On Rosh Hashanah, we hopefully cut away the most negative aspects of ourselves, and on Yom Kippur, we have the opportunity, and ability, to achieve complete union with the Light of the Creator. While we may not always be able to be as connected as we were on those days, all that amazing Light will continue with us for the rest of the year. The work following is, therefore, to understand that we can’t go back to who we were before - because then we return to the chaos and negativity that existed previously; in order to ensure the connection, blessings, and removal of negativity, we must remain in an elevated consciousness.
One way to stay in this place of elevation is through a concept that I’ve always found to be truly beautiful. It is from a section in the Zohar explained by Rav Ashlag, referred to as “the locks, the doorways, and the rooms.” There are exciting times in our lives when we feel that everything is open for us, and like we are entering into a room - a huge room filled with happiness and fulfillment. Then there are times when we feel that nothing is opening up for us, like all the doors are locked in front of us, and everything is going wrong. Sometimes, in one day, we feel all three - we can feel locked, we can feel open, and then we can feel like we have entered into a vast room.
Most of us think that those three realities are completely separate things; that if we face a lock, we must move away from it to look for an opening in a different place. However, Rav Ashlag emphasizes the importance of understanding that the lock is not in a different place than the opening. The lock and the opening are not separate; they are, in fact, the same energy. Many times we come to difficult places and situations in our lives, places where we feel completely blocked, and we just want to go around them or find a way out of them. What we don’t understand in those moments is that every single blockage needs to become an opening, and that within every single lock is the opening. It is only in the room that was opened by pushing through that lock that we will find blessings and Light.
Rav Ashlag asks us to remember these words: “No lock is the same. Every lock is unique and perfect for a specific Light that you need now, that your soul needs now, that your life needs now. No challenge is the same. No doubt is the same. They are all perfectly created to be transformed into an opening, to be transformed into a gate.” We came into this world not just to walk around blockages and challenges, but to push ourselves when it gets difficult. Every lock is uniquely created to bring us to a unique opening, and each one of us is given a certain amount of openings that we have to unlock in our lives; once we open them, we complete the purpose for which our soul came into this world. And on a deeper and more global level, every time we transform a lock into an opening, we give others that same ability, because we have unlocked a room of Light for humanity, not just ourselves. When we do that, every one of these locks becomes a gate of righteousness, a gate which we - and the world - can go through.
When we look forward into our life after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we want to remember this concept of locks, doorways, and rooms in order to truly manifest the blessings and connection we received. As we start our new year, and throughout it, we must remember never to go around a doubt, challenge, or difficulty, but to fight through it, and to ask the Light for the strength to do so.