Sunday, May 2, 2010

Zohar Portion Emor Notes

Emor – means speak to the Kohen, to the priests, tell them such and such. This portion talks about all the holidays. It was the connection to the holy temple, the mishkan, that the kohanim (priests) used to do the work for everyone. The work of the kohanim/priests, is an important concept representing the channel for all of us. In all of the holidays we speak of the work of the priests.

In the Omer, there is a huge opening for us that we need to understand. There is a whole preparation for us to become like priests. The Zohar shares many secrets –

Verse 3 of Zohar Emor – we should remember that when we read from and hear the Zohar, we are hearing the words of Rabbi Shimon, all the kabbalists that studied the Zohar, the light revealed from Moses and Avraham, the actual light that spoke through the kabbalists. As pure as we can be, the priest is the channel of light. We are not just reading the Zohar or “some words,” we are making a connection.

The Zohar asks, “what is the good that you are concealing, for those that have awe, for those that have admiration for you?” How valuable this supernal light is that is called good? The creator saw that the light was good – and that light was concealed light.

(note: at this point my computer crashed, so a few minutes of the class were not transcribed - unfortunately, only the first 6 minutes were recorded on ustream)

There is a story of Elijah the Prophet – there was a time where the king was very negative and wanted to kill the entire nation. The only way he would spare the nation, was if Elijah the Prophet would come and eat a meal with the king. But the king didn’t keep kosher, so how was it going to happen? Elijah the Prophet went and had a full meal with the king –but how? It’s because he connected to the level of Binah, where there is no bad, good, kosher, or mitzvah. For the sake of helping the people, Elijah did it. It was a very noble thing to do, but Elijah was connected to the light of Binah. When we get to that place, there is no separation.

In our reality, there is some kind of a torture we are going through, to understand. We need to understand that we need to get to a place where we can reveal concealed light. We want the light that is not usually revealed, to be revealed in our life. The gift we are receiving is the Zohar – many people think that the Zohar is just a book, but the fact is the Zohar IS the concealed light. The “real” light is concealed for the righteous ones. It has always been said that the Zohar would not be revealed until the time of Mashiach – the real gift we have is to be revealed through the Zohar.

So why would we want to be a priest? Because we are not at that level, if we get connected to the Zohar, we can bring that light when we are at a much lower level than if we do the preparations to become a priest. The problem with the Zohar, because it’s a book, its hard for us to believe that it’s the concealed light. But since it’s a book, it’s truly concealed. The teaching of Kabbalah is not just the idea of gaining facts and information, but rather to connect to the 99%, the spiritual realm of our reality. We can read the Zohar and think we are reading amazing secrets. Trying to understand the Zohar is only ego. We need to connect with our heart. The high priests connect to the concealed light – but we can all connect to it. Because it’s written in the Zohar, that’s why we can all connect. It has been channeled by the light for us. There is good light that emanates through the Zohar for us. Written in a very fascinating way – the concealed light works in a way, where the more of us think we are connected, that’s how much we are really disconnected. If we think we understand something, that’s how much we are disconnected. If I know without a doubt in the Zohar there are tremendous concealed secrets, we need to get excited by what it is that we don’t understand. The real light is how happy I am to know that I really don’t know what the Zohar is. In the moment that I don’t have a way to describe or express my experience, that is the moment of light and truth. If I try to describe what I know, I am trying to describe my ego and how much I am disconnected.

What do we know about our limitations? The priests represent peace. If you see yourself in the future, what would you see in 5 years? Most people would tell you they see themselves with kids, a bigger house, a great job, business, relationship, friends; usually what they see is about status in life – but let’s think about ourselves without egos, fear, insecurities, and limitations, with no agenda – now, how do we see ourselves? What will we look like? How will we react? We have limitation in the way we see because we have fragmented goals. If we look beyond time space and motion, if I know the future is now, if I know that we are coming from the light which is perfect and where we are heading is toward the light, eventually we will all be back with the light, basically the future is now, we all have something special and unique – sometimes with limitations or blockages. Sometimes we don’t find the solution to situations, or we don’t’ have a solution or answer to an argument. If we try to figure out what is the answer or solution, we are disconnected –the fact that we are thinking about a past experience or futuristic solution, we are not connected to the now – the answer is now, the future is now. Connect to the righteous within – the Zohar is the bridge between us and the future. The Zohar is the way that we can not do anything with our own power, we need the assistance of the light. the Zohar is the delivery system for the light, that is our gift. Even when we learn we need to remove our ego, the removal of the ego is not the goal, it’s a vehicle to connect to the light.

