Weekly Torah Portion

Capture the Light!

The parasha opens: “Say to the priests and say to them,” Rashi's interpretation is: “The big ones should warn the small ones.” Rabbi Ashlag explains Rashi's commentary: “the big ones shall warn the small ones” to Shine light and to illuminate from the great days on small days. ('Shine' and 'warn' both come from the root word Zohar in Hebrew.) There is an amazing message here: In life there are big days and there are small days, or as Rav Wolbe calls it: “the days of love and the days of hatred.”
 
What are the days of love, or the big days? The days of love are those days that everything is bright and optimistic, good, and goes well … You are happy, your husband is astounding, the children are charming, you have money and you look great and feel great…and everything is amazing…
 
And what are the days of hatred, or the small days? These are the less pleasant days of life…on these days you just can't stand anyone… your husband is annoying and the kids are making trouble, and the bank is pressing, and you look in the mirror and try to look away fast, even makeup doesn't help…days you feel small!
 
So what do we do? So first of all, welcome to the club, you're not the only one that has days like those. Everyone has days they feel small, and this is part of life…The great wisdom is to shine the light from the days of love to the days of hatred: “To warn the great on the small.”
 
Make a little imaginary freezer right inside your heart, and freeze special moments in it, moments of great times, days of love. You'll open this freezer, and spread the light stored in it on the days of hatred. Because usually, when something isn't working for us, it knocks us down. We enter a place of darkness and all we see is black. This is the Evil Inclination that tries to portray things as bad. So, when you open up your little freezer in this darkness and release even a little light, it's huge…just a bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.

When you're on the upswing and everything is good, you're full of faith and joy; it's time to think a bit about solutions for the bad days. When you're in the darkness it's hard to get yourself out of there. So during the times your mind is open, it's time for some maintenance. Think a little … What brings me down? What should I do when I'm there?

This is also true in intimacy. My husband helps a lot of couples, and always tells them: “Take care of yourself when you're feeling good.” This advice is huge! Why? Because when you are quarreling and angry at each other and all nervous, communication is closed down and no one listens to each other. Right? So, when you have beautiful moments together, and your hearts are close, that's the time to gently check what brings you down? In good times it's easy to admit mistakes and understand yourself. And if it's difficult, couples who have therapy during good times find it much more effective than during times of anger.
 
And this is also the secret of the mitzva of family purity. The closeness of the pure days gives power to the days of distance, and this is how a whole life is created together…being close and then distant, which is, in fact, life…
 
Life is about ups and downs. Life without ups and downs is not life. It's like a patient connected to a respirator. As long as the monitor line goes up and down – it's a sign of life. If, G-d forbid, the monitor shows a straight line, it is a sign of death…
 
Parshat Emor is usually read around the time of Lag BaOmer, the day of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai's passing. He was the essence of shining from the great to the small, a gift that G-d gave to our generation in order to pass through the dark but complex days of Messianic times.

So what is Lag BaOmer? The Netivot Shalom reveals to us that Lag BaOmer is the lowest day on the scale of the days of the Omer Counting…Of the 7 heavenly character traits we count, each week we take one trait to improve it. Hod- glory, the fifth out of the seven is the lowest. Lag BaOmer is the fifth day of the fifth week in the Omer so it's Hod inside Hod the lowest day of the lowest week.

You must be puzzled: Lag BaOmer, such a holy day is low? The answer is yes it's the lowest but the highest, and 'Lag' also means “skip”, telling us this day has the power to help us jump from the lowest place to the highest place. This is the lesson Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai taught, when he was inside the darkest cave and lowest situation, he wrote and brought the light of the Zohar to the world, a light that illuminates until today. And you can rely on Rabbi Shimon in times of stress. Rabbi Mutzafi says that our generation is called the generation of oppression. Rabbi Shimon saved the oppressed. How?
 
He taught us to search in the dark, in the lowest cave, in fear and concealment and find the light,the shine of your life, your faith. You have the power to seek out faith. Faith is like the sun: when the sun shines, its rays penetrate into the darkest places. You can try to darken a room with the shutters and drapes, there's always a ray of sunshine? That's the power of faith. Even when falling into darkness, look for the light…

The thing is to actually look.

Look for the light, ask the right questions. Anyone who asks questions gets answers! Know what to ask. Don't sink into darkness and wallow in it as if there is no hope, G-d forbid. Ask for faith! The big people shine on the small ones to help them seek faith, which is the greatest thing in life. Take this faith and  shine it on the small and painful things.

I would like to bless you and me, to merit great light with G-d's help, this Lag BaOmer in the merit of the G-dly sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
 

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