Strengthening the Bonds of the Universe
The Ari teaches us that every world has its own set of Ten Sefirot, unique filters the Light of the Creator passes through. Those Ten Sefirot then each have within them their own Ten Sefirot, and those ten have their own ten. And so on. The sefirot are like the layers of an onion: circles within circles. Incidentally, the floor of the Sistine Chapel is patterned with circles, each circle containing ten circles within it. The idea that each sefira contains all the other sefirot is an important lesson that Rav Ashlag explores in Ten Luminous Emanations about the way we are all interconnected and our global responsibility.
Rav Ashlag explains that everything in our world contains everything else. For instance, the first sefira, Keter, has within it the other Nine Sefirot (Chochmah, Binah, etc.) Everything is of the same spiritual “DNA”. This applies to us, as well. Each of us has an aspect of everything and every person in the world. Because we have elements of everything else within us, everything in this world is attached to each one of us.
This is a concept that Rav Ashlag talks about called avrut - the global responsibility that we all have. Because we are all intertwined in this way, we have both the ability and the responsibility to influence the world around us. When we do something negative and fall, we draw all of those attachments down with us, as well. When we elevate ourselves spiritually, we also elevate all of those attachments. Likewise, everyone else is also attached to everything. If I lower or hurt someone, I hurt all their attachments. And since they are attached to everything, when I hurt them, I lower the entire physical and spiritual worlds. This hopefully gives us a great appreciation for the way we are all interconnected and that power that each of us has within us.
Knowing this, how do we strengthen the power of our spiritual actions to cause a greater ripple effect throughout the entire world? By studying this concept. When we read the words from Rav Ashlag about our global responsibility, we awaken that connection between ourselves and everything around us. In doing so, all our spiritual work and all the Light we reveal is even more powerful. When we study the words from the Ari that speak of the way we are all interconnected, we are not simply studying, we are awakening this energy in the world, and more importantly, within ourselves. Literally, after we study this and understand this, our next spiritual action will be even more powerful because we have awakened this energy within us.
Unfortunately, not everyone studies from the writings of the kabbalists. As fewer people study the wisdom, which teaches us about the interconnectedness of everything, that consciousness is not awakened enough in the world and, over time, it causes a weakening of the links between everything. Therefore, it is so important that we have this study so we can reawaken the bonds between all of humanity. Through our consciousness and work, we can strengthen the bonds that have been weakened over time.
In addition to strengthening the bonds between ourselves and the world, it is also important that we strengthen the bonds between the righteous souls and our world. Very often in the Zohar, the students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai would say to him, “Woe to us when you leave this world!” Could you imagine? You are sitting in front of your teacher and he teaches you something amazing and you say, “Wow, when you die, it’s going to be pretty bad for us!” What kind of thing is that to say to your teacher?
The explanation of this is based on a verse in Psalms in which King David asks the Creator to remind him of the needs of the people. As King David began to elevate his soul, he started to forget the problems of the everyday people. The souls of the righteous are elevated in such a way that our problems are mundane to them. The issue isn’t that they don’t care, but that they are so elevated, it doesn’t seem important. They see the big picture, so the details don’t matter as much. But our problems are still important to us! So, King David prays to the Creator to not allow him to become detached, even as he elevates. He asks to stay tethered to the people.
The lesson is, even as we elevate our souls, not to lose our connection to everything. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai’s students were telling him not to forget them when his soul elevates. It is said that if we had the assistance from the righteous souls, the redemption would come. A large part of our spiritual work needs to involve tethering the righteous souls back to our world and remind them that the challenges we face are still important.
As we think about this and study it, we reawaken the bonds - the bonds between the righteous and our world and also ourselves and the world. Through our study, we strengthen those bonds and in doing so, we have a greater influence on the world. Our spiritual work and the Light we reveal become even more powerful.
*Adapted from Michael Berg’s Ten Luminous Emanations Lesson 45.