This article on the portion of the week was originally published in 2017.
“If I do all that I am supposed to do -- pray, study, and attend services each weekend – why don’t I feel the Light?”
This question was asked of me recently. It’s one I think many of us, regardless of our religious or spiritual paths, have asked from time to time, and so to best answer it I would like to share a little about my personal life with Rav Berg.
"The best place to find the Light is in the hearts of others."
When we first started our journey together, Rav Berg was very different from the man he later became. He was a very religious business man – scholarly and determined, and at times also hard. The softness and love the world came to see in the Rav’s eyes didn’t come until much later. It was not there until The Kabbalah Centre changed from being a place of study to a place of connection. To be honest, people changed the Rav. The Rav did not become the Rav until there was you.
At first the Rav did everything a teacher/scholar was supposed to do, but “supposed to” doesn’t always equate to feeling the Light. While study is so important, it is only part of the spiritual journey. The rest is applying what we learn to our connections with others. I believe the best place to find the Light is in the hearts of others. And it is for this reason that we study, to assist us in learning how to love each other.
"Every interaction is an opportunity for us to learn how to love."
It’s interesting to note how this lesson correlates to this week’s portion, Vayechi. The story begins with the words: And Jacob lived. We know that Jacob had two names. Jacob was the name given to him at birth, and therefore it was the name that grounded him to the world of physicality. Jacob’s second name, Israel, was later given to him by the Creator Himself, and as such it represented his connection to the spiritual world. Surely this great patriarch “lived” for the spiritual, not the physical. Why wouldn’t the verse read: And Israel lived?
The Zohar explains that Jacob was the bridge between the material world and the supernal one. The physical world and the people who crossed his path provided the playing field upon which Jacob practiced and perfected his own divine nature and his connection with the Light.
This is a beautiful week to discover new ways to integrate spiritual principles into your life. What that looks like for each of us is different, but for the Rav and I, this always meant being active in seeking ways to open ourselves and the Centres to more and more people.
The people we encounter everyday are in our lives for a reason. How many times have you heard this, how many times have I said it, and yet it bears repeating until it becomes a part of us. Every interaction is an opportunity for us to learn how to love. To answer the question posed above, this is how we can come to feel the Light, by caring for and loving the Light’s many and varied creations.