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michael berg kabbalah scholar

Experiencing Lack Without Doubt

Topic: Kabbalistic Concepts | Posted:May 2, 2018

The portion Behar contains a fundamental teaching, and gift, that we have talked about before, but is very important to reawaken, because there is an opening for each one of us to elevate our consciousness in a way that is not available on any other Shabbat of the year.

Behar speaks about the concept of shmita, the cycle in which land is worked for six years, but not on the seventh. The Creator tells Moses to tell the Israelites that on the seventh year, they have to let the land rest. They are worried and ask how they are going to eat in that seventh year and the year after, to which the Creator answers, through Moses, “Don’t worry, I will command My blessing so that it will feed you and sustain you from the seventh year into the eighth year.“

As we know, the Torah is very precise in its use of words and language, and the way the structure of these verses is set up doesn’t make sense. And this is one of the few places in which the great kabbalist Rav Elimelich of Lizhensk quotes a teaching from his brother, Rav Zusha of Hanopoli. He asks why we need this back and forth; why doesn’t the Creator just say right away to take the seventh year off, and not to worry, because, “I will command My blessing?” Why the mention of the Israelites’ question and their doubt? His answer to this isn’t so much a teaching as it is an essence that we want to bring into ourselves on this Shabbat. We want to leave this Shabbat with a completely elevated sense of certainty; that is the energy and consciousness that this portion reveals.

So, he says that the Creator, when creating the world and every one of us, also created the channel of Light for every need we would ever have. From the moment we are born, the Light of the Creator sees every problem or lack that’s going to exist for us, and creates the conduit to fix it or fill it. And shmita represents that lack; the process of proactively putting oneself in the place of objective lack, without having any way to fill that lack, is what this Shabbat is really about.

But why do we continue to live in lack for weeks, months, or years even, if the day each one of us was born the Light created the channel for that lack to be filled? These conduits and channels of Light never stop, meaning if we do nothing, that Light and assistance will flow all the time. There’s only one thing that damages them: the loss of certainty. Rav Elimelich tells us that the thoughts of doubt and lack literally go out of our mind, to the Upper World, find the conduit that’s meant to flow to answer that problem or fulfill that lack, and cut it. Then, the assistance can’t flow down.

Therefore, what we want to receive on this Shabbat is a greater desire not just to have certainty because we’re told that certainty draws Light, but to become stronger in not allowing ourselves to continue to doubt and fear. Because that thought of doubt and fear causes damage in the supernal worlds, and the Light becomes weakened. Then, the assistance that was meant to come is gone. However, if we elevate again, that conduit is reopened, but the Light has to work harder to give us that blessing and same assistance. We’re not, of course, meant to be perfect, but this process begins with having the clarity that when we were born, all the solutions to all the problems we are ever going to have were created. And every single time we have a lack, we have to know that a channel for Light was created to fill it.

So, the back and forth with the Creator and the Israelites is to show us that if they had not had any doubt, the Light would have flowed to them to fill the lack as it was set up to do at the time of creation. Yet, their doubt cut off the flow, and they needed to reawaken their certainty. And while it’s going to be more difficult now, because they damaged that channel, they will do the work again, and reawaken that channel.

In truth, however, it should all be simpler than that; we are meant to experience lack without doubt, having certainty the conduit of Light to fill that lack has been created, and wait for it to come. We’re meant to be fighting this fight, knowing that every doubt or connection to lack damages that channel even further, making it more difficult for the Light, once again, to reopen it.

While this is a very important lesson we learn on Shabbat Behar, it is even more important that we ask the Light on this Shabbat to elevate us, because we now know the damage our doubts are doing to our conduits of Light. Maybe this week we had 100 thoughts of doubt, and now we ask the Creator to give us the strength to fight those doubts so we only have 30, and next week, even fewer. We need to fight that fight and elevate our consciousness enough to be afraid of doubt and lack so that less of those thoughts damage the conduits of Light, and the blessings that are prepared for us and meant to come into our lives can flow down.

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