Ki Tisa

According to SeferAz Yashir Moshe (Meta-Jewish Torah)

When you are elevating the consciousness of Israel (Exodus 30:12)

According to the BeSHT and the Maggid, all prayer and aspiration should be for the sake of the Shekhinah. The Shekhinah literally means Divine Presence. But what exactly is THAT? Divine Presence is precisely the space-like all pervasive invisible yet conscious medium within which everything appears and exists (Sovev Kol Almin). Unlike the Buddhists, we don’t say that the Shekhinah is the “ALL,” rather THAT which we worship as SHE, the great Cosmic Mother, is the EVERYTHING that in Her inseparability from the ALL (Eyn Sof) completes the Totality of ALL and Everything (Eyn Sof and Or Eyn Sof).

Ki Tisa et Rosh Beney Yisrael: If you want to raise consciousness not just for yourself but for everybody, teach them to make their prayer practice a time for revealing the Shekhinah. As long as the Shekhinah remains only a concept (however lofty) signifying something separate from “you,” any uplifting of consciousness is limited and remains self-centered. That isn’t really prayer for the sake of the Shekhinah. But whenever one allows the self-centered conceptual mind to drop away (bittul) the always already present Shekhinah is revealed just as THAT which (SHE) IS.

The main disseminator of the BeSHT’s teachings, Yossele Katz, took this deeper. He said, whenever a person is immured in conceptual mind, one becomes very heavy. Everything is a struggle and requires a lot of effort. “Working our brains” is tiring and the entire body suffers and doesn’t function optimally as a result. But whenever the mind is empty and expansive (bittul), there is a power present that spreads lucidity and lightness throughout the entire body. This relaxed state is self-evident and all may experience it for themselves.

In the Zohar, Tzaddikim-in-training are called “agents of the Skekhinah,” because they are not working only for their own benefit, but for the sake of the Shekhinah Herself who is both pervasive and equally present in everyone (memale kol olmin), as is self-evident to all Her Lovers.

Tzaddikim-in-training recognize all others as limbs of their own body. When a Tzaddik-in-training through bittul reveals the Shekhinah (spontaneously, effortlessly, and immediately liberating the Shekhinah from “exile”), lightness spreads through all “the limbs,” because the body always reflects and follows consciousness.

If you want your prayer to elevate consciousness not just for yourself, but for the entire world, allow the Shekhinah to reveal Herself.

May it be so. May it be so.

Very likely, you may doubt your power to affect the consciousness of others merely as a consequence of your own bittul, i.e. merely through effortlessly allowing the clear Presence of the Shekhinah to manifest wherever you are. But RaSHI already taught us that the verse “I will empower with MY Grace whomever I choose” (Exodus 33:19) means that revealing the Shekhinah isn’t conditioned by any particular merit or absence thereof. Anyone can do it, because the Shekhinah IS what IS. Even when She IS in Exile, SHE is still Ising, only then no one knows WHERE SHE IS. And that is our biggest problem: we don’t even know WHERE to look for HER.

So the Rebbe Elimelekh adds, whenever anyone through the efficacy of her own bittul reveals the Shekhinah, there is so much Divine Joy in that clarity that even those who aren’t able yet to reveal the Shekhinah through the unobstructed transparency of their own bittul get a “contact high” from the pure energy of the revealed Shekhinah’s all-encompassing embrace!

The only pre-condition really is that in order to be sensitive enough to feel the Shekhinah’s embrace, one has to pay a price, which means to be effectively doing the practice of teshuvah. Practicing teshuvah effectively means mindfully observing oneself with enough clarity so as to be able to make skillful adjustments whenever one’s energy and behavior require it. That is the true meaning of “vidui,” (confession), being honest with oneself and acknowledging what conscience requires you to fix. Dedication to “fixing ourselves” empowers the Heart to have the capacity to be a vessel for storing yirat shamayim (literally “fear of Heaven). But it isn’t really like a battery charged with the energy of fear in any conventional sense. Yirat shamayim is the Heart’s innate capacity to manifest the attitude of devotion to the Shekhinah, which in its ultimate level blossoms as the highest form of Love and the many are revealed as ONE.

Since this is a leap year, we won’t reach the (ultimate) level of Purim for another month (Adar Sheni). Anyone familiar with the sequence of Torah readings knows that to get to Purim, we need to pass through Sheqalim and Zachor, “weighing” and “remembering.” Even though we have another month of practice before we come to Purim itself, in the Shabbat of KI Tisa, we are already preparing ourselves through the secret of the “half-shekel,” our half of the “bargain” we make with the Shekhinah. We can already do our half of the weighing now that renders ourselves “weighty” enough to receive and consciously experience the all-encompassing embrace of the Shekhinah, who will graciously pay off the rest of our debt. This price we pay, which is equal for everyone—is like a ransom that contributes to releasing the Shekhinah from exile.

“Nothing more extravagant is required of the wealthy nor are the impoverished excused from the necessity of paying their half of the ransom that helps raise up the Shekhinah from exile in order to ‘get themselves ready for Purim’ (le-khaper al nafshoteyhem). (Ex. 30:15). The Purim hint comes right in the following verse: mindful self-weighing is called the “currency of those who are preparing for Purim” (kesef ha-ki-PURIM). (Ex: 30:16). And it is this currency that makes us “memorable” and thus receptive to the energy radiating as the all-encompassing embrace of the Shekhinah that manifests directly through the effortless, spontaneous, pure-hearted bittul of the Tzaddiqim-in-training.

May it be so. May it be so.

Shabbat shalom blessings from Shekhinah Lover,

Moshe Aharon

Ki Tisa 5771