The portion, and Shabbat, of Beshalach is very important. It is the portion of the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea, and the Shabbat of the 72 Names of God. There is a tremendous amount of writings by kabbalists about this portion, but there is one teaching in particular I’d like to share from the Maharal, a great kabbalist from the town of Prague, concerning the concept of certainty. By deepening our understanding of this concept, we will be able to move to a much more elevated state of certainty in the Light of the Creator.
In one of his books called Netivot Olam, the Maharal speaks about the secrets of certainty. He begins by quoting a verse from the book of Mishlei, Proverbs, telling us that King Solomon says you can find many people who share, but finding somebody who has certainty is almost impossible. Because when you say somebody is a sharing person, it does not necessarily mean that they share 100% of the time; even if they share only 5% of the time, they are still a sharing person. Different people share in different ways, in different amounts, but we can call them all sharing people. But to say that somebody has certainty is very difficult. Why? Having certainty ultimately means that the individual has complete certainty in the Light of the Creator, and therefore, has no fear or worry.
He then tells us that another part of certainty is that somebody who has certainty is somebody we can depend on. That person is somebody we can be certain will do what he or she says. We know if that person behaves in a certain way, it will always remain like that. The Maharal ties these two types of certainty together; a person who has certainty in the Light of the Creator is a person who people can have certainty in. There cannot be one without the other.
King Solomon, however, says that it is very difficult to find somebody who has both of these levels of certainty. Why? Because when someone has certainty in the Light of the Creator, it means the individual has complete certainty the Light of the Creator is involved in everything in his or her life, and that everything coming to him is coming from the Creator, and therefore, that individual has no fear or worry. Because he has certainty it is all coming from the Creator, he knows that, ultimately, it is for his benefit. That is the first type of certainty.
The second type of certainty deals with the individual. Only a person who does not change or waver from his certainty, either in his certainty toward the Creator or in his dealings with people, is someone that people can be 100% sure will always do what he says. However, an individual who wavers just a little bit can no longer be called a person who has certainty. King Solomon says it is both difficult to find, and achieve, a true level of certainty, because certainty has to have strength.
All of us are in different places with our certainty in the Light of the Creator; I think we can be honest that we are not on the level that King Solomon is talking about. But we need to get to the place of having what the Maharal calls strength of certainty. Because to have certainty is one thing, but in order to be called a person of certainty, we need to have a strength of certainty that never wavers. That is the difference between a sharing person and a person of certainty, as King Solomon points out. Someone who shares only a little bit in the week is still a sharing person. But someone who has a little bit of certainty is not a certain person. A certain person is one who, when the darkness and challenges come, has the strength of certainty.
So, that is where he begins this understanding. Most of us can say about ourselves that we are a sharing person. However, to say that we are a certain person would mean that we are a person with certainty both towards the Light of the Creator and towards our dealings with people. Because to be certain means that we do not waver even a little bit. When the challenge comes, we do not change. We do not allow the doubt to enter.
When an individual is striving for this strength in certainty, then, the Talmud tells us, all the gates are opened up. The secret of the word Amen is that it represents emunah, or certainty. As such, if a person has certainty, then all the gates of the Garden of Eden, all the blessings of the Light of the Creator, come to this individual. For a person who has certainty, all the gates are opened up. Nothing else a person could do, not even actions of sharing, can open up all the gates. And therefore, as we come to Shabbat Beshalach, where the gift of certainty is available, we have to start really being honest with ourselves and looking more deeply into our certainty to see if we can even call it that.
The easiest way to know if we have strength in our certainty is to ask ourselves, when something happens, do we begin to waver? If we begin to waver, then it is not strength in certainty. Because certainty can only be called certainty if it has strength behind it, not when we have certainty only when things are relatively okay. When it says a person who answers Amen with all of his strength, it means that his emunah, his certainty in the Light of the Creator, has all of his strength invested in it. Then all the gates, not only to the Garden of Eden, but to all the blessings, open up for this individual.
And then he reveals another important secret. What does it mean that the gates of the Garden of Eden are locked? What does it mean when we say that an individual cannot draw that blessing? Most people have certain blessings and gifts in their lives that they want to receive, but they are locked. They have a spiritual barrier around them, and from the physical world, we cannot unlock those blessings.
So, how can we unlock them? When a person awakens not just certainty, but strength of certainty, the individual attaches himself or herself to the Light of the Creator. We cannot have unification or real attachment to the Light of the Creator unless we have strength of certainty. Therefore, when we are able to awaken a strong certainty, we become completely attached to the Light of the Creator, and all the gates can be opened, because what keeps the gates locked is the distance between ourselves and the Creator. Once we can awaken strong certainty and attach ourselves to the Light of the Creator, we have jumped over the barrier and are now in the place where all the gates can be opened.
It is important to understand that not even actions of sharing or spiritual actions of connection will get us over the barrier. There is only one thing that can unlock all the gates of blessings, and that is strength of certainty, because strength of certainty attaches us to the Light of the Creator, and the Creator is part of those blessings. Therefore, when it says we can open up the Garden of Eden, it means we can unlock all the blessings that we need. Once we have complete strength of certainty, which attaches us to the Light of the Creator, we are in the Garden of Eden and the gates have opened up. We can then draw all those previously locked blessings into our life. This strength of certainty is a powerful understanding and incredible gift that is available to us through the portion and Shabbat of Beshalach.