Kabbalistic Concepts

Helping the Creator

The story in portion Shlach Lecha is one that many are familiar with; it is the story of the spies. The Creator tells Moses to send the twelve spies into the land of Israel, and most of them come back with a negative report. The Israelites then become very fearful and depressed, and negativity ensues. At a certain point, as Moses is asking the Creator not to allow the darkness that the Israelites have awakened to become manifest, he says something very interesting, but also very foundational, to our spiritual work. He says to the Creator, "Now, please, let us make Your strength stronger. Let us make You great." It is very strange; he is speaking to God, the Creator of all things, and saying, essentially, "Let us together, me and You, make You great!" If we don’t understand what that means, it can seem a little bit ridiculous. 

To understand the secret of that verse, there is a beautiful story in the Talmud, in which Rav Yehoshua ben Levi says when Moses went up to the Supernal Worlds he saw that the Creator was tying and knotting crowns to the letters. And the kabbalists explain that the crown represents the ultimate level of the revelation of the Light of Mercy called Erech Apa'im. So, Moses sees the Creator tying crowns to the letters, symbolizing the Creator’s working to bring the Light of Mercy into this world. He is watching and experiencing this, knowing that it is not the Creator doing the physical action, but that it is he, himself, experiencing the desire of the Creator to send down the Light of Mercy. Then, suddenly the Creator says to Moses, "Is there no peace in your city?" This is the literal translation, which essentially can be understood to mean the Creator is angry with Moses, sort of like He’s asking, "Why did you not say ‘hello?!’" While this is what it seems the Creator is saying to Moses, there is a secret behind it, of course.  

What’s the secret? The secret is that the Creator is actually asking Moses, “Why are you not helping me to reveal the Light of Mercy into this world?" Moses is taken aback, answering, "But, Creator, You have all the Light, all the blessings, what am I going to do, in what way am I going to assist You?" The Creator tells Moses, "You don’t understand; I need your help. You should have helped Me." Immediately, Moses realizes his responsibility, and tells the Creator, "Okay, I am going to give You the strength for the great Light of Mercy to be revealed in this world." And Moses, in this verse, reveals and speaks about the ultimate understanding of the responsibility of all of us; this interaction between the Light of the Creator and Moses, the Talmud tells us, is really the back and forth between the Creator and every single one of us, all the time, regarding our own responsibility to help bring down the Light into this world.

One of the secrets of Shabbat Shlach Lecha is that the Creator is saying to us, every day, "You need to help Me." We have to work, therefore, to get to the state where Moses did, realizing, “I will do what I can to allow, help, and support the greatness of the Light of the Creator to be revealed in this world,” and then take the steps to draw down that Light of Mercy in the world. And it begins with the consciousness of responsibility; consciousness we are able to connect to through the portion Shlach Lecha.   

Related

See all