Rising Above the Darkness
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Rising Above the Darkness

Karen Berg
December 1, 2011

In this week’s Bible reading, Jacob travels from the most powerfully positive land of Israel to a most negative land called Haran. We know that the journey was long and difficult and that there were many obstacles along the way. But according to the kabbalists, Jacob needed to go through this process to be able to reach his potential. In other words, to complete both his physical and spiritual work, he had to leave Israel and go into negativity.

On the road of our life, we don’t often anticipate that sometimes, like Jacob, our process needs to have complications—things that get in our way. But why must it be this way? Because essentially, the more difficult the process, the more capable the individual, the stronger the Vessel, and the higher the individual can climb on the ladder of spirituality. Each and every one of us has been put in the exact right situation to become the brightest light possible. Every difficulty we experience is an opportunity for us to climb the next rung. But we need to pay attention to those things that are around us so that we can grow from them.

All of us, including myself, are very spiritual when things are right. But when things are wrong, everything goes out the window. We throw over the bucket. We throw all the notes on the floor. We scream, “Help, help!” Take a good look at your life. When things are not what they are supposed to be, how do you react? How certain are you in your spiritual path? Do you understand that why you are here and all you are is your ability to climb that mountain?

Life here on this earth is Haran, and it’s a life often shrouded in veils of negativity. In fact, in a world where chaos—from earthquakes to massive flooding to unemployment, terrorist attacks, and war—is rampant, we may wonder if there is any sure way to be protected from this negativity. Well, there is, but it is up to us. According to the kabbalists, only via our positive actions, via our ability to share with others, do we have the power to create a spiritual shield that can protect us from anything negative that crosses our path. Why? Because we live in the world of manifestation, a world where the Creator is revealed through our positive deeds.

We often ask to see God as a benefit to us, to feel His presence. But all too often in our searching, we overlook the opportunities to experience the Creator that are right in front of us. Let me share with you a story that illustrates this idea.

There was once a man who was told that God would be revealed to him that night. Thrilled at this incredible prospect, this guy rushed through the streets to his home. On the way, he found a young boy on a wayward path, so he stopped and brought him along. A few steps later, he saw a starving beggar and gave him something to eat. Finally, however, he reached his house and eagerly waited to see the Creator. The hours passed, and nothing happened. And so he pleaded, “God!! What happened to the promise? Where are You?” Immediately, the Creator answered, “What do you mean? I was in the boy and I was in the beggar.”

This week, let’s remember that the Creator often comes to us in the form of someone we can help or a situation in which we can be of service. We must understand that these are our opportunities to build our Light, to bolster our protective shield, to give us the strength to remember that we are totally capable of rising above what’s going on in our lives, no matter how negative those things may seem.