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The portion Mishpatim begins with the Creator telling Moses, “These are the laws, the rules, that you should put in front of them.” In the Zohar, Rav Shimon bar Yochai explains that here the Creator was actually asking Moses to explain the rules of reincarnation, and it tells us that he awakens the friends, students, and even us, saying, “Now is the time to reveal hidden secrets about reincarnation.” Then it is discussed that the Creator conveys to Moses the Revelation at Sinai cannot be understood without a deep understanding of reincarnation and that he needs to teach the Israelites about it. As such, Shabbat Mishpatim is the Shabbat when the secrets of reincarnation can be revealed.
Rav Shimon bar Yochai calls all the souls from the Upper Worlds to reveal these secrets, and Moses wants to be a part of this revelation, saying that every corrected person is meant to have control of the Upper Worlds and the Lower Worlds. However, this is, unfortunately, not the case with us, because when a person is already covered in klipot, negative shells, through his own actions of the Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone, every action that he does of selfishness becomes another layer around him.
We, through constant actions of the Desire to Receive for the Self-Alone, build heavier and heavier layers of klipot around ourselves, which bring us down; they are the reason we don’t have excitement or inspiration all the time, they are the reason we do not understand all that occurs around us, physically and spiritually. And here is the revelation: the Zohar says the secret is not only that we have the shells of this current incarnation, but that we also carry the shells of previous incarnations. What this means is that if we feel uninspired, sad, or lack, it is because the klipot are literally holding us down spiritually… but these shells are not just from this incarnation; they are also from previous incarnations. Therefore, if we push ourselves to share, we can correct not only the klipot from this incarnation, but also from previous ones - it is a very powerful understanding!
There are times when we are about to do something we know we shouldn’t, but have the desire to anyways; that desire is coming from shells of this incarnation, and, possibly, a previous one. So, if we fall, we not only damage ourselves anew, but we also miss making a correction for the last, or many, incarnations. Why? Because the Creator prepares situations for us every day with the opportunity to make a correction that we need – and not necessarily just for this incarnation, but for others, as well. This, therefore, helps us begin to realize the responsibility we have towards our soul in every action we do, all the time.
Part of the secret Moses reveals to us on Shabbat Mishpatim is that these shells separating us and pulling us down are not just from this incarnation; this gives us a true vision and understanding about our lives today as they relate to everything that has gone on with our soul until now. We understand that with both every positive action we do and every negative action we stop ourselves from doing, we correct not only this incarnation, but also previous ones. It is a powerful way to begin to view our spiritual work, physical work, and relationships. And if we ask for it, on Shabbat Mishpatim we can receive the strength and Light to grab the opportunities every day to correct what we need to; as we lift these heavy shells, we start to gain a new and direct connection with the Light of the Creator.