What is a teacher, in the truest sense? Is it someone who dispenses information and wisdom? Is it one who instructs and guides, who poses questions and provides assignments to help us steer our knowledge? Or is it all of these, but something far more—something that goes beyond the dispensation or instruction... something ineffable that we take in not from assignments, but rather from being in the presence of our teacher?
For me, no one embodied a true teacher more than my teacher and father-in-law, the Rav Berg. October 7, or the 12th of Libra, marks 11 years since he left this physical world--what we call his “Day of Elevation.”
As the Rav often said, no true teaching can happen without a certain resistance. He used the example of electricity to illustrate this idea: One can pass energy through a lightbulb, but there will be no light without the resistance created in the bulb's coil. The Rav and Karen met with such resistance when, 40 years ago, they committed to bringing the ancient and heavily-guarded secrets of Kabbalah out into the world. But it was through this resistance that the light was able to shine into the corners of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary lives. That light was shared for the purpose of love. For community. For helping others find themselves. For spreading not just wisdom, but empowerment, understanding, connection, and love. The Rav wasn't a teacher just for what he brought. He was a teacher for who he was.