Rabbi Labinsky explains what it means to be a vessel flowing Hashem’s infinite light into the world…very helpful and clear!!!
Shalom everyone. we are in our next Shabbos chabura November 25 and we are having a little change. someone asked a fundamental question. What does it exactly mean to build oneself into a vessel.
Let’s really understand.
The Bais Hamikdosh is the ultimate place in which the Shechina was received and then pipelined into the whole world. If you think about it, it is a physical structure. Going from Israel, to Yerushalayim, to the old City into the Bais Hamikdosh, the outer walls, the inner walls, all the way to the mikdosh and kadosh kadoshim. It is an amazing edifice, a architectural structure like nothing we have ever seen. all the vessels, extraordinary. Within that there are hard to imagine avoda. Kohanim, Leviim, and Yisrael and Klal Yisrael . In truth, it was a structure even Moshe Rebbeinu could not truly understand how to build all the vessels. Hashem said you start and I will make it happen. So this very idea is actually super important for us.
The way I am describing melacho is a creative act. What are we creating? We are creating our own tzelem elokim, what are we creating? A new universe, a new higher reality. but in the end, the force itself sounds like it is a giving force, it is an emanating force, a fixing force. Yet if you actually look at the Beis Hamikdosh it is the ultimate kli kibol, the ultimate vessel to receive the ultimate revelation of the Shechina from the higher worlds into the lower world.
How do we reconcile this koach of hashba, influence and emanation, with the koach of being mekabel? receiving. and this tension is really the tension, believe it or not, in the six days of the weeks of shabbos and all the melachos. On one hand we define a melachos, we talked about the three stages of rectification, submission separation and sweetening, amazing. we are talking about the different combinations, amazing stuff but in the end, how do we reconcile this force of emanating and yet receiving.
So this is really an introduction going into the four elements.
I want to speak about the first one and I think with this it will answer it up and some very important truths will come to light.
Based on the zohar and on the Arizal in different places, Reb Chaim Vital in the sefer Shaare Kedusha which is where Da Es Atzmecha is based from Reb Schwartz, Knowing oneself, in Shaare Kedusha Reb Chaim Vital says an extremely fundamental thing . He says as follows:
You want to know what it means to learn Torah and mitzvahs? we have to understand tikun hamiddos. You have to understand tikun hamiddos you have to understand the nefesh and if you want to undersand the nefesh, you have to understand the ikar part of the nefesh that has behira, free will, is in the four elements, called the daled yesodos. We said last week it is in order it is fire, wind water and earth. He basically says that the shefa coming from above comes into the higher soul into the lower soul. And then through our behira reality into our body. It has a splitting mechanism. And if the shefa goes to the side of elokus, then it takes on the middos tovos, which then become the vehicle for our Torah and mitzvahs. If it goes to the side of our nefesh behema, it takes on the non-positive side, the lower part of the self, and in that, the middos ras come and they rise – the improper character traits – are the basis for the Torah and mitzvahs.
That is a very shtark thing. that means everything you are going to learn in Torah and mitzvahs is coming through your middos and your middos are coming through your core elements that Hashem made up your inner constitution and that is your behira, your free will, in your nefesh. Wow. what does this have to do with kli kipo. the highest of the four elements is aish, fire. and Reb Chaim Vital says the core midda tova that comes from fire is humility. and the core midda ra from fire is gaiva. and it is a choice. to have the midda as anava or gaiva.
Who said hey, I am a baal gaiva and you and everyone else revolves around me. there is nothing but me
The anava man says I am nothing and there is nothing but Hashem and my reality is ein od milvado, nothing but Hashem and in that element of aish which is wehre the behira was, the choice is how do you see yourself, as a nefesh elokis or a nefesh behema, more divine or human. Based on that element of fire, we determine in any given area if it is anava or gaiva. Who would choose to be a baal gaiva.
