The gate of tears is never locked

the gate of tears is never locked, from the Kabbalah of Rabbi AshlagYom kippur is a day of prayer and coming back to our true selves. But this isn’t easy, as we very often aren’t very conscious of where we have gone wrong or what our truest and deepest desires really are. In a remarkable essay, Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag teaches us how to begin to distinguish a real need from one that may seem real but is in fact extraneous. The Sages of the Talmud said,

“Rabbi Elazar said that when the Temple was destroyed all the gates of prayer were closed; but even though the gates of prayer were closed the gate of tears is never locked.”

Through this discussion we learn the inner meaning of the prayer” And all believe that He answers the whisper, Who open the gate to those who knock in Tehuvah,” wanting to return to their Source.

Listen to podcast now
From the Sefer HaMamarim of Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, with grateful thanks to Shmuel Igar Kinyan who studied it with me.

Other talks on Yom Kippur
“The Inner Essence of Yom Kippur”, “From the depths I call on You”, “Yom Kippur : A chance to reclaim our true identity”

Choose Life!

Reading from the Torah

Reading from the Torah

Rabbi Ashlag poses everybody’s question… what is the purpose of my life? But he gives an unexpected answer. To understand what he is saying we first need to know what the word “life” actually means in the Kabbalah . The Torah itself is called the Torah of life. But whether or not we actually experience it as such depends very much on our reasons for studying itand on our relationship with it.

 To listen :

photo credit: drurydrama (Len Radin) via photopin cc

Crafting the detail of our lives

If a musician playing a piece of Mozart is careful to play exactly the correct note at the correct time is he or she being obsessive or are they paying attention? If he plays  just any note , it wouldn’t be Mozart, or he could play the right note but at the wrong time of for the wrong duration. Would that be Mozart? No. It would not.Or  take a person weaving a beautiful intricate Persian carpet. He or she needs to be careful to use exactly the right color thread in exactly the right place.
Similarly in working through the details of our lives. If we wish to make them as beautiful as a wonderful piece of music or a beautiful design on a carpet, each note we play requires attention.To listen to the full audio talk (8minutes) click on this link


If you would like to listen to this talk as an audio talk (about 10 minutes) please click here

  • Have you ever found yourself in the uncomfortable position of being asked to do more than you really can? Of feeling afraid to say no when you know deep within you that what you are being asked to deal with is a bit beyond your capability?

    Interestingly enough, this is the very position the highest spiritual entity in the very first of the spiritual worlds found itself in.

    In the Ein Sof, the Infinite, where everything begins, the light and the vessel are in simple harmony. The light is the goodness that God wants to give us, and the vessel is the desire to receive all that God wants to give. The vessel of course is created by the light and they are one in total harmony.

    And then as we know something happens. What happens is the vessel said,
    “ I want to give” “I want to be even more together with the Light, I want to be like the Light.” So it decides to stop receiving and to give instead. This moment of decision is the moment of creation of the worlds.

    Since there is no compulsion in spirituality, at this point  the light withdrew from the vessel  leaving the vessel empty. This moment is called Tzimtzum, “contraction” in the language of the Kabbalah.

    But the vessel is still a vessel  in its nature and it still has a huge capacity for receiving.  So when the light comes again the vessel gave back the light. The light it gives back is called the “returning light”. Eventually the vessel comes to an agreement with the light, as it perceives that by receiving from the light it is actually giving to it, as it is allowing the light to fulfill its desire of giving. So the vessel arrives at a compromise. The amount of light it is able to receive with the purpose of giving to the vessel it will receive, and the rest it will leave alone.

     This decision of the vessel, this prevailing of the vessel over its own  will to receive is called in  the language of the Kabbalah, “the Masach”. The vessel prevails over its own will to receive and sets up a new reality. That of saying no as well as yes

     This action of the vessel is both a permitting action and a restricting action at one and the same time.

    I found this absolutely fascinating. Even  the highest vessel in the highest spiritual world, the spritual entity cannot do 100% ! it has to decide what can it receive for the sake of giving and still remain true to its purpose.

     Rabbi Baruch Ashlag suggests as an example the vessel managing about 20. Well what about the rest of the light? Nothing is lost in spirituality and the vessel is able to put that 20% aside and have another go. And so it goes on in the cosmic dance throughout the worlds.  Myriads of meetings of the light and the vessel, each time the vessel managing just that little extra bit more.

     For myself, I learnt some valuable lessons. Its OK to say yes and no. Its OK not to manage 100% if it doesn’t feel comfortable for me.

  • And the cosmic dance will give me other chances if I need to progress.