Pay it Forward: Become a Supporter of the Work. Learn More
There is an interesting section in the Midrash which has to do with both the portion of Bamidbar and the holiday of Shavuot. It says in the Talmud that on the first day the Israelites arrived at Sinai, Moses didn’t tell them anything because they had what is called “weakness from the road.” What is this weakness from the road? It explains that this is the power of Amalek, the power of giving up, the understanding or the thought that we can’t make it or don’t merit it.
So, let’s be clear about what’s going on here. This is after the Israelites went out of Egypt, after the Splitting of the Sea, after they traveled through the desert. They come to Sinai after fifty days, and they see the fire burning on top of the mountain. But on the last day as they’re about to come to Sinai to receive the Light of the Tree of Life, of Bila HaMavet LaNetzach, they give up. It’s like somebody who’s been on a boat traveling from one coast to the other for months, but suddenly when he sees that he is 100 feet from land, gives up, which is ridiculous; if you’re in the middle of the ocean and don’t see any coast or any land, that’s the time to give up, not when you’ve traveled for months and see the coastline from 100 feet away. What’s the logic of giving up then? It doesn’t make any sense.
The Shemi Shmuel explains that the Israelites - who had a tremendous amount of understanding and consciousness - were using logic. They thought if they were going to connect to the Light of removal of pain and suffering and death from this world, they have to be very pure, very holy, and very connected. They saw that this great revelation was supposed to happen the next day, and said, “Look where we are. We’re not ready for it.”
If Moses would have told them they had another 100 days, they wouldn’t have given up, because they’d think, “In 100 days, we’ll grow and change. We’ll do the spiritual work. We’ll be ready.” But right now, when they’re supposed to receive a connection to Bila HaMavet LaNetzach the next day, they say, “We’re not ready. We know how far we are. We know how much more we have to change.”
This thought - and it’s something that happens to us all the time - is a terrible mistake.
Sometimes we are not able or willing to accept things, because logic comes in, like it does here. The Creator says, “Tomorrow you’re going to receive Bila HaMavet LaNetzach.” What does logic say? “One second. Let me think about this. Where am I? Have I grown enough? No, I’m not ready.” And that thought messed things up then, as it does for us all the time now. There’s a point at which we’re supposed to say to ourselves, “It doesn’t make any sense, but I have certainty beyond logic that I’m going to receive that Light.”
Often in life, consciously or subconsciously, we diminish both in action and thought the work that we do because we think we’re not ready; if a great righteous person prays for another person, for example, it makes sense. It’ll heal them. It’ll bring a tremendous amount of Light. It can create miracles. But, me? Maybe I’ll work for another year and then I’ll be at a higher level and then my prayers will be able to influence. No; prayers can influence now. All the tools we have can bring Light and blessings and miracles now. Don’t fall to the logic of Amalek, the logic of the Negative Side.
The kabbalists say that if enough people had certainty that Mashiach - the ending of pain, suffering and death - would come, then it would come. But what happens? Logic comes in; “I don’t deserve, we don’t deserve, the world doesn’t deserve.” Don’t be logical. Don’t be smart about what we deserve, what you deserve, what the world deserves. It can come. The tools that we have are strong enough. The Light that we’ve revealed is enough. We have to have certainty beyond logic. It’s a tremendously important understanding.
The reason why too often we do not push ourselves completely into our spiritual work is because we have these logical, lying thoughts of Amalek that say things like, “I know that Shavuot can bring Bila HaMavet LaNetzach. I know that the Zohar can bring an end to pain, suffering and death… But I’m not there yet. Give me another month. Give me another year. Give me another five years. Then I’ll be at the place where my work can manifest it.” This is what happened to the Israelites, and that’s why, unfortunately, we’re all still there. Amalek still has this logical hold on us.
The Negative Side is very smart. It tells us why we’re not ready. But we have to be clear on the Shabbat of Bamidbar. As we prepare for Shavuot, we have to awaken within ourselves the certainty that the connection we make now can reveal all the Light. This Shavuot can reveal Bila HaMavet LaNetzach. We need to push out all logic.