week is Parsha Vayera, and I see a very definite common thread running through many aspects of this Parsha. The thread is about G-d, basically revealing G-d in places where G-d is normally not found. That’s what this Parsha discusses over and over in different ways.
So, here are a few examples that reveal G-d, taken from Parsha Vayera:
- Moses’ slave generation had a revelation of G-d which was ultimately a higher revelation than the Patriarchs and Matriarchs had. The Israelites as slaves had an open miracle revelation from G-d, which transcended nature and natural restrictions. For example, the expression of the plagues and parting of the Red Sea… The Patriarchs saw miracles, but not on that revealed level. So, there was a higher level of revealing G-d in Moses’ generation.
- We learn from the plagues (next week’s Parsha) that G-d was in total control of everything. Those ten plagues came to show that every aspect of Divine Providence, every aspect of nature, every aspect of G-d running the show was put into play, which you’ll see when you study and analyze those ten plagues, where G-d is revealed in all aspects of nature and Providence.
- The Egyptians were the core and center of one of the most powerful purveyors of magic in the world. And when magic is matched up against G-d’s miraculous intervention, magic always comes up short. So, it’s G-d’s revelation vs magic, and G-d’s revelation wins the day, as always.
- We see that just as the Israelites were taught the lessons as slaves, the more they realized that everything is dependent on G-d, we need to do the same kind of thing to realize our dependence on G-d. The more we see that everything is dependent on G-d, the more G-d takes control of all the different aspects of our lives.
- We need to know that what happened in Egypt and at the Red Sea actually happened all over the world. We’re talking about global G-d knowledge. When the Red Sea parted, all the waters of the world parted because G-d was out to basically show the world, “I am running the show,” to show the Egyptians and to show the whole world.
- G-d showed us that all His Divine Providence, everything He showed us has an address. It’s customized, it’s personalized for each of us. What’s coming to you from G-d has nothing to do with anything else, so there’s no reason for jealousy or doubt… “Why did he get it and I didn’t? Why shouldn’t I get it?” No. Whatever is yours has your name and address on it; that’s a factor in G-d’s revelation.
- The other idea here is about this teaching – Belief in G-d is not only on the level of something you think about, that’s just one level. But a deeper level, a more internalized level is something that your heart feels, not just something your mind thinks. And something even deeper is when you have body belief in G-d, which means you don’t have to think or feel it to believe it. You’re naturally programmed and your feet take you to G-d-based situations without even having to think about it, it’s automatic.
This is a collection of some ideas about Parsha Shemot.
First, we begin a whole new energetic period of time called Shovavim, which is the weekly Parshas beginning with Shemot and ending with Mishpatim. This is a period of time when we, and of course the people in the Bible times, are coming to rectify something that began with Adam, who was separated from his wife in the Garden of Eden fall-out. Their separation caused scattered seed, which means scattered life energy, and the goal of this period of time is to bring the scattered energy back together.
That’s what we’re going to be doing for the next six weeks, and it parallels the stories about bringing back energy, about interconnected energy. So that’s one thing that begins in Shemot. Essentially, we’re going from the Patriarchal period into an Exile period, which is followed later by a Redemption period. The Israelites were pretty civilized, but tended to sink into slave mentality during the 210 year period of forced slavery.
One of the things that comes up during this period is that the Israelites were rapidly reproducing, and the more Pharaoh tried to oppress them, the more they reproduced. It’s an interesting phenomenon… You leave it to G-d to take care of you, and you can rely on that, no matter what the opposition tries to do to you. So, the Israelites reproduced in great numbers, which ultimately formed the nation of Israel.
G-d promised to Jacob that He would make of us a great nation, and that He will be with us and take us out of slavery also. So, the hand of G-d is operating, even in the midst of the darkness of Egypt, the lowest and most depraved of nations. G-d’s there with us and the miracles are happening, maybe on a more subtle level.
