I came across some teachings for the week of Vayetze, some of which I’ve seen before, that are really the type of teachings that make one’s soul happy. And I think if we can connect to these teachings, they are not only very joyful, but can also give us new insight into how to live our lives and pursue our spiritual work.
One of these teachings is from the Ramchal, the great kabbalist who wrote a commentary on the Idra Rabba, the Great Assembly, a section in the Zohar where Rav Shimon Bar Yochai reveals all the secrets. Idra Rabba is also, as we know, the name of the cave in Israel where these great revelations occurred. The Ramchal writes a commentary on that section, and on page 107 in this commentary, explains the concept of time. In talking about the creation of this world, the Zohar uses the term “time,” as in describing the time after something happened, the continuation of the process of creation. However, Rav Ashlag explains that in the spiritual realm, time as we know it – chronological time – does not exist. So, the Ramchal wants to explain what it means when the Zohar tells us that in the process of creation, there was time.
As both Rav Ashlag and the Ramchal tell us, there is no time in the Upper Worlds; in the Upper Worlds, there’s only Light. However, in the process of the vessels, or receiving Light, there’s a concept of time… but not time as we know it. So, what is the secret of time? It is that every day and moment we live is another piece in the puzzle of our soul’s correction. Every single day is unique. So, the Ramchal is saying that it’s not just about understanding that every single day, if we live the day as we’re supposed to, if we connect as we’re supposed to, if we restrict as we’re supposed to, then we correct or elevate that day.
The Ramchal uses a visual here I like. He says every day we need to open up a pipeline of Light. It’s such a beautiful way to view our spiritual work. We should imagine that today’s pipeline is big, and so it takes a few turns of the faucet to open it up. Like a faucet, we open it once and maybe a little trickles out, then you open it more, and more starts coming out. As such, in the morning when we wake up, our consciousness needs to be that today we want to start opening up the pipeline, the channel of Light that will shine to our soul and to the world forever.
And actually what happens, the Ramchal says, is that we are constantly being showered by Light from the pipelines that we opened up in previous days. Which means that if we open up a channel to its complete force today, that Light starts flowing down to us, and the world, today and forever. I think it is such a beautiful and inspiring understanding about the purpose of our spiritual work and view of our daily work. What is the purpose of the totality of today’s connections? Turning that faucet on, and if we turn it and open it completely, then that Light shines on us and to the world, today and forever.
So, if we had a view of our soul, and assuming we’ve lived hundreds of thousands of days, within most of which we’ve opened up the faucets to some degree, then we multiply those days by 365, and that is the amount of faucets a person needs. It’s like having a big showerhead with many different streams of water coming down. And that’s actually the view of the soul; the soul we’re building is our own spiritual shower and the totality of it is the amount of days and years that we’re given in which we open up one faucet, then another, and another.
It’s obvious to most of us on the days when we didn’t really open up the faucet completely, and we’re feeling spiritually thirsty. But today, and every new day, we have the chance to open up the faucet, and then the beauty of that spiritual work is these faucets remain open. We open up the faucet, and it remains open, satiates us, and shines down on us from that moment on until forever, for ourselves and the world, because this is the spiritual order of the work. The purpose of the spiritual work is to open up the faucets of Light to shine down onto our soul. And that Light that shines down onto our soul isn’t just for our own self, but also, it continues shining on the rest of the world. Which means that the channel of Light we opened up yesterday didn’t just shine for us for yesterday, but also, it continues to shine for both the world and ourselves from that moment on, and forever.
The amount of days a person is given to live, the Ramchal says, is the exact amount of streams of Light he needs to open up and fix. And the point is that the amount of days we are given is the amount of little streams of Light we are meant to open. But the amount of days we have is the amount of forces, the amount of streams and channels that we need to open. And when we complete that process, we complete the purpose for our soul coming into this world. Then, what happens when a soul leaves this world, when somebody has completed his correction? He goes to the Upper Worlds and keeps on being fed by the channels of Light that he opened up while in this world, and then those channels of Light are shining upon him, and they will shine on him for every moment, forever.
This is what Immortality means, this is what eternity means. How do we achieve Immortality? Immortality, the soul as it’s connected to the body, needs to have a certain amount of Light flowing to it to keep it sustained forever. Now, if we only have 70% of those pipelines open, we don’t have Immortality; we need to open up another 30%. But when a person opens 100% of the channels that his soul needs, then it’s eternity, it’s Immortality. Therefore, unfortunately, the reason people do not achieve Immortality is because in a lifetime span he doesn’t open up all the channels he needs to open. And our job is to open up enough faucets for eternity, enough channels of Light, for ourselves forever. We haven’t done that yet, and until we do that, we cannot live forever.
The Ramchal says this is the concept of eternity in this world: we open up one channel of Light, and another, and another. And to come back to the topic of time, he says that when a person completes his spiritual task, then he elevates to the realm beyond time. Because time, he’s explaining, is the one opening of a channel, and then another, and another, because in this body, the soul cannot open all of them at once. But once a person completes that process, he goes beyond the realm of time, because he has enough Light to be sustained forever.
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