celebrating future independence

The Kabbalists describe some of the steps involved in creating spiritual vessels. One of the major components is that at some point the light must be removed from the vessel, this emptying out of the vessel is a crucial step in the formation and completion of the vessel. Only after the vessel is completed can the light, the contents, be returned to the vessel. This is a very abstract understanding of a very vague phenomenon, but we see how it plays out in a number of ways: We learn in the midrash that a child in the womb learns all of Torah, only to forget it when s/he is born, necessitating the re-learning of the Torah from scratch. On it's face this midrash is weird. Why would HaShem be so evil as to teach us something, make us forget it and then learn it again? When we look with the eye of a Kabbalist we can see that this 'forgetting' of Torah is the emptying of the vessel. It is only the learning and consequent forgetting in the womb that completes the vessel that is us. Only after forgetting all of Torah are we able to properly absorb and contain the Torah.

Another midrash offers a similar tale, this time however it is about Mosheh Rabbeinu. On Har Sinai, each day HaShem gave him over the whole Torah, yet each day Mosheh Rabbeinu would forget it all. Each morning they would start anew. Finally on the last day, HaShem gave over to Mosheh Rabbeinu the whole Torah as a gift and only in such a way was he able to receive it. We certainly can't understand the magnitude of HaShem's gift to Mosheh Rabbeinu, but we can see the learning and forgetting that took place as a sort of clarifying Mosheh Rabbeinu as a vessel that was fit to receive the whole Torah. When he came down from the mountain his face was glowing.

I'm sure we all often wonder what's the point of living in Olam HaZeh, only to die and then to be reanimated in Techiath HaMaytim, the resurrection of the dead? In this new light we can see death as the final completion of the body as a vessel to contain Godliness. This is perhaps why even after 120 years of perfect service Mosheh Rabbeinu still needed to go through the process of death.

Perhaps this even touches on Adam HaRishon, why was Man created as one male and female? why then was Chavah taken out of Adam and then returned to him?

This simple abstracted teaching touches on so many different questions on so many different levels, but heeding the words of our Rabbis, a wise person sees what is yet to be born. (Ezehu hacham haroeh et haNolad) There's a story about the Chabad hasidim, on the day the first Chabad Rebbe was imprisoned by the Russian government, the hasidim threw a great celebratory feast. Why, you might ask? Because they were celebrating the certainty that he would be successful and would be released. When we understand this basic idea, that it is only the removal of the light that perfects the vessel, then we can begin to see the beauty and promise in the deepest lack, the most broken heart.

It is for this reason, and with admiration and recognition to those faithful Chabad hasidim, that I propose celebrating this Yom Ha'atzmaut like we never have celebrated it before. Not celebrating the event that happened 60 years in our past, but rather celebrating, in the height of the current darkness, the independence of the Land and People of Yisrael when HaShem (may it be swiftly in our days) returns to us the light which we so sorely lack.

Everything hangs in the balance, and tomorrow we could lose it all. But we know with absolute certainty what will be in the end, a time of celebration and rejoicing beyond compare. And, if we truly know it, why not celebrate now? Why not show HaShem how deep and strong our Emunah is today?

This is the lesson of Hesed b'Tifferet; the kindness HaShem gave us clothed in the Beautiful Torah.


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