Transform lives through a gift to the Karen Berg Scholarship Fund. DONATE NOW
There is a beautiful section at the end of the Zohar portion for Emor, in which Rav Shimon bar Yochai says, "People do not know, do not see, do not pay attention. When the Creator created man, and flowed down all the Light and blessings to Adam, the Creator wanted one thing. He wanted man to be completely unified and connected to the Light of the Creator, that there should not be any change, that there should not be anything that goes wrong.”
The Creator created man for one purpose, and Rav Ashlag speaks about it at length in The Introduction to the Ten Luminous Emanations (published as And You Shall Choose Life): to achieve complete connection to certainty in the Light of the Creator. Everything is connected to the level of certainty that an individual awakens. When it said the Tree of Life was in the middle of the Garden of Eden, it means the Creator said to man, "I need one thing from you. My desire for you is for the Light to flow to you all the time, my desire for you is to be in singularity of connection to the Light of the Creator, and that has to come with certainty."
But Adam, man, and ourselves, still continue to go off the path of certainty, and we left the Tree of Life. We left the total connection to the Light of the Creator, and people choose, still to be connected to the Tree that changes from good to bad. We therefore fall from the highest levels to the lowest levels, and unfortunately, become connected to constant changes all the time - sometimes good, sometimes bad. Because the most elevated level is a singularity, one that never changes. This is what it says, that in the original Creation, we are meant to be straight, but man, unfortunately, wants all kinds of calculations, and leaves the path of the Tree of Life to go towards the path of Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil.
So, the Zohar here is telling us that connection to the Creator is singularity. The singularity of connection, the singularity of attaching ourselves to the Light of the Creator, is one. So what does it mean to be one? For all of us who are on the spiritual path, spiritual work is important to us. Certainty is important to us. But there are other things that are important to us, too. Once there are other things that are also important, that is the Tree of Knowledge; this person is doing this to me, this person is doing that to me. All the things that also are important to us take us off of the path of the Tree of Life, and connect us to the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil. Therefore, it has to be our understanding that if we want to be on the path that connects us to what the Zohar calls the singularity of connection, there cannot be other things involved.
This does not mean that we do not live in the physical world and can’t enjoy things. But as far as things that are important, things that take up our thoughts, that bother us and upset us, then we connect to the Tree of the Knowledge, Good and Evil. Being connected to the Tree of Life means we are singular, there is only one thought in our mind at all times: What am I doing to connect to the Light of the Creator and to achieve the singular connection? Any other thought takes us off.
The Zohar says we choose this every day. We leave the singular tree, the tree we can only connect to when our consciousness is singular and when the only thing that is important to us is our connection to the Light of the Creator. We can do a lot of spiritual work, we can do a lot of study, we can read a lot of Zohar, and still not be connected to the singular state, because it has one essence. It is singular, meaning that a person can only connect to it when he is in a singular state.
What does it mean to be in a singular state? It means my connection to the Light of the Creator is all I care about. When a person starts thinking about all these other things that are important to him except his connection to the Light of the Creator, the Zohar says he leaves the singular Tree of Life and connects to the Tree of Knowledge, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. That Tree could also have spiritual work, wisdom, and some connection to the Light of the Zohar. But he lost the Tree of Life, because we cannot be connecting to the singular Tree of Life when our minds are filled with other things, as well.
The Creator says, "I made man to have a singular consciousness." Again, this does not mean that we do not live in the physical world and do not enjoy many things or have other thoughts; but when we talk about what bothers us, what is important to us, what really takes up our mind, this is what we are talking about. What is the most important thing to me? Nothing else distracts me, nothing else can upset me, or take me away from it. To the degree that we have the consciousness, as the Zohar calls it, of singular connection, then we are connected to the Tree of Life. But once we start thinking about other things that bother us and other things are important to us, we are leaving the Tree of Life, and we are already connecting to the Tree that has all kinds of other things, both good and bad.
Next time something happens that upsets us, that wants to take our important thoughts, we have to remember what the Creator is telling us. The way to be connected to life is singularity of consciousness, and the way to be connected to the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil is by all kinds of other consciousness. It is a life’s work, of course, but if a person pushes himself, consistently, to be singular in his consciousness, singular in his desire to connect to the Light of the Creator, then eventually, as the Zohar says, he can come to a state where he does not taste death. However, if he leaves that path, if he leaves the singular consciousness, then all kinds of death and darkness are part of that path.
The Zohar says as long as we do not maintain singularity of consciousness, sometimes good things will happen, sometimes bad things will happen. Sometimes things will be upsetting, sometimes things will be calm. Sometimes there will be judgment, sometimes there will be mercy. But we will not be able to maintain one connection to life, mercy, goodness, and peace. Because if we allow many different consciousnesses - this is important and that is important - then that is what we attach ourselves to. We have made the choice, "I am attaching myself to the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil.” The Zohar tells us that the Creator desires for us to have goodness, and tells us every day to stop eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Good and Evil, and to stop worrying about, or busying ourselves with, this and that.
We are not meant to be perfect, but in a week, in a day, how much of our mind is connected to the Tree of Life? Now that we have this understanding, the question we ask ourselves is: How much of my consciousness is only focused on my connection to the Light of the Creator, and how much of it is focused on other things? And when enough of us push for that, it is what brings change to the world. It is a very important section in the Zohar, and since it is revealed to us on Shabbat Emor, it means this ability for us to be awakened to a greater connection to the singularity of connection is available for us on this Shabbat.