From Epiphany to Action

Click here for the Hebrew text.

Make a count of the sons of, etc. (Numbers 4:2).

On the level of basic meaning, the text is talking about doing a census but the Hebrew used to express this, נשא את ראש also means to raise up the mind. What can we say about raising the head, raising the mind?

Raising the mind means that the intellect is ready to follow the neshamah‘s / the soul’s lead, i.e.,the neshamah is on a deeper level than the intellect, behind it, underneath it. The intellect becomes a kind of garment with which the soul dresses herself.

For this to happen, the intellect needs to be stretched and broadened a bit because in its natural state, it will want to stay independent from the soul’s prioritizations. How to do this? שאו שערים ראשיכם / You need to wake up the imagination, and the imagination will expand the mind. If you want to raise your mind, then you want to use your imagination to stretch out and broaden your intellect so that it can become a garment for your soul. Your soul is united with the spirit of the universe and that latter becomes known through expanded imagination. There’s a connection between the neshamah and the Creator.

The Creator sends light to us on a continual basis. That light is hard to capture. It’s ephemeral. It passes by and the intellect can’t grab hold of epiphanies, they don’t make their way into consciousness. In general the souls’ epiphanies don’t make it all the way into consciousness and awareness.

In order to make that happen, the intellect has to be worked, it has to go through a kind of refinement and preparation and it needs to “go to school” and learn the mystery teachings. Then it can start to hold on to some of the light which is in the neshamah, pouring down from the level of yechidah. The mystery teachings are not given so a person can raise himself up in importance and rank, it’s not about rank. The purpose of enlightenment is not about rank and status that you would call out to all the people and say, “Oh. I know the secret teachings, I know the secret teachings so I deserve special treatment!”

The point is to give the holy flow from divine source to neshamah into an intellectual concept that brings awareness into play, connecting awareness and consciousness of the person to heaven’s available abundance. The movement of that transmission into the level of a person taking action, or a person being transformed as it shows up in his word or deed can be interrupted by the intellect. If there is awareness it can create feelings of discomfort or a negative judgment.

So a purpose of the mystery teachings is to activate the intellect so that the awareness and the consciousness are being touched and influenced by the divine or the holy source of the neshamah which lies underneath. This in turn allows the enlightenment which is flowing into a person to be dressed into the garments of speech and words which are the trappings of the inspiration on the inside. It’s basically bringing God into the person’s words and actions and so the root of a person’s neshamah is this holy connection to God and their words and their deeds are the place where it will emerge when the intellect is conditioned to receive the shefa to which the neshamah is connected.

It’s the focusing of the mind’s imagination onto the mystery teachings that conditions the intellect to become a garment for the neshamah. Somehow we need to get to a belief that the mystery teachings have a reality to them.

Ayn Sof / the white light / the pure divinity that precedes creation is in the here-and-now, is not just of the past. It’s present in your world with you right now.

If you are not predisposed to believe its reality, then it will be harder for you to access the expansion that the intellect needs to undergo so that it can be a garment for the soul.  And here’s the rub: There are times when the teaching the soul is giving and the outflow the soul is receiving from supernal sources are coming from a place which doesn’t jibe with popular beliefs. In such a situation, If the person doesn’t believe that Kabbalah is rooted in a reality, it will be hard for them bring it to their words and actions because they will think, “Oh, that’s just something inside of me and I can’t trust it as a guide to come into my behavior, I can’t trust it to the extent that I will act upon it, because I see that the world is not in conformance with that to which I am being guided.”

But you don’t want to look at the consensus of humanity as your guide. You want to look to your tribe, the people out there who come from a shoresh haneshamah / a rooting of soul which is the same as yours. We each have a personality and there are other people who are like you. So when you’re dealing with the anxiety of going against questionable norms you will find yourself strengthened by finding other similar souls, other like-minded souls who constitute your tribe.

Think of the tribal lines as based on the shoresh and it is a blessing to find like-minded souls. You should have the confidence of knowing that there is a tribe out there of people for whom the neshamah is anchored and rooted and descends from the same root in heaven as your own, the same root in holiness, the same root in arrangement of Sefirot, the same root in attributes of God.

Your tribe consists of people who are most likely going to have a good reaction to your allowing the epiphanies in your soul to come into your words and your actions. They are already aligned with the way your inspired behavior will go. And they will make you feel better about doing what feels right. Look to them instead of looking to a consensus of people in general and you will be heartened by that. Your tribe will be joined to you in your cognitions, in your ways of understanding what your soul has told your mind.

So if you tap into that energy that comes from your tribe, it will help you in the way this process works. If you have a community of people who are like-minded, then it will give you more confidence to trust your understanding of the epiphanies that go on inside of you and this will, in turn, help move you to take action based upon an intuition that you feel deep inside. It will move you to action; it will come into your feelings and then, it will come into your actions.

And this is the work of the Rebbe. The Rebbe is the one who finds people and connects them with each other and lets them know that the like-minded Hasidim are out there. We each have our own shoresh, we each have our own epiphanies, our own ways in which our epiphanies would turn into garments for the soul, our own responses to them and the kinds of things we would do but we’re, some of us, reluctant to act because we don’t believe in the reality of the Kabbalah. The Rebbe’s job is to link these people, to hook them up and show them that they’re part of a tribe, a more general grouping of people who are similar like-minded, like-souled. The Rebbe gets some momentum going so that it comes into the light of day and the realities of the members of the communities with whom the Rebbe interacts.

(freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

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