The reason we are not so quick to go to anava is because we have to see ourselves as a kli. we have to see we do not have any independent existence at all. we are only breathing because Hashem is breathing through us and the four elements are Hashem’s name within us. It is all Hashem. Our middos are all an expression of You. Our capacities and free will are all You, our energy, our actions and ability to move is all Hashem, the ability to impose ourselves in the world is You, all good outcomes, Hashem. To perceive that reality at the level of aish, fire, on the nefesh, we must experience ourselves as a kli.
but our nature says, independent, power self determination and self gratification, thinking I am mashpia on the world. You are asking me to give up my atzmius to control direct and influence? what are you trying to kill me, what will I have, I am not going to be so quick. I do my stuff and Hashem helps like a coach on the side, but really it is me in the end. and when things get difficult we hit the realm of possibility where we want to break it down, we say I can’t do it, oh I see. if we think it is possible we think it is me, but if it is impossible then it is Hashem. but if it is nature we think it is me. this inner tension is an identity issue and the Bais Hamikdosh and our mini bais hamikdosh is to see ourselves as a kli kiot, a divine vessel we are to build our divine vessel to be mashpiach on the world but every last one of them comes from Hashem and through us. It comes from Him and through us but at the source point, none of it is ours. gaiva says I am the source. the humility part says Hashem is the source of everything, it comes from Him through me. Nothing independent comes from me. that ability is the ability to be mekabel, that is what the Bais Hamikdosh was, the ultimate edifice that reflects creation but it was a mishkan to receive Hashem and bring it in. the lower world has nothing of its own. the melacha is a force of power, creativity and origination that comes through us from Hashem. this duality helps us see what we are building with the 39 melachos. we are building our tzelem elokim. why are we building it, for our honor for generations? no. we are using the melachos to shape and carve out our anochius to allow true elokis within to shine. even though it is an emanating force, we are carving ourselves out as a kli kipo
we are taking the mini mishkan we construct using the 39 melachos to draw in to receive the 40th element that we describe, the Shechina . we build the spiritual edifice by nullifying the anochius, ego based living, self orientation and then mekabel that. If we dont know we are doing that how do we know we are doing that. it is still about us, our influence, our direction. It is not. the whole thing is to get off the self, the most profound way you can. the whole week’s striving is carving out and removing the anochius, the self orientation, to draw parts of the self in vitro during the week, 39 melachos, 39 weeks of gestation. the 40th is beyond us, the shechina, the future reality coming in, revealed in this world. it is based on how well you can mekabel, six days a week and shabbos. the animating force we are doing is hisbadlus, systematically breaking down the ego , chiseling out the various limbs of the soul so it can mekabel as the kli kipo on shabbos. that is what kabbalos shabbos is.
the first time the word kabala comes out is in a parsha about the loops int he bais hamikdosh, 50 loops that were parallel structures, 50 parallel structures. the active form kabala, is le kabel, to receive. lhakbeil is the active form, to receive the parallel structures of the world, from the higher world to here, receive the divine flow. when we see that and align ourselves with the higher worlds as kli kip we can draw it down, based on the ability to receive. challenge…systematically realize it is arrogance versus humility, two aspects of the midda of fire, either fueling gaiva or anava. are animating separateness, we are something a force to be reckoned with, or are we shin yud, a kidney, and we develop a higher orientation to realize everything comes from Hashem through us then we can say we are nothing, we have nothing and there is nothing but HKB. that reality is the correction of yeishus. the Kli Yakar says the gematria is 310 which means precious. when we are divinely oriented to giving through HKB and dispensing then we are part of something bigger and that is precious to Hashm. but when we take on yeishus, self determination, using the fire element in the self, to promote our gaiva then the yud goes to the back and it means something is emanating but there is no kli kipo in the world to receive it, to draw it out in the world.
this notion of creating a kli kip is not a small little thing. we have to reconcile in ourselves the emanating forces with the receiving forces. yes we have to use all the forces of halacha to create and change a physical change in the structure of the world and the soul and it is not to make ourselves great, it is to make ourselves so small that we are nothing so that we are Hashem’s everything.
ani, says the arizal, ani is anochius. turn the letters and it is ayin, nothing. ain od milvado. whewn we go from ani to ayin, that nothingness is Hashem’s everythingness. and that is what we are a part of, what we draw down ,receive and emanate. what we reveal, that is the 40th relative to everything else, that is Shabbos relative to the six days of the week.
