Posts tagged Passover
This week’s MMM is about Pesach, and I’m calling it Get Yourself Free. It’s about making the most of the holiday. I’ll start with some of the basics, what happened at the time of the first Pesach, the practices of Seder night, and then move into the mindset about how to achieve freedom.
From the perspective of Kabbalah, Pesach is based on a 130-year time period when Adam, separated from his wife, spilled seed. Adam was the composite of all humanity, and the seed was incarnated into complete generations, and ultimately made it into the generation of the slaves, Bnei Israel. They went into Egypt and were enslaved for 210 years, which served to rectify the seed spilled by Adam, with a lot of purging and suffering involved.
Their story reveals a slave mentality for 209 years, and people sunk into a lot of tumah, the 49 gates of evil. Then, G-d planted in them a desire to get out of their situation, because people in such a dark place usually don’t know there’s a way out.
Their desire for freedom expressed itself with primal screams, and non-verbal articulations asking for help. G-d told Moses, “I heard their screams,” although he had instigated their circumstances, he also heard their cries. Then G-d told Moses to speak to Pharoah and say, “Let my people go.”
Moses deliberated long and hard about whether he was worthy to be the messenger, but in the end, he did it. And what followed was about a year’s worth of open miracles, which the world has not seen since then, and probably won’t see until the Messianic times. It will be sort of an emulation of the coming-out-of-Egypt process once again.
The Pesach miracles were all about revealing G-d’s presence in the world, and in a people who really didn’t understand G-d’s presence for what it is, who weren’t deserving of it or ready for it. But G-d wanted it to happen at this particular time, because it was rock-bottom, so to speak. And G-d has a timetable for bringing in salvation.
The seed of a plant, decomposing in the ground, must deteriorate to a certain point in order to grow, but can’t go too far or it won’t sprout, grow and blossom at all. So, too, with the Israelites. They had to get to a certain point of slave mentality, and then they had to be brought out in above-nature, miraculous ways.
Miracles of the 10 plagues and miracles of crossing the Red Sea are miracles “on the ground,” but there were also miracles of the spirit. Those spiritual miracles involved people raised up into expanded levels of consciousness, having and extraordinary, inside perspective, which went far beyond all their preparations. They received pure gifts from above.
In a nutshell, that’s what happened. The Israelites got themselves free, and they got out just in time. Not all of them got out, in fact, most of them did not get out. Some got out, and that became the Bible story. We know from the study of Kabbalah that the Bible stories are just the bare bones of what happened, a remnant of the real lesson we’re supposed to apply to our lives.
On Seder night, we get together and talk about the historical story of what happened on the first Pesach, but also to get a sense of our own journey coming out of slavery into freedom, on our own lives.
We go through it, and we set our table with signs of both freedom and slavery, matzah and maror, the yetzir ha tov and the yetzir ha ra, expanded and restricted consciousness. We retell the story, year after year, and we speak our way into consciousness.
Our Sages say that the more one talks about it, the more praise-worthy it is. The very words we say are down-loading belief in G-d into our souls, especially on Seder night, but also at all times. It’s a very special, very elevated night. And the discussion around the Seder table is not just for the highest intellects, it’s for everyone in the family.
It’s a family affair, and the family has to go through the normal channels of father to son, mother to daughter, etc. The home is one of the most sanctified places for the Jewish people, and the Seder is one of the most sanctified ceremonies we have in our home. It’s not done in the synagogue, and it wasn’t done in the Holy Temple, although people came there for the days of Pesach, but the Seder is conducted at home.
Home is where the heart is, where the faith is, and it’s where G-d is, so that’s the foundation. That’s where we drink the cups of wine and eat the matzah of freedom, and we tell the story of freedom. Basically, we are downloading freedom into our souls. Pesach is the holiday of freedom. That’s the essence of the holiday – to get ourselves free.
According to Jewish teachings, Pesach is not the only time we are to speak about freedom. We’re supposed to do it twice a day, every day, with special mentions on other holidays and on Shabbat. This is such a basic thing a human being is supposed to do, to break free of those things that are holding us down.
