There is a story in the Talmud about Shabbat Mishpatim. It says when Moses went up to the Heavens to receive the Torah, the angels asked the Creator, “Master of the World, why is there a human being here among us?” And an argument, or conversation, ensues. Because what was being given to humankind, through the Torah, was not wisdom or a spiritual path; it was an actual detachment of the essence of the Light of the Creator, being sent down for anybody who wants it. The angels could not understand that, therefore, they asked the Creator, “How can you give over control of the essence of Your Light to man?”
If the Creator was simply giving over wisdom, or even giving over a spiritual path, the angels would have no difficulty understanding. But the Creator is giving over His essence, and that is what this Shabbat is about: the concept of the giving of the Torah, which is a giving over of the Creator’s essence. And because the Creator has given His essence over to us, the Creator can no longer fix this world; only we can.
Shabbat Mishpatim is about the Creator giving us the Light. And once it is given over, whether we take it or not is our choice, but the Creator can no longer fix this world. Only beings of this world – not angels or even the Light Itself - can fix it. So not only are we given the opportunity to own the Light, and, therefore, receive the protection that comes with that, we also receive this tremendous responsibility to do something that cannot be done by the Creator or the angels. We have to take control of this Light, and through that, fix this world.
What was given to us at Sinai, what was given to our world in what is called the Torah, and through the Zohar, is the essence of the Light that the Creator has cut away for us. The Creator put it there, and it is here for us to take. This is why the angels were so scared. They asked the Creator, “Are You sure about this? Are You sure You want to send Your Light down into the world in a way that is not retrievable by us, or You? We cannot fix it anymore once you make this choice.” And the Creator says, “Yes. It might take a while, but there will come a time in human history where enough people understand that we have sent down into the world the essence of the Light. Nobody else can touch it except humans. Humans who understand this, and make it their focus of their lives to own this Light, can use that Light to fix the world.”
It is a very important shift of how we see our spiritual work and the responsibility that comes with it. And on Shabbat Mishpatim, we have both the gift of being able to refocus our spiritual work around this understanding, and of being able to take this essence of the Light that was given over to us and fix this world.