One of the first principles we teach in The Kabbalah Centre is the limitation of the 5 senses. We are taught that we navigate through life seeing less than one percent of reality. Think about it: how many times have you heard of “love at first sight” becoming “get me out of this relationship”? How many times have you judged someone to be a negative person only to discover their true inner beauty? How many times has the universe shown you that the reality you were certain of, was in fact an illusion, and vice versa?
This week’s Torah portion is Re’eh, which means ‘to see’. There is a common expression thrown around when someone finally grasps a deep idea: “I see what you mean”. Our teacher, Rav Berg, questions what is meant by this expression – how is it that you can ‘see’ what someone else means? Very simply, we learn from this that seeing is not only with the physical eyes, but true ‘seeing’ is more closely linked with perceiving and understanding.
In his book, And You Shall Choose Life, Rav Ashlag explains that the root cause for all of the pain and suffering that plagues us on an individual and collective scale, stems from the fact that we do not truthfully understand how the Creator supervises His Creation (humanity). We do not ‘see’ how the Light operates in this physical mundane world of time, space, and motion. Rav Ashlag goes further to say that, by enhancing our perception of divine providence (supervision), we can eliminate every mistake from our potential future before they are actualized. How does it work? Imagine a world where cause and effect have no space. The moment an individual speaks negatively about someone else, their tongue falls out. The moment you share with your friend in a proactive way, golden coins from heaven shower into your lap. In such a reality, what path would you choose?
It is obvious, you would choose to share with your friend and receive the gold as opposed to speaking negatively and living without a tongue. This, according to Rav Ashlag, is the true reality – yet in the physical world, we do not perceive it as such. The Creator built the illusion of time, space, and motion to govern our current state of existence and therefore we do not clearly ‘see’ the connection between cause and effect in our lives. This is why it always appears that positive and negative situations suddenly enter our lives without an invitation.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is no event that occurs in our life today that does not stem from a hidden cause from our past. This week’s portion refers to ‘seeing’ because it can assist us in rising above our limited perception of reality and gain us access to see reality as it truly exists. There is a story that illustrates the dramatic changes that can emerge once we achieve this shift in perception:
A few hundred years ago, there was an elevated kabbalist who lived with his wife. This kabbalist was extremely holy and spent all of his time dealing with spiritual matters. One day, his wife realized they did not have money for food and did not know what to do. She did not want to disturb her husband and his study, so she decided to go out into the market. She found herself standing on the corner of the street crying and looking up to the heavens, begging the Creator to provide for her and her husband. Suddenly, a man pulled over in a beautiful carriage and fine clothing and asked her why she was crying. The woman began to explain and after a few tears and words, the man gave her enough money to buy food for the entire week. In exchange, the wife of the kabbalist blessed the man; that he would be able to ‘behold’ the beautiful wonders of the Creator for just one day, as there is no greater pleasure than this. As the wife was giving the man this blessing, her holy husband was deep in his prayers, which involved his soul elevating to the upper worlds and leaving this physical plane of existence. It was there that he heard about an uproar regarding his wife, who blessed a wicked man to be able to ‘see’ the Creator’s wonders for one day. The angels spoke to the kabbalist, explaining that the man his wife had blessed was a very wicked and selfish man who did not deserve such a blessing. The kabbalist argued on the man’s behalf and stated that the only reason the man indulged in ‘selfish’ and ‘wicked’ behavior was because he never truthfully has ‘seen’ the Light. “Allow this man to experience the splendor of the Creator this one day and let’s see what happens,” the kabbalist said. The angels agreed. The man felt an overwhelming energy come over him that day, and suddenly all of the mundane nonsense he once valued suddenly seemed insignificant. He found himself wandering aimlessly, came to a home and knocked on the door. It turned out to be the home of the kabbalist and his wife, who were there to greet him and welcome him.
After experiencing and perceiving the spiritual beauty that is hidden in this world for most, the man completely transformed and became the kabbalist’s successor. This is how powerful it is to see the ‘true reality’ – it has the capacity to remove everything negative from your life and open doors to pleasures that lie far beyond the physical world.