Kabbalistic Concepts

Breaking Down the Wall Between the Physical World and the World of Souls

At the start of the portion Chayei Sarah, Sarah, Isaac’s mother, leaves this physical world. Later, we have the story of Isaac finding his soul mate, Rebecca, which ends with a very interesting verse.  The verse says that Isaac finally finds consolation over the death of his mother. One of the things that is so interesting about this is that we don’t often find discussions about the emotions of the different righteous people, the patriarchs and matriarchs; however, here the Torah gives us a glimpse of the tremendous amount of pain Isaac was going through after his mother left this world. But something happened, we are told, that was able to console him, and the Zohar reveals what that was. 

The Zohar discuses the higher state that Isaac went to which brought him this solace, and hopefully opens that gate to this state for us, as well. It says that when Isaac and Rebecca came together, living in their tent, different miracles that used to occur when Sarah was alive in her tent began occurring to Rebecca; but that’s not what consoled Isaac. It says - and this is really one of the only times we find this - that Isaac, having come together with Rebecca, now elevates into a state where he could actually begin to see Sarah again. Therefore, when it tells us Isaac achieved a higher level, it’s not that his pain went away per se, but that he began seeing, speaking, and being with his mother. This explains a little bit why the portion is called Chayei Sarah, “The Life of Sarah,” even though it begins with her death.

What we want to be awakened to from this is that the wall that divides this physical world from the world of souls is not a real wall. As my father, Rav Berg, would often say, “The world is an illusion.” And while we can hear this all the time, the reality is that illusion is strong, and we all, to some degree, have bought into it. This is the first, and one of the only times, we find such a revelation, where the gates open and the wall between the physical world where Isaac and Rebecca were living and the world of the souls where Sarah was residing comes down, enabling Isaac to converse and be with his mother as he was before. And it is a gift that is available to us, also, on this Shabbat.  

We will never be able to break down this wall while we’re still stuck in, and beholden to, the illusion of the separation of the two worlds. But on the Shabbat of Chayei Sarah, we can ask to awaken the desire to overcome the illusion of the wall that exists between the physical world that we reside in and the world of souls, the true world. With each degree in which we awaken this consciousness, a little more of that wall of separation starts going down for each of us individually, and for the world. 


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