That’s what this world is all about. So, I put together some original tools I use to get myself free:
- I give it over to G-d. Whatever I can’t do for myself, I say, “G-d, please do this for me.”
- I choose to want what I do have, instead of what I don’t have. I embrace what I do have.
- I detach myself from things involving the senses, seeing, tasting, touching. I close off some of those senses to free up my spiritual senses.
- I keep a conversation going with G-d at all times. Ask G-d questions and receive the answers. Ask G-d for favors and receive the favors, the gifts. Open yourself up to the gifts. Be an active, best friend kind of partner with G-d, and watch how reality develops for you.
- I see Torah as G-d’s word, filtered down so we can grasp it, and the more we connect with it the more we become free.
- I expect to have active faith in G-d, bitachon, trust in G-d to come through for me. The more I have it, the more free I become, because I’m not afraid of the consequences. Even when it seems there’s no way through, I trust G-d and expect to make my way through.
- I often choose to give up the struggle, to Let Go and Let G-d. When it’s all said and done, it’s G-d who is getting things done, even through my decisions, choices, innovations and motivations. But G-d is the one who is planting those things inside of me. So, where I let go of the struggle and let G-d come through, that’s when I become the most free that I can be.
What I’d like to do is speak about the end of the Passover holiday, which is basically concerned with the crossing of the Red Sea.
On the seventh day of Passover, in history and energetically in our lives right now, we crossed and crossed the Red Sea. That crossing was affected by a whole different level of Divine Providence, which the Kabbalah refers to as ATIK.
ATIK is the highest of the sephirot, a type of Divine Providence that super-cedes, in a miraculous way, everything that happens to us as human beings. It’s what G-d put into practice in all the miraculous events that happened – Passover, Red Sea, manna, Mount Sinai, the ten plagues – the whole kit and caboodle was ATIK, meaning “shifting oneself, or move yourself over,” in Hebrew.
It means putting yourself into a different state of receptivity, and to believe in miracles as a person who is in sync with miraculous, Divine Providence. That’s what was demanded, and it’s what’s demanded of us in crossing the Red Sea, which represents certain death. Historically, the Egyptians were chasing us. They were more powerful. It was a nation of warriors chasing a nation of slaves, and of course there was the sea. We were not a nation of Olympic swimmers at all, and there were also wild animals to contend with, as well as accusers in heaven.
When the people started screaming, G-d asked us, “Why are you screaming?” And the people replied, “We were screaming as slaves, to get out of Egypt, and so we’re screaming now, too.”
But G-d said, “No, this is different, this is about action. It’s about trust in G-d, which is even higher than screaming or prayer, and which is demonstrated by action.” We had to put our money where our mouth is, and just jump into the sea.
Essentially, G-d said, “I’ve never told you to jump in the sea, and I know it doesn’t make sense, but I’m telling you to trust the process, trust Me to do it.” He told us everything would be ok, and it was ok.
So, we leaped into the sea, in an impossible situation. That leaping into the sea is parallel to many situations in our lives and in our history. It’s a leap when Esther, in the Purim story, said, “If I’m lost, I’m lost. If I die, I die. But I’m going in to talk to the King, and to tell him not to commit a holocaust on my people.” Esther was willing to give herself up and leap into her sea, and it worked, and she won.
That’s how it happened for Esther, and for Moses, and for others who were willing to make a nothing of themselves by trusting in the process and trusting that G-d would get them through.
It’s the same for us, for our process, too, as we leap into an impossible situation. When we do that, and to the extent we do it, that’s how we bring on miracles. We bring on miracles by shifting ourselves in a reflective, mirror-like fashion, which shifts the way G-d looks down upon us as well.
We parallel these historical, Biblical happenings in our lives whenever we have no choice but to totally give it up to G-d. When that happens, G-d sees we are completely self-nullified in that situation, and then the “crossing of the Red Sea” type miracles will happen to us. But first we must leap. We must close our eyes and go with G-d in a whole, different way, not the normal, day-to-day, reward and punishment kind of way. This super-cedes all of that.
That’s what the seventh day of Passover is all about.
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.