There is a teaching I think is very beautiful, but also practical, and it relates to Shabbat Tetzaveh; a Shabbat that is about the lighting of our consciousness. It says every positive spiritual action we do creates a candle. A soul, it says, that transforms and connects in this life, creates candles, or a flame. And after that soul leaves this world, he or she takes that flame and starts finding greater and greater Light. So, even after elevated souls leave this world, they are still finding Light.
The Zohar explains what happens to the soul after it leaves this world. There are two general paths: one in which a soul that has not created this great flame of Light through action gets lost, and the other, in which a person who had focused his or her life on creating this greater Light, starts finding more and more Light in the Upper Worlds, and then reveals it for this world.
So, how do we ignite and create this Light while we are in this world? The kabbalists explain we can do it through having the consciousness and knowledge that in every action we do, the Light we are creating will last forever. For instance, when we read the Zohar, the consciousness while we’re reading it needs to be that this Light will last forever, that it will be with us both while we are in this physical world and when we leave this physical world. And to the degree that we have this consciousness is to the degree that Light becomes what is called tamid, ever-standing. Then, after that soul leaves this world, through using the flame he or she has created in this life, he or she finds greater Light.
It says in Psalms, and Rav Ashlag quotes this in the Ten Luminous Emanations as well, that when a person dies, he is chofshi, free. But what the kabbalists explain is that the word chofshi also has the same letters as the word “search.” This tells us that even after they are free of this world, the souls that are elevated use the flame of candles they had created to search for greater Light. This igniting of consciousness of candles, therefore, is something we can use in this world, and is a very exciting concept.
We have spoken in the past about the understanding of why we lack clarity or inspiration, or lack a connection to the purity of consciousness that is the Light of the Creator. Now, we come to the understanding that Light actually exists everywhere, and is right there in front of our eyes.
There are many times in life when we try to find inspiration or clarity, and we can’t, so we search for it. And sometimes in life, whether it is about the study or it is about decisions, we are in a state where we have no clue where the clarity or inspiration will come from. However, one of the most important and powerful tools that we can use to find the clarity and purity of consciousness of the Light of the Creator is through having the clarity that it actually exists right here, and we just need a candle to go find it.
To explain this, Rav Ashlag uses a beautiful parable in the introduction to what is called the Panim Meirot Umasbirot:
Our world can be compared to a king who had a child much later in life. This son was beloved to his father, and from the day the child was born, the king was always thinking about what he could do to give his child more, and how he could give his child more. He wanted to make sure that his child had all the opportunities to gain all the wisdom. So, he gathered all the best teachers from all over the world, and all the books of wisdom from all over the world. He built a beautiful study hall just for his son so he could study with all the great teachers. He gathered all the greatest builders from all over the world to build rooms filled with whatever would bring his son pleasure. He created halls of music. He gathered the greatest chefs and bakers from all over the world to make the best food.
The child grew up, and he had no mind to study or desire to learn. Also, he was blind; he could not see the beauty of the buildings that his father created for him. He was deaf, as well, and could not hear all the beautiful music his father had prepared for him. Even more, he had diabetes, so he could not eat any of the beautiful, amazing food his father had prepared for him. And you can imagine how terrible and painful that must have been for the king, the boy’s father.
So how, does this relate to us? The Creator, like the king did for his son, has gathered all the possible goodness and laid it out for us. The Creator has planted clarity and the connection to pure gifts of consciousness for us, which all exist right here, right now. Sometimes we think about the clarity or connection we’re searching for, and it seems so far away. However, what we learn from this is that whether we are looking for clarity, or searching for inspiration or connection, it is right here, right now, laid out in front of us, like it was all laid out for the son by the king, but he couldn’t see it or hear it.
What is so exciting to me about this is that it is a teaching which is applicable to every single one of us, in every single moment. As Rav Ashlag makes clear, as simply as we exist right now in this moment is as simply as that clarity, inspiration, and connection we are searching for exists right now; it is not far away or somewhere else. And to the degree in which we have certainty that it exists right now, and was prepared for us perfectly in its most elevated state by the Light of the Creator, is to the degree in which we are connected to it.