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The portion Va’era begins, “The Creator tells Moses, ‘I revealed myself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in one level of Light, one level of connection. But in this highest level of connection I did not make myself known to them.’” So, the kabbalists ask, what secret is the Creator giving Moses in that statement? And more importantly, what understanding do we want to receive from it?
"The Creator speaking through us."
To answer this, I’d like to share from the Pri HaAretz, the collection of teachings from Rav Menachem of Vitebsk; it is the one book Rav Brandwein studied each weekly portion from. It's a lengthy section, but I’m going to focus on one point that has to do with speech; specifically, speech that is of prayer and study. The original words of Rav Menachem of Vitebsk in Hebrew are very beautiful and powerful. He asks: “When every person is praying, do they think that it’s them who is speaking, who is saying the words of the prayer, the words of connection?” Because, Menachem of Vitebsk says, we have to be very careful not to do that.
While saying any words of prayer, connection, or teaching, our consciousness needs to be that it is not us who is speaking, but the Creator speaking through us. Our thought has to be that it is not our words coming out of our mouths, but rather, the words of the Creator. And if we're able to maintain the constant consciousness and awareness that it's not our mouth speaking or praying, but rather, it is the mouth of the Creator, then, Rav Menachem of Vitebsk tells us, we are creating a new world with every single word that comes out of our mouth in prayer, study, and teaching. Just as it says in Psalms that with the words of God the heavens and earth were created, so too, are we able to create a new world with every single word or prayer that we say if we’re able to remind ourselves that it is not us who is speaking, but the Creator speaking through us… imagine the difference between us asking for the Light of healing to be revealed, for example, versus the Creator asking for that Light! When we know that it is the mouth of the Creator speaking, and not us, then we are as powerful in that moment in creating our world. And in so doing, every word that we're going to say will be even more powerful than we can imagine.
"We are connected to the endless Light."
Therefore, Menachem of Vitebsk says if we simply have the consciousness that it is the Creator speaking through our mouths, then regardless of who we are or what spiritual state we are in, it is the Light bringing the healing, protection, or whatever it is we are praying for. Further, when a person does not involve himself in his speech, instead knowing that the Creator is speaking through his mouth, then he becomes connected immediately to the endless Light, and the Light simply flows through him. This is what Menachem of Vitebsk explains the secret of Shabbat Va’era is.
In the beginning of the portion Va’era, it says the difference between Moses and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was that Moses, on this Shabbat, was given the ability to become the mouth of the Creator, whereas Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, although they were at a very high level, were only able to draw healing through their own power, through their own mouths. As such, what occurs on Shabbat Va’era is the ability to connect Moses' mouth to the mouth of what's called the Yud Hei Vav Hei, the four letter Name of God, the endless Light of the Creator. We have to understand that Moses was a very powerful person, even before he received this gift on this Shabbat; he could awaken great Light, but not endless Light. So, what changed on Shabbat Va’era was that Moses was given the attachment of his mouth to the mouth of the Creator – the consciousness that Menachem of Vitebsk was speaking about, and that we now have the opportunity to receive, as well. It was first given to Moses, and now from Moses to all of us, to connect our mouths to the mouth of the Creator so that we can bring endless blessings.
We learn from this teaching how important it is that all of our speaking be done with this consciousness. We have to keep reminding ourselves when we’re praying, when we’re making our connections, when we’re reading the Zohar, when we’re teaching, that it is not our mouth that is speaking, but the mouth of the Creator. And if we're able to, as Menachem of Vitebsk says, practice this and train ourselves in this way, then we are connected to the endless Light, and our prayers, study, and teaching become infinitely more powerful.
On the Shabbat of Va’era, we are given the ability, simply with our consciousness, to connect our mouth to the mouth of the Creator, speaking words which can then bring endless Light.