women have a mega share in this because women’s structure is to be a kli kipo to receive zera that can draw in the divine force to create life. she builds it in three trimesters and 39 melachos to birth, emanating to the world. the soul comes from HKB through her. after the birth, for post partum, she experiences life within life, she is partnering with HKB, according to Your will, I receive, I built it from potential to actual, I feel life, the finite within infinite and when I lose that capacity I lose the most intimate part of being a kli kipo and that is why the body goes through the depression, mourning the loss of the most intimate form of creation itself. a nekeva can be mekabel.
a man’s biggest challenge is the opposite. there is a strong emanating force within him. we all have to be kli kipo vessels to recevie and when we think we are an emanating force, we have to work on our core elements, especially fire, to nullilfy anochius, self orientation, and draw down elokis to realize we dont have any separate existence. now go emanate, which is through the wife.
Until men get married and mekabel the reality of a female into them, they dont understand a kli kipo. the most positive and lofty, that perception of receiving from something outside you is so critical, humbling yourself and preparing your own personal greatness only as a reflection and emanation of KHB. without that we can get so confused. that is what we have to receive. it is not us, it is from Hashem through us. but once we really think it is us, that is where gaiva comes in, being a baal gaiva. speak from your core elements, your core middos, you can’t fake those. your inner constitution is either rooted in Hashm and manifest in you or the opposite. If you think Hashem is helping from the side, and you are driving it, that is mistaken. internalize this relationship reality that we are mekabel to HKB olam hazeh this world the future world the world of action is a kli kipo from the higher world and the more we understand that, there is a deep set of calm to everything we are, everything we have, is nothing but an expression of HKB.
what are some things we can do to develop this mindset so when we get to the nine conditions and 39 melachos that we can use this to build ourselves as recepticles to receive Hashem’s reality and receive the shechina.
if we are eating food, like an apple, and we make a blessing the fruit from the tree. that is the mashpia way. to be mekable, Hashem is feeding me this apple. not I am eating it. Hashm is feeding me this apple I am mekabel. it is a receptacle not an active experience. we go to the bathroom. Hashem is changing my diaper. I went to the bathroom…Hashem wants us to be mindful as a receiver, He changed our diaper. I went to the bathroom, I am the object, that is anochius. we receive that gift and to acknowledge that we say a bracha. I received this.
another way is in the realm of struggles whether it is going to someone as a baal eitza, giving direction. It is very important to go in, not haughty, but I don’t know but I trust Hashem will give me guidance and direction and I will receive it humbly. the eitza is not just a piece of advice. are you willing to accept direction from something outside yourself? are you willing to nullify I have to be in control? part of going to someone is to nullify yourself. If you can’t, and you don’t see, that process itself is to be mekable and receive the advice.
tricky subject because to give proper rebuke because if there is any arrogance from the emanating force they wont want to receive it. but if someone has your best interest at heart, you are mekabel because you know it is for your true development. I don’t have to see. I go to people for guidance, and also for rebuke when I am missing something. the very process of receiving rebuke, that is what shabbos is all about. if you are a man or a woman going to shul you are turning your emanating force in what you built as a kli kipo to fully receive and when you go to kaballa shabbos and there is an allusion to the six days of the week and on shabbos lecha dodi we aer receiving, boi kallah, it is not just entering, it is a very intimate to merge and fuse together, to mekabel, which we can only do if we build ourselves and want to receive from the source level, we are the receptacle. i am nothing i have nothing and I only receive from Hashem. we can only nullify something that we worked and reshaped. that is what we can give back to Hashem.
what does it mean to create ourselves as kli kipo to build ourselves as vessels and as we go through each one, we make an elemental shift to our core identity, our fire, we want to be true, humble people to sense our smallness and our greatness at the same time knowing it is all from you. that is how we nullify the arrogance that is the basis of the negative traits and it is there that there is true awesome power. that is the secret to the emanating and receiving unite. we should be true vessels to receive and build ourselves as mini sanctuaries and every week go through a creative process and reformatting it into something that truly is divine, our real inner essence, and it is there that we can truly love Hashem, know others in an exquisite way.