Going into Exile

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Going into Exile

Michael Berg
July 20, 2020

Many great kabbalists used to go into what they call galut, or exile. They would leave their houses and travel from city to city taking no money with them, having nowhere to go and no way to eat. They just had to wait for people to invite them into their homes. They would do this because they knew in order to achieve greatness, they had to experience and internalize the pain in our world.

Most of us are not at that level, but we do have to understand the necessity and importance of working on feeling the pain in the world around us. We don’t do this simply in order to become spiritual, but in order to draw blessings and fulfillment into our lives; in order to connect to the Light of the Creator, we have to be consistently viewing and internalizing the pain around us. However, even though most of us don't have the opportunity or ability to go into galut and travel the world seeing the pain, we do have the ability to do more than we are doing now. And that is something we have to do if we want to connect to the tremendous opportunity that this month, the month of Av, or Leo, offers us.

The kabbalists teach that there is no greater - or difficult - opportunity to reveal Light than in the month of Av. One of the reasons for that is because of the strong paradox of negative and positive in this sign. Unique to Av is that the first half of it is considered to be negative, while the second half is considered to be one of the most positive of all the months. In fact, this month contains both Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av, the most negative day of the year, and Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, one of the highest connections of the year. Just from this, we see the dichotomy in this month. The first half is very negative. The second half is very positive. And this is a concept and understanding that is present in all of our lives. We learn from this, essentially, that within the pain is where we will find our fulfillment; within the negative is where we find the positive.

So, while it might be more difficult to reveal Light in Av than in any other month, the opportunity is there. And the most important and greatest tool that we have to develop in this month is the ability to feel the pain – to go into galut - especially when we don't want to. We have to remember that we do this not because we want to be spiritual, but because if we truly want to connect to the Light of the Creator, if we truly want to bring in the sustenance and the fulfillment that is ours, we have to develop this quality.

If we want to achieve the purpose for which we came into this world personally and globally, we have to make this tool a very important part of our daily lives. We know that the first step of the process is feeling the pain, but the second step is doing something about it. And every single one of us can do much more about the pain that is in this world than we are currently doing. The purpose of developing this ability to feel the pain around us is to then do something about it, and there is always something that we can do.