Sitting Outside the Camp

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Sitting Outside the Camp

Michael Berg
April 22, 2020

This week we have two portions, Tazria-Metzora, both of which deal for the most part with what do not obviously appear to be positive things. It talks about leprosy, which is a way, really, of understanding all disease, negativity, and darkness that comes to a person. So, it says, "When a person has leprosy, the individual is meant to sit outside of the camp." What does that mean for us?

It's a very important point that in the time of the Torah, a person who experienced leprosy was made to sit outside the camp. But the truth is that this reality exists for all of us, we're all sitting outside. When a person is able to come to the innermost point of connection, he or she experiences the totality of the Light of the Creator in every action they do. Which means, if someone is not at the innermost point, they are “sitting on the outside,” and not experiencing that total connection.

There may be two people, for example, who are trying to do spiritual work, and one of them feels the Light of the Zohar or the Light of Shabbat more than the other. Why is that? Why is it that some people feel it more, connect to it more? The answer is that when an individual acts in negative ways, thoughts, words, and actions, he makes a barrier around himself that separates himself from the Light of the Creator, and therefore separates himself from being able to feel, connect, draw, manifest the Light of the Creator; he, as such, keeps himself “outside.”

Therefore, we have to know that a reason we do not feel the same Light, fulfillment, and joy that Rav Shimon Bar Yochai felt in revealing the Zohar when we connect to the Zohar, or that the kabbalists felt in their study and connections, is because we have created this force field or shell around us that does not allow us to come close to the Light that is within these great tools. And that is why you will find that for every individual the level of excitement, connection, and joy that is experienced in the connections is different.

And there's only one reason why. It is because through our negative and selfish actions we have created a wall, a concept of what is called badad yeshev, the sitting outside of the innermost Light of the Creator. We are all meant to feel the endless Light in every connection we make. Every single time we do an action of sharing, for instance, we feel the endless Light in that action. So, knowing this, next time you have a choice to act in a way of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, stop for one second and say, "But if I do this, it means that in a minute, or in an hour when I want to make a connection and feel it, when I want to make a connection and truly connect to the innermost endless Light in that action, in that connection, I won't be able to." Remember – we, through every single action of selfishness, of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, whether in thought, word, or action, distance ourselves from being able to touch, to connect, to feel the endless Light in every action, in every connection.

Therefore, one of the great gifts of this Shabbat is to break down that barrier, to allow ourselves to come in and to connect and feel the Light of the Creator truly. Many of us, I think it could be said, have never really completely felt the totality of the Light of the Creator in any of the actions that we’ve done. And we have to understand why. We sometimes think, "Oh, maybe I don't understand enough, maybe I'm not connecting it. Why is it that I don't feel, connect, understand?" Only one reason: because through our actions of selfishness, of Desire to Receive for the Self Alone, we have built this barrier around ourselves and that Light, and therefore we can only touch a little bit of that Light. And as we find in the endless stories we read in the Zohar or in the writings of the kabbalists, there is no reason why in every single time we make a connection, or every single time we connect to the Zohar, we don't see the endless Light that is in there.

“He sits alone outside…” We're all sitting outside. We're all sitting outside - some of us more, some of us less - but we're all sitting outside. What we have to understand is why we're sitting outside. We have chosen, through our thoughts, words, and actions, to place ourselves outside and that is why we can't feel, that is why we can't connect. Yet, if we really start having the consciousness of, "I can't do that, I can't think like that, I can't speak like that, because when I make my connections, I want to get the totality of the Light that's in there for me. And I know that if I think, speak, or act in this way, I'm building another barrier and pushing myself further apart outside.”

It is an important gift that we receive on this Shabbat - the ability to have the strength to start breaking down that barrier, start going inside, start truly tasting, start truly connecting to the endless Light that is in every word in the Zohar that we read, and in every connection that we make… and because of that, truly being able to connect and receive the endless Light that is there waiting for us, but we're not allowing to manifest.