We learn from Rav Ashlag in Ten Luminous Emanations that the way we receive the Light of the Creator in our world is very different than the way it was in the Endless World. In the Endless World, the Light of the Creator shined whether or not we deserved it - the Creator gave and we received. Our world was then created because we wanted the opportunity to perfect ourselves through earning the Light. In our reality, we earn the Light through transforming our selfish Desire to Receive for the Self Alone into a Desire to Receive for the sake of giving pleasure to the Creator.
"Or Makif or Surrounding Light is Light that we have not earned."
After the Creation, there is now a barrier between us and the Light. This barrier is the basis of any lack of fulfillment we have in our lives. We usually think of a barrier as something stopping us from getting what we want. But Rav Ashlag teaches us that the barrier is actually our selfish Desire, and that barrier is only removed to the degree that we no longer want for ourselves. The barrier is an exact measurement of how much we Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. The more selfish our Desire, the stronger that barrier. The only Light that can come into our lives is Light that we receive solely with the intention to give pleasure to the Creator.
As we study Ten Luminous Emanations and begin to understand these concepts, Rav Ashlag introduces us to an incredible exception to the rule – the concept of Or Makif, or “Surrounding Light.” This is Light that we have not earned. There are two types of Or Makif. The first is our potential – the Light that we can receive if we fully transform our Desire. For instance, if I enjoy receiving only for the sake of giving pleasure to the Creator 10% of the time, I only receive 10% of the Light, and the other 90% shines as Or Makif.
The second form of Or Makif is an even deeper form that shows us the love of the Creator. It is the Light that shines on us, even though we do not deserve it. Even in our unmet potential or in complete selfishness, still the Light of Or Makif shines on us. How does this concept work? How do we receive it if we don’t deserve it? It doesn’t make any sense! Either we deserve the Light or we don’t. It doesn’t fit in any of the laws of which Rav Ashlag or the Ari speak.
This illustrates what is such a beautiful secret about the nature of the Creator. The Creator cannot help Himself from sharing with us – he loves us too much! The Creator knows if He gave us everything, we would enjoy it so much, we would choose not be selfless. So, He agrees to allow us to earn the Light. But He still gives us a gift from the perfection of the Endless World. Although there is now a barrier between us and the Light in this reality, the rules of our world do not apply to the Or Makif – it is from the world beyond. The Or Makif is more than just an incredible blessing. It is a sign of the great depth of the Creator’s love for us.
"It motivates us to transform."
The Or Makif manifests many ways in our lives. Every once in a while, we have these moments of realization. We know that an understanding or feeling we experience is not something we have earned, but is something from beyond. That is the Or Makif.
An example of this is the feeling of inspiration we get when we begin our spiritual work. You may notice that often people are excited when they first start studying spirituality. After a while, the real work starts, and then they lose that excitement - they start dropping off and stop growing. When a person begins his or her spiritual work, the Creator shines to him Light he doesn’t deserve from the Or Makif. It is a powerful taste of the Endless World. But that feeling of excitement can’t last. Why? Because it is not coming from something they’ve earned. It is the shining of the Or Makif. Still, the Or Makif is so necessary to our process, because without it, we have no hope, especially in the beginning of our work. It is the driver of our change – it motivates us to transform.
It is almost comical to think that we had this great idea in the Endless World that we were going to cut ourselves off from the Light of the Creator in order to earn the Light. It would never have worked without the Or Makif! Without the Or Makif giving us a taste of the Endless World, we would never awaken our desire to receive the Light. The plan was so flawed that without the Creator’s abundance of love, we would not be able to transform.
This should give us an incredible appreciation of the Or Makif. Every time we have an understanding or connection that is beyond us, we must thank the Creator for shining the Light of the Or Makif upon us, because we do not deserve it! It is a gift that the Creator slipped into this whole process of transformation. This is the beauty of this concept. It shows us the unconditional love of the Creator.
*Adapted from Michael Berg’s Ten Luminous Emanations lesson 34