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Have you ever wondered why designer clothes are more popular than no name clothing?
I mean if most of us had our choice about it and we could wear any great designer name or label on our clothing, even if it was just a T-shirt, wouldn't we?
Today, you can walk into a designer store and buy a T-shirt for well over $200 because of the label. So what's in a name? Why are some people willing to pay so much just to have someone else's name on their clothing?
What if we could have clothing that was designed by God? How much would we pay?
What's really interesting is that this week’s portion, Tetzaveh, is very unusual inasmuch as from the moment that Moses enters the Bible story in the beginning of Exodus, his name is mentioned in every single portion. Except this one.
Moses is simply referred to as "you".
As it is written (verse 20, chapter 27 Exodus) "And You (Moses) shall command... "
The Bible story this week is almost a carbon copy of last week’s portion of Terumah. Almost word for word, there is a similar description of the building of the tabernacle. However, in addition there is also a discussion of the various accoutrements of the high priest and the tools that he would use in the tabernacle. And there is a very detailed discussion of his clothing. A special hat and apron, a breast plate, and other things. All designed by God himself!
So what is so special about clothing? Our teacher of blessed memory, Rav Berg, used to say that this portion operated on a very personal level to all of us, because clothing is a very personal thing. It's the closest thing to our body. It's also very individual. Different people, different tastes, different desires, different clothing.
The Rav also taught that the kabbalists explained that clothing has a much deeper meaning. There is also a concept of spiritual clothing.
It says that when Adam, the first man, was born, he had a special type of clothing that protected him from all forms of negativity be it physical or spiritual. He was protected from any form of harm from animals as well as negative angels or entities. He had a full and complete protective shield. However, after the sin of Adam and the fall of his stature to a lower level, he lost this special protective clothing. He no longer enjoyed the benefit of that protective shield that he once had. The dynamic changed for Adam as he was given to work the land and eat bread by the sweat of his brow. This is all a code, of course, for all of us to understand that we need to work and earn our bread, our sustenance, and our protection. All forms of energy must be earned. It must be earned spiritually, emotionally and/or physically.
When we rise in the morning we have a set of 18 blessings that assist us in restoring our soul back to our bodies from the night’s sleep. Two of those blessings are, 1) Blessed are you who clothes the naked, and 2) Blessed are you who gives strength to the weary.
Rav Isaac Luria (The Ari) explains that these two blessings are to assist us in restoring our spiritual clothing on a daily basis because of our weak spiritual nature; negative actions or what we would call our reactive or selfish, ego consciousness. When we are reactive we weaken or loosen our clothing, our protection shield. When we do our spiritual work we strengthen it.
This is the power of spiritual clothing. When we are reactive beings, we draw what is called Light of Wisdom from the Left Column of energy. That is called judgment. That means we draw a very high level of energy which we cannot handle. Sort of like putting our finger in the electrical outlet, it's too strong for us. Another example: if we are on a diet and we go for the instant gratification of chocolate cake, it's a high level of energy, but we can't handle it, so the joy and energy that we feel will turn into guilt and fat! While someone else might be wrong, if I sit in judgment of them – even if I feel justified – I will get energy, but not accomplish anything.
Being right for the sake of being right is called Left Column energy, or Direct Light. Again, we cannot handle this energy because it is too strong for us; therefore it's unproductive and has negative consequences.
Conversely, when we have the opportunity to have that chocolate cake and we restrict, and instead have a fruit salad, the energy is not as intense and it will come to us in a balanced way together with what is called the Light of Mercy, the Right Column.
We will keep the energy from eating that fruit salad and it will strengthen us.
The rule is that when we create the Light of Mercy by restricting our Left Column, this Light of Mercy "clothes" the stronger Light of Wisdom and enables us to handle the latter. Anytime we do a truly sharing action against our nature we are in fact creating spiritual clothing that enables us to handle the higher lights because it is no longer coming down directly upon us. And now we understand the secret of clothing.
This week, The Creator gives us a huge gift. Through the Torah reading, and through the Zohar scanning of this week’s portion, we are able to connect with the clothing of Aaron the High Priest, who is the essence of the Right Column, the Light of Mercy. The ultimate sharing force.
We can receive the ability to restore all of our spiritual clothing in full force. To connect with the same protective shield that Adam had. This is a huge opportunity.
We said that Moses’ name is not mentioned in only one portion – this one.
One may ask why?
The commentators explain that when the people built the golden calf, God told Moses that he would destroy all of them and start a new generation from Moses himself. Moses immediately responded, no, if you are going to destroy them then take me out of your book (the Bible).
The commentators say that because Moses said this, his punishment would be that he would not be mentioned in one portion, this portion of Tetzaveh.
The kabbalists explain there is another great secret here that we can benefit from: disconnecting from our own egos. The kabbalists explain that this week’s portion was a great gift that the Creator gave to Moses. Moses was the greatest prophet who ever lived, yet his name is not mentioned here. No matter how great we think we are, we need to be willing to remove our name, which means to disconnect from our own egos in whatever way possible. At the end of the day, all of the designer clothing in the entire world still has one ultimate designer behind all of the names and labels, and maybe especially the clothing which has no label at all. How do we feel about that label?
Chances are the more important the label is to us, the more important our own name is as well.
Perhaps we really need to learn that the ultimate designer has no name. The more we understand this, the less we limit ourselves and our own consciousness.
Moses reached the level where he was the greatest prophet whoever lived only because he completely disconnected from himself and became an absolutely pure channel.
This week is an awesome opportunity for all of us to take a step closer to this understanding and become pure channels to truly share ourselves with ourselves, our loved ones, and the people around us.