Its written that we all can be the priests. This is the time (during the Omer) that the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva were killed in a plague that happened because they lacked human dignity. We certainly cannot compare ourselves to his students; on a spiritual level, each of his students may be the equivalent of 5-10, or even more of us. But with a little effort we can tap into so much more. Today we can all represent those channels of light. We just need one moment to open those channels.

Today we connect to the students that died because they could not work together and receive from each other. The study of Kabbalah is based on the 3 column system. Right, representing sharing and being the cause; the left – receiving – being open to listen, asking for help. In order for us to connect to the central column we need to connect to the concealed light.

Why can’t I receive help when I know I need it? Many believe it’s a problem with the left column, but it can actually be due to problems with the right column. I have problems with receiving because I have problems with giving, the only time I can receive is when I am sharing. I need to be able to understand that I am a no one, I need to be open to receive help.

How did kabbalists keep themselves open to receiving light? Only because they never thought about receiving for themselves! The Zohar comes from the corrected world, from the Binah, any time we connect to the Zohar we connect to concealed light. if I am not getting light from the Zohar, it’s because I am not sharing.

Verse 46 – when the light is revealed, it is only revealed in a place with a vessel. We don’t’ understand – when a person has a blemish/damage, it is written the light can dwell only in a place that is broken, only in a broken vessel. If I am always trying to connect to the light, and I say, I want to build a vessel – what is the idea of the vessel – building a vessel piece by piece. The idea of building a vessel – see the amount of judgment in the vessel, how negative/needy/jealousy, disgust yourself, break your vessel, that’s what will lead to building of the vessel. The light needs a broken place to dwell. If we connect every day to our negativity, our blockages, our silly logic, our calculation every day, we have to try to see every day another spark of that. It’s internal work, not something others can see. If I want to help someone, and I come from that place, I need to bring myself to a place where I am not righteous. I must connect to my filth, entitlement, ego – I must be open to remove a little bit more of this negativity, blockage, smallness, difficulties, in life – that’s what makes it special and closer. We can really effect change in a big way.

Verse 28 – The high priest could really do what he was doing only when he did everything with happiness. The happiness and excitement of doing that work will draw the pieces. The Midrash has a story about the giant Goliath, demanding an opponent from among the Israelites. The boy David offered himself, and they brought him before King Saul – David was a young shepherd and a small kid – People asked, what makes you think you can slay a giant? David said that wild beasts used to come and attack the herd, and once he even killed 4 lions and the creator helped me and I was able to kill them. Saul was impressed. David said maybe the same light from the creator can help me perform miracles for all of Israel. Saul gave him his armor and helmet, but it was too big for him – but the light made David fit the armor, and Saul realized that David would be the next king. David gave the armor back and said he would use his own weapon. Saul was jealous. The lesson that we can learn from this story is that if I do any work and I know I am not complete, and I know I have limitations, and I know I am not yet righteous or the high priest, as soon as I do something to reveal light, whatever I am lacking, the light will fulfill the rest. We need to understand, when I need something to complete a mission, the light will give me whatever I need to finish the mission. Even if I am not complete totally, but when I do things with happiness and I am excited, the light will give me everything I need to complete the job.

Verses 74-76. As below, will awaken that above. When a person is awakening an action from below – where we are, we awaken an action from above. If I am doing the correct action from below, a little action of holiness, we awaken so much more from above. We can awaken a power from above. Awakening an action of sharing and mercy. (n.b. - Benjamin recommends reading these verses).

Verse 129 – know how much we don’t understand, that is what we should be excited about. In the Malchut there is always darkness, we don’t see everything, we are so limited. When we bring or create an small opening in the Malchut and open a small gate for the light to come in, the light will force its way in a big way. This week until at least Lag B’omer, try to open a small or little hole to allow other people to enter into your heart. Try to find openings in other people’s hearts. I want to feel a small opening for a friend of mine, that will allow the light to come into my heart. I want to look for a small opening, and allow yourself to come in. be excited that not everything is revealed to you, be excited by how hard it is to get the concealed light revealed to you. Ask yourself, why is that person here for me? What is the connection on the soul level that wants to allow you to come in. The person and the klippoth come to our life, we always find a reason why not to connect to a person. But maybe this week, this time, it will be different. Anytime someone engages a conversation or asks for help. Maybe its’ not about what they are asking you, but sometimes ask your heart is there anything extra I can do for you?