What happens in vegas stays in vegas

This common catch phrase of the modern day, "What happens in vegas stays in vegas," has a lot to teach us. I was thinking about it's analog (lehavdil) in Shabbath. About how one might say, and I have a tendency to lean that way, that what happens on Shabbath stays in Shabbath. Meaning Shabbath is completely divorced from the rest of reality and whenever I return there, I've forgotten everything else, it's my safe sanctuary from whatever else might be going on in the world.

But that isn't really what Shabbath is about, and that really isn't the way Shabbath works. In fact, our Shabbath experience is directly impacted by our preparation during the week. Likewise, our week hinges on our experience of the Shabbath that preceded it. In fact, there's a teaching of the Maor Eynayim (see: two is really just one) that explains that if we were to prepare for and keep one Shabbath properly, then all the following Shabbatoth would always work out nicely. This is a result of how much of an effect Shabbath has on the following week, and how much of an effect that week has on the following Shabbath. Once you get the ball rolling, Shabbath just gets better and better. 

This is the fundamental difference between a kli, a vessel, in kabbalah, and a klipah, a shell. A kli also means a tool, it contains in order to achieve some end beyond itself. An example might be a reservoir that stores water for an entire city, so that the city can draw off the water little by little as needed. A klipah, a shell or husk, receives but never gives back, it serves no purpose other than to receive. In biology we might describe a kli as a symbiote, while a klipah would represent a parasite.

When the Kabbalah discusses a mosquito it is viewed as the lowest of creations, because "it takes but does not give." The only creature below a mosquito is a human who chooses voluntarily to take and not to give. Otherwise, when a person is generous, choosing to receive from HaShem in order to pass on the goodness to all those in need, a human is the highest of all creations, even higher than the angels.

So, reexamining the motto, "What happens in vegas stays in vegas," we can see that the inherent values of vegas are those of receiving and keeping, without any interest in giving at all. Let's make sure all of our mitzwoth aren't vegas-style mitzwoth. May we learn in order to teach and to do, rather than just to know. May we act in order to reveal HaShem's light in the world rather than to receive reward.

May whatever we do with our lives make profound (as opposed to profane) waves in all our environs.

updated: If we stop to think about this a second more. The motto could be applied nicely to this world. What happens in this world, (olam ha'zeh) stays in this world. Whenever we do anything that has no bearing beyond the immediate now in olam ha'zeh, then that whole action stays in this world [forever.] When we focus our actions on transcending this world, [moving beyond ourselves] then our actions are always outside it, beyond it, and reach to the next world, the world to come, olam ha'ba.


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