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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.