Have you ever felt out of touch with yourself? This is a common feeling that travels to and fro, plaguing one person after the other. One day you feel you are at the top of your game, aware of your purpose, and the next day you’re dazed and confused! Rav Berg once explained that the reason we feel out of touch with ourselves is because every time we act upon our Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, we place a covering over our soul and feel disconnected as a result.
This week's portion, Naso, always closely coincides with the kabbalistic “wholly-day” known as Shavuot. Historically, Shavuot is known as the day the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai that took place roughly 3500 years ago. Kabbalistically, the Torah is not an account of historical events, but rather is an instrument the Creator provided us with to overcome our personal opponent. Rav Ashlag explains that within the Torah itself there is a “spiritual medicine” for the spiritual sickness all of us possess: the ego!
If you have been studying Kabbalah for a while, you probably already know that it is the ego that causes us to place covers over our soul, giving us the impression that we are disconnected from the Light, and it is there for a very good reason. It is only by overcoming our doubts, fears, and various selfish desires (manifestations of the ego) that we can truly be the cause and creator of our own fulfillment.
That is where this week's portion comes in. It is interesting to know that in the Zohar portion of Naso there is a unique and special section called the Idra Raba, or The Great Assembly. The Great Assembly is a revelation of great Light and secrets revealed by the author of the Zohar, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai, and 9 other elevated, righteous souls. The kabbalists credit this great revelation of Light to the great love and unity the 10 Chaverim, or friends, had amongst each other. This is a great secret.
Just as all of the people present on Mount Sinai had to accept the precept of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ to be able to receive the awesome energy of the Torah, so too did Rav Shimon and his companions have to achieve that same level of consciousness to reveal the greatest secrets of the Zohar!
In his book, The Wisdom of Truth, Rav Ashlag explains that there are two types of precepts that are written in the Torah: those that are between man and the Creator, and those between man and man. For instance, praying is considered an action between man and the Creator, while ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is a precept between man and man. Rav Ashlag explains that the precepts between man and man always take precedence over the actions that are between man and the Creator. Additionally, Rav Ashlag explains that all of the spiritual actions we do are merely tools meant to assist us in acquiring the ability to care more for our fellow man.
This does not mean that the spiritual tools we have gained from the kabbalists are not important. The Ana b’Koach, the 72 Names of God, and the various tools we have learned about in our study of Kabbalah are powerful and can provide us with the energy and strength necessary to transform our nature from one of Receiving for the Self Alone to one of Receiving for the Sake of Sharing. However, we must always remember that the prayers and connections we make are not the goal, they are the tool! Even caring for our fellow man is not the end; it is another means to an end, which is ultimately to cleave to the Creator (this is a very deep concept which you can further discuss with your teacher).
If we are able to connect to our true divine spark, that is when we can truly feel “in touch” with ourselves all the time. We can connect with the internal navigation system that knows our true purpose and which path is best for us as individuals. Indeed, when enough of us follow our soul's true path, we will awaken enough Light to change this world.
We learn from this week's portion the secret formula to reconnecting with our soul. The wisdom and tools of Kabbalah assist us in developing the ability to truly care for others as we care for ourselves. Applying the precept of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ is the stepping stone to cleaving to the Creator and the soul within.
This is how the Israelites were able to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai. This is how Rav Shimon and the friends earned the merit to reveal the Light of the Zohar. And this is how you and I can remove all of the veils that cover our soul, and achieve our true purpose this lifetime!