So, we reproduced a lot, and we did that in spite of Pharaoh’s efforts to the contrary, meaning he worked us and he baited us. He promised to come out into the fields with us, and pay us well and take care of us. Pharaoh was the first of the real politicians, saying one thing with his mouth while thinking and planning something else entirely. It was said of Pharaoh, “he had a soft mouth,” meaning he could be very convincing, and in fact he seduced most of the Israelites into doing his bidding, with the exception of the tribe of Levi. The Levis never became slaves, and they learned Torah instead, for the entire 210 years of the Eqyptian exile.
This is an incredible lesson because, spiritually speaking, the spiritual heirs of the tribe of Levi are the Torah students of all generations. So, when other people get seriously seduced into the traps of society (and there are so many of them) the person who sticks to his guns inside of Torah is impervious to that whole influence, as was the tribe of Levi in Eqypt.
Pharaoh induced the Israelites into slavery, and then approximately eighty years after the exile began Moses was born. They looked at him and knew there was goodness there, and there was a whole reincarnation thing going on with Moses as well. It was a reincarnation rectification of Adam. Moses was born good, something recognized through the daughter of Pharaoh, Batya, who adopted the baby Moses. She took him out of the Nile River and she raised him, and even though he was raised in the Egyptian environment, because of his inherent goodness (and Batya’s goodness) Moses kept the pure side of himself. He could see through the façade of the Egyptian royal family all along, and he eventually escaped the kingdom after an episode with an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating up an Israelite slave. Moses killed the Egyptian, so he knew he would be in trouble and that’s when he left and went to Midian, in the desert.
In Midian Moses met his future father-in-law, and he met up with G-d, and the burning bush, with Mount Sinai and with his task of saving the Jews from Pharaoh. All this occurred because Moses began to hear the wordless grunts and screams of the Israelite people. Moses said, “I heard their screams and told Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go.”
At first, Moses displayed a reticence to do that. He thought, “Who am I? Certainly not a man of words…” At this, G-d told him, essentially, “What do you mean you’re not a man of words? Who is asking you to save the Israelites? I’m not a politician, I’m G-d. I’m hooking up my mouth to a human being. I can put the words in your mouth.”
This is an incredible lesson, really, because G-d can do anything, to the extent that we let Him in. The basic question people ask is, “Where is G-d now?” and the answer is, “Wherever we let Him I,” which applies on many different levels. If we let G-d in to do miracles in our lives He WILL do miracles in our lives. But most people cannot believe that because they’re blinded by nature.
Moses was told, “You’re the leader. You’re the one who is going to bring them out, so you’ve got to believe in Me. You’re a stutterer.” And he was. Moses was a stutterer because the Israelites were slaves, and people in that kind of slave mentality were not articulate people. And what happens with the people happens with Moses, their leader. He is a mirror of them and they are a mirror of him. They stuttered, he stuttered. They couldn’t talk, he couldn’t talk.
Moses said, “How am I going to talk? How am I going to be their leader?” And G-d said, “You don’t understand. I will speak through you, for you. We’ll start off by letting Aaron do the talking for you. Your big brother, 3 years older than you is a better speaker.
So, Moses asked G-d, “What do I tell the people about who sent me? I could tell them several different names of G-d. Which one do I tell them that they will truly believe?
And G-d told Moses, “I will be who I will be.” It’s “will be” in the future tense, a Divine Name symbolizing the ability to have patience and wait, the ability to trust that things will work out, the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the ability to hope, (which happened in last week’s Parsha when Jacob was blessing Dan he said a prayer, “For your salvation I hope all day long.”) Hope is the key to Geula, to Redemption.
G-d told Moses to talk to the Israelites about hope, about how it’s a done deal and that they will bring it by hoping and by waiting for Me. And that’s ultimately what happened with the Israelites, as Pharaoh kept kicking and fighting and questioning, “Who is this G-d that Moses should hear His voice?” Since Pharaoh help himself up as a deity and knew nearly everything about spiritual matters in the world at that time he was disturbed because he didn’t know about this Divine Name, this G-d of Moses. Or, maybe he did know, but he denied it. There are commentaries from our sages from both viewpoints.
So, that’s the set-up of this week’s Parsha and the beginning of plagues next week, and the exodus from Egypt the following week, and coming through the Red Sea the following week. The state is being set this week in Parsha Shemot.