This article on the portion of the week was originally published in 2017.
Sometimes we think that this life is about getting prizes and avoiding punishment, about following all the rules to be the good boy or girl we are expected to be, about coloring inside the lines, or knowing it all.
But Kabbalah says otherwise.
"Our actions of true sharing alter our destiny."
This week's portion is called Ekev and when you look in the Zohar you will find a discussion of the correction of souls across lifetimes. It explains that each one of us descended into this physical world with a certain "tikkun" (correction) to complete, certain things to do; specific challenges to face and overcome. There is no set "this is what your life should look like" and then you are redeemed sort of thing. Everything is much more fluid than that. What there is a universal system of spiritual laws through which we are afforded the opportunity to resolve our karmic debt.
"Fulfillment is the result of constantly striving to be better human beings."
Many years ago, when we were just beginning to build what we now know as the Kabbalah Centre International, we were in Paris teaching classes and sharing the Zohar. One night there was a young woman who bought a set of Zohar books from one of our teachers, Shimon Sarfati. Because all of the volumes were quite heavy, she asked if he could help her transport it to her home. And so, they set off in the car. Unfortunately, when they got to her house, the car was had basically broken down; it was overheating and needed water in order to restart.
Shimon thought they could ask her father to give them some water. But the father was very judgmental and wary of the spiritual teachings of Kabbalah. He was even more irate that his daughter had bought the Zohar. (It was a different day and age back then. To say the least, the religious community had a hard time accepting that we were sharing this transformative wisdom with the world). The bottom line is that the father refused to give the water, so Shimon went down the street to a corner store where he was graciously received. He then went on his way.
Fast forward to the 6am, and Shimon gets a call from the young woman who is completely hysterical in tears. "My father passed away in his sleep!" she said between wails. Shimon, of course, was shocked. The whole situation had been very unusual and intense from the start.
When Shimon eventually told me what had happened, I couldn't help but wonder if the Universe had been giving that man a chance to change his destiny through a kind deed. Because that is what our actions of true sharing do: alter our destiny. I guess we will never know for sure, but the lesson remains: In this life, let us tread carefully lest we be so caught up in ourselves that we miss the opportunities that the Creator puts in front of us to be of service to others. I'm not saying we need to share 24/7, but rather to be open and aware when the chance arises. We can alter the way our life looks in a split second. It is through those small yet uncomfortable openings we get that we can access channels of Light that were closed to us before.
While it is easy to be deluded into thinking that our time here on earth is about getting what we want or appearing a certain way to other people, we've got to keep our eye on the bigger picture. I have met many people with tremendous amounts of money who are depressed or not fully satisfied. I have also seen kids on the street in the poor neighborhood kicking a tin can in the street and their eyes are filled with light and joy. The reason is that when it comes right down to it, fulfillment has nothing to do with what we have or don't have. Nor does it have anything to do with how learned we've become. Fulfillment is the result of constantly striving to be better human beings.
This week, remain ever open to go outside of your comfort zone to lend a hand when the opportunity arises.