The main subject in this week’s portion, Bechukotai, deals with 98 curses that we can transform into blessings with the right consciousness. Listening to the Torah reading this Shabbat can help us build up our spiritual immune system against any negativity.
The kabbalists explain that our words manifest our thoughts, convert the ‘potential’ into ‘actual’, and affect the people around us.
In the Zohar portion of Bechukotai, volume 16 verse 5, it is written:
ת"ח, בָּלָק חַכִּים הֲוָה, וְרַב חַרְשִׁין בְּעוֹבָדֵי יְדוֹי, יַתִּיר מִן בִּלְעָם. וְהָכִי אוֹלִיפְנָא כָּל מַה דְּבָעֵי בַּר נָשׁ בְּהַאי עָלְמָא בְּפוּלְחָנָא דְּקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא, בָּעֵי לְאִתְּעָרָא בְּעוֹבָדָא לְתַתָּא. דִּבְעוֹבָדָא דִּלְתַּתָּא, אִתְּעַר עוֹבָדָא לְעֵילָּא, וְעוֹבָדָא דָּא בָּעֵי בִּקְדוּשָּׁה, וְהָא אוּקְמוּהָ. וּבַאֲתַר דְּלֵית עוֹבָדָא, אִית מִלָּה, וּבְמִלָּה דְּפוּמָא, תַּלְיָא עוֹבָדָא, לְאִתְּעָרָא לְעֵילָּא. כְּמָה דְּבָעֵינָן לְאִתְּעָרָא קְדוּשָּׁה עִלָּאָה, בְּעוֹבָדָא וּבְמִלָּה. הָכִי נָמֵי אִינּוּן דְּאַתְיָין מִסִּטְרָא דִּמְסָאֲבוּתָא, בַּעְיָין לְאִתְּעָרָא סִטְרָא דִּלְהוֹן, בְּעוֹבָדָא וּבְמִלָּה דְּפוּמָא.
Come and behold: Balak was wise, and the greatest sorcerer in his deeds; even more so than Bilaam. I have learned that when a man wishes for something from the works of the Holy One, blessed be He, it behooves him to arouse it through a deed below, since through the lower deed the upper deed is aroused. The deed below should be done in Holiness, as already explained. Where there is no deed, there is speech, and it depends upon word of mouth to provoke the deed above. As supernal Holiness should be aroused by action and speech, so should all those from the Side of Defilement arouse their aspect through action and word of mouth.
The Zohar refers to two characters, Balak and Bilaam, and how these two characters tried to destroy the Israelites using their metaphysical power of dark magic. Balak was known as a sorcerer and Bilaam used the power of the mouth – through cursing – in a negative way. It says that Balak knew that in order to manifest the job of negativity, he needed Bilaam – even though Balak was more powerful than him. The Zohar tells us that, without action or words, it is difficult for the energy of negativity to be manifested, so Balak needed Bilaam’s power of the mouth.
We can understand that in our own lives: when we try to connect in a positive way and to manifest positive deeds or actions or intentions, it is the power of the mouth – of the words we speak – that we use in order to manifest Light and positive actions.
How can we manifest positivity with the power of our words? There are many ways, including prayers, reading from the Zohar (especially pronouncing the Aramaic words of the Zohar), or simply complementing positive ideas with our friends. (If one has difficulty reading Aramaic, The Secrets of the Zohar book offers transliterated passages.)
On the flip side, we manifest negative energy with the power of words when we curse, complain, play the victim, scream at others, lie, and neglect to speak our truth.
The question is, what do we do when our reactive system is telling us to be negative and we have a hard time restricting?
Rav Berg always said, “Consciousness is everything.” The amazing tool we have for this is found in the proactive formula:
1 = An obstacle occurs.
2 = Realize your reaction is the real enemy.
3 = Shut down your reactive system and invite the Light in.
4 = Express your proactive nature by sharing.
This week’s portion can give us the power and the tools to remove negativity from our life by reading from the Zohar and applying the proactive formula.
Have a wonderful week!