Three Steps of Enlightenment- Live Kabbalah

kabbalah parsha self help Jun 03, 2018

By: Rabbi Amichai Cohen

The word enlightened by definition means having light. The analogy of light is found across all religions, philosophies and cultures.

In Kabbalah, the analogy of light is extremely important. The book of the Zohar or light, written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the second century, and the book of the Bahir or illumination written in the first century by Rabbi Nechunia Ben Hakanah show the importance of light in Jewish mysticism. 

In Temple times, the menorah- candelabra served as the beacon light which shined the light of Jerusalem- a city of peace to the rest of the world. 

The symbol of the Menorah was so important, that in fact on the famous Titus archway in Rome, the Menorah was etched as a symbol of conquest of the land of Israel. 

The Menorah continues to serve as the symbol of the modern state of Israel and is even more the sign of Judaism than Star of David. 

Aaron The High Priest

In the tabernacle, Aaron, the high priest would illuminate the candles. The instructions given to him were “until the flame ascends upwards on its own”- עד שתהא שלהבת עולה מאליה. 

According to the Zohar and elaborated by Alter Rebbe, Aaron’s kindling of the 7 branched Menorah represents a kindling of the 7 root souls. 

According to Kabbalah, there are 7 emotional Sefirot which correspond to the 7 types of souls. Each person has a unique path of divine service. The inspiration comes from Aaron the high priest, who represents the righteous leader.

In these instructions, Aaron and all of us learn the way of enlightenment. Let’s have a look once again at the instructions of illumination. 

 

3 Steps

“Until the flame ascends on its own”.

We find 3 steps in the illumination process; 

1. Flame

For a flame to be a flame, it first has to have a wick, oil and a vessel. But without sparking a fire the candle remains a candle and not light. 

The first instruction is to learn and to come to a place of illumination so once essence can become enlightened. In other words go  to a source of light In order to become enlightened. The Mishnah says “one should exile himself to a place of Torah”. If someone is really serious about finding enlightenment, he will make the commitment to do what it takes to seek it. 

2. Ascends upwards

To Ascend upwards means that the individual is ready to learn and surpass their current stage. 

Spiritual ascending does not only mean to go a new phase of growth but can also mean deeply concentrating on the current stage one is on and expanding the depth of their understanding. 

3. On its own

Upon receiving the skills, knowledge and confidence, one now has to "fly with their own wings". 

While inspiration is important, one can not become an "inspiration addict". It's all about living up to one's highest potential. 

The power of habits

The way to illuminate on one's own is by developing positive habits and relinquishing the negative ones.  We are what we do most often. Therefor it is vital to chose the positive habits will form the person who the person wants to become and to drop the negative habits which entrench us the negative vortex.

The Talmud says "routine becomes the 2nd nature". The Sefer Hachinuch, a 13th Century Jewish philosophy and law book says that by training ourselves to be charitable we actually develop the emotions to feel benevolence towards others.

According to Halacha (Jewish law) when something is done for 30 days it becomes a habit and becomes part of one's routine.

On a deeper level by becoming disciplined by our habits we reveal our higher potential and that our real nature is the illuminated one of positive action and not the one who is addicted to... 

By revealing our true potential, we also reveal the light within everyone around us and the potentiality of every mundane and material thing to serve a higher purpose and to be light.

 

Check out our recorded webinar class on this for greater depth. Click here

 

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