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Never Be Satisfied

Michael Berg
October 28, 2020
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In the beginning of the portion Lech Lecha, the Creator is revealed completely to Abraham for the first time. However, the kabbalists teach that behind this story of revelation is a deeper process that Abraham went through, a process that holds within it a tremendous secret.

There is a parable used in the Midrash by the kabbalists that explains Abraham’s revelation. It compares Abraham to a person who is traveling from one place to another and suddenly sees a beautiful palace. He thinks to himself that this beautiful palace cannot possibly have come into being by itself; there must have been a builder, or somebody who commissioned the building of it. Then, the story tells us that in having the thought that there must be an owner of the mansion, the owner of the mansion shows himself and says, “I am the owner.”

So, too, it says Abraham was asking himself can it be that there is no Force that brought about this world? And because of that question, the Creator revealed himself to Abraham, and said, “I am the Creator of this world.”

The kabbalists teach that Abraham was going through a spiritual process. He wanted to know what the true spiritual path was, so he looked at human history. Human history up until his time was not that long, but still there were lessons to be learned. He looked at the generation of the Flood, who were a selfish, egotistical, separated people. They stole from each other and hurt each other. He looked at them and knew that a great destruction occurred; they all died. He knew that path could not possibly be the right path.

Then he thought about another time in human history called dor ha-pelaga, when humanity came together for the first time for the purpose of sharing. They were unified in language and desire. They all understood what it talks about in The Wisdom of Truth, Rav Ashlag’s book, that the only thing that can remain in this world is a path, a community, a world built upon the Desire to Share. But still, it said the Creator did not like that path either.

Abraham is confused. And he is thinking to himself day after day, week after week, month after month, that while it is pretty clear the generation of the Flood did not have it right, he cannot understand what the generation of what is called the dor ha-pelaga, the generation that was separated amongst the world, did wrong. They understood everything that is right. They understood that it is all about the Desire to Share, it is all about being unified, it is all about helping the other. Yet, he saw that if there is a Force in this world, that Force separated them, and so was clearly not happy with that path either.

What was missing? Abraham asks himself what the Creator wants; He does not want separation, but he does not, it seems, want unity either. Then, the Creator reveals Himself to Abraham, and for the first time in history somebody understood the secret that we are going to learn.

The Creator says to him that the generation of what is called the dor ha-pelaga, those who came together and understood that it has to be about sharing and unity, had it 99% right. Their desire was: “Let us become unified, let us live this spiritual life so that we can be settled, so that we can enjoy both this physical world and the spiritual world. Let us be satisfied.” However, when spiritual work is based on a desire to be satisfied with it, it is only 99% right. And the 1% that is left will never lead to the end. Because what is the Light of the Creator? The Light of the Creator is Endless. And if you are satisfied on any level, either physically or spiritually, you are not connected.

Now, this does not mean that we should not be happy with what we have. It does not mean that we should not be appreciative of what we have. When we receive a great blessing, yes, be happy and appreciative of it. But, how much further do we want to go? How much greater is our desire?

The problem of the dor ha-pelaga, as is revealed to Abraham on this Shabbat, is that they forgot the consciousness of Endlessness. Their desire in their spiritual work was to build unity, to build a world based on the Desire to Share, based on taking care of everybody else. Everybody should be satisfied, everybody should have what they need. But then what? They forgot the purpose of the Creation of this world was not that everybody be satisfied; the purpose of the Creation of this world was that everybody has everything Endlessly, both in physical nature and in our consciousness, connection, and spiritual blessings.

That was their mistake. And that is the consciousness Abraham achieved on this Shabbat.

Think about yourself. Does this desire burn within you? Is this what drives everything about your life? The answer, for most of us, is no. All of us have some level of – “Okay, this is where I want to get to, this is what I want to achieve, this is what I want to have. I got this, this is great… I would like a little bit more.” But almost none of us live within the consciousness of the Endless World.

And if we do not live within that consciousness, we are not connected to the Endless World. Therefore, even though the generation of what is called the dor ha-pelaga had it 99% right – they were spiritual, they were connected, they were doing the spiritual work, their desire was to share, their desire was to build a world based on the Desire to Share – they forgot one thing: that it is about the Endless World. It is about an Endless desire, an Endless manifestation. That is where they fell. But Abraham did not fall there, because he knew there always has to be more.

Certainly the path of the generation of the Flood was wrong; selfishness is not the way. But also, simply creating a comfortable physical or spiritual structure is not the way either. It needs to be connected to a constant consciousness of the Endless World, which means that whatever we are creating has to be based on eternity, has to be based on the fact that there is always more - more consciousness, more connection, more understanding, more blessings.

Abraham knew that compared to the wisdom he understood, the wisdom the Creator can still give him, the Endless wisdom, is so much more. Abraham had the clarity that whatever he thought he understood, compared to the Endless understanding, is nothing. And because of that, it is the gift of this Shabbat: Never be satisfied.

We are not connected to the consciousness of the Endless World. Therefore, we do not have the vessel for true blessings. Abraham, in every second of his life, desired the deeper understanding, the deeper connection, and the deeper blessing, because he knew it existed. One of the greatest gifts of this Shabbat is a gift that is beyond where most of us are: asking to have the constant consciousness to be able to comprehend that everything we have and understand, compared to the Endless blessings and Endless World, is nothing. As such, we desire a true connection to the Endless World, and when the greatest blessing comes, we will not be satisfied, because we know there is a greater blessing in the Endless World.