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Rain: Harmony in all 3 Dimensions of Reality
by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

>>> Listen to Audio Lecture here 
 

Lag Ba'omer, the day of the passing of the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, is considered the day of the giving of the inner dimension of the Torah. This festive day usually falls in the week that we read the Torah portion of Bechukotai. In this audio meditation, Rabbi Ginsburgh discusses the three dimensions of blessing promised in our Torah portion, revealing how we can merit this blessing by connecting to the secrets of the inner dimension of the Torah. 

 

The Bechukotai-Lag Ba'Omer Connection

Kabbalah teaches that the day of the passing of a tzadik ("righteous person") is the day that the essence of his soul is revealed. On Lag Ba'omer, literally the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who authored the Zohar, passed away. This day, when the essence of his soul was revealed, is considered the day of the giving of the inner dimension of the Torah.

Lag Ba'mer usually falls during the week that we read the Torah portion of Bechukotai, pointing to the fact that Lag Ba'omer and the Torah portion of Bechukotai are connected. Bechukotai is the 33rd  (Lag) portion of the Torah. In addition, the first verse of Bechukotai has 33 letters. Furthermore, the numerical value of the first two words of the portion, "Im bechukotai," equals 561, which is the triangle of 33. (The triangle of 33 is the sum of all numbers from 1to 33: 1 plus 2 plus 3…..plus 32 plus 33 = 561). This relates to the secret of the counting of the omer. The triangle of the day being counted is hinted at in the wording of the count: We do not say "Today is the 2nd day of the omer," but rather, "Today is two days, three days," etc. This wording takes into account the numbers of the previous days, creating a triangle for each day of the omer.

 

Lag Ba'omer: Revealing the Wonders of the Torah

When lag (spelled: lamed, gimel) is spelled backwards (gimel, lamed) it spells gal, which means "reveal" as in the verse in Psalms (119:18):

Gal einai v'abitah nifla'ot mitoratecha
"
Open (reveal to) my eyes that I may see the wonders of Your Torah."

The latent potential of Lag Ba'omer is the opportunity to connect to the inner, wondrous dimension of the Torah and to reveal it in our lives.

Statutes: Toil in the Torah

The first verse of our Torah portion reads, "If you walk in the ways of My statutes," (Im bechukotai telechu.) The famous Biblical commentator, Rashi, explains that walking in the ways of God's statutes means to toil in the study of Torah. This toil leads to the fulfillment of the commandments and good deeds, which reflect the light of the Torah to all our surroundings.

The first word of our Torah portion is Im, which means "if." Our Sages explain that the word "if" implies "beseeching" or "begging." God beseeches us, as it were, that we walk by His statutes so that He may shower His blessings upon us. Just as the mother cow's desires to suckle her calf is greater than the calf's desire to suckle, God's desire to shower His goodness and abundance upon us exceeds our desire to receive that abundance. (The word Im can also be read as em, which means "mother.") In order for these physical and spiritual blessings to take hold in reality, they must be earned. The condition for earning these blessings is toil in the study of the Torah and its fulfillment.

"I Will Give"

Beginning with the second verse of our portion, God enumerates the blessings that he will shower upon us if we toil in the path of His statutes. The word v'natati, "And I will give," is used to describe three separate blessings:

"And I will give your rains (geshem) in their proper seasons."

"And I will give peace (shalom) on earth."

"And I will give My dwelling place (mishkani) in your midst."

These three gifts represent three ascending degrees of holiness.

  1. The rains represent physical abundance. When the rains come in season, the crops grow in abundance, producing physical strength and harmony in the world.

  2. The second gift, peace, brings harmony to all the souls on earth.

  3. The third gift, God's dwelling place in our midst, is the gift of the consciousness of God--God's Divinity in harmony with reality.

The verses promise us a progression of  "your rains in their proper seasons," "peace on earth" and "My dwelling place in your midst." The gift of rains is conditional on our toil from below to draw down this gift from Above and integrate it into our reality. The gift of Divine revelation is showered down from Above to manifest below.  Peace is the intermediary level of souls in harmony with each other.

 

Worlds, Souls, Divinity

The Ba'al Shem Tov teaches that in any meditation we must keep the three dimensions of reality; Worlds, Souls, and Divinity, in mind. The blessings of rain, peace and God dwelling in our midst are an important example of this paradigm:

Gift

Manifestation in Reality

Direction of Manifestation Dimension of Reality

Rain

Physical abundance

From below to Above

Worlds

Peace

Souls in harmony

Souls reach out to each other

Souls

God's presence in our midst

Consciousness of God

From Above to below

Divinity

 

The All Inclusive Rain

The first letter of each of the three gifts; geshem (gimmel), shalom (shin) and mishkan (mem), spell the word geshem, "rain." From this we can conclude that although the rain seems to be relatively at the lowest level of holiness, it actually encapsulates the two higher levels of peace and God's dwelling place. God does not want His revelation to remain a strictly spiritual experience. Rather, He desires that His revelation be totally in harmony with physical reality. This is the ultimate purpose of the mishkan, the Tabernacle, God's dwelling place on earth -- that we create a dwelling place for God here in our physical reality.

On Lag Ba'omer, when the inner secrets of the Torah are revealed, we can internalize the secret of how to merit the gifts of Worlds, Souls and Divinity, making them manifest in our physical world.

 

 


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