Secret of the Mitzvot Series
– Shavuot –
5 Ways to make your Shavuot Holiday more Epic
The Holiday of Shavuot is the culmination of Pesach and constitutes the ultimate Jewish model for personal growth and transformation. Kabbalah explains that יציאת מצרים, the Exodus from Egypt, means to transcend the boundaries and limitations of the Ego’s desires which constrain and conceal our divine soul and higher self. The first stage we are ‘brought out’ of our limitations and given this gift to experience our transcendent identity unbound by the shackles of the body.
But since the goal is not to ‘separate’ and disconnect ourselves from the physical, we must use our newfound freedom to heal the body and harness its awesome potential for expression. This is called Counting the Omer, where 49 days we systematically identity the intricate details of our emotional capacity. Then on the 50th day is Shavuot where we receive the Torah.
Kabbalah explains this corresponds to the 50 Gates of Consciousness and here we fully attain the ability to be limitless beings within the limits of creation. The Torah gives us the power to bind our consciousness to the Infinite Source of our existence and draw that Light down and free ourselves from the limitations of the mundane. This transforms our body, our ego, our world into the ultimate expression of the Infinite Light of the Creator.
The mystics equate this with a wedding. A cosmic union between Creator and Creation, body and soul. Kabbalah explains that the ‘groom’ called Zeir Anpin (order and limitations) ascends to the level of Arich Anpin (Limitless posibilities). And it is in this state that there is the ultimate unification between Zeir Anpin and Nukva. This happens only once a year and happens neither on Shabbat nor any other Yom Tov.
So how do we do it?
- Stay up all night
Sleep is considered 1/60 of death, and death means to descend from one level of consciousness to another. We stay up all night to create a vessel to receive maximum awareness and ascend to the highest level of conscious existence. This Keter begins to enter at night and is complete at dawn. The Ari says in the name of the Zohar, that whoever does not sleep even for a moment, will determine what will be with them for that year and will be protected all year.
- Read the 24 Books of the Tanach
Someone at the level of Avraham Someone like Avraham, by contrast, was not confined by these constraints and was able to attain a full-hearted love of G‑d could by meditating on the Limitless Light and therefore negate the lure of material existence. For most people though, the material orientation of the body and the animal soul prevents them from being inspired by the awareness of this essential Light. This we are all able to achieve by learning the entire 24 books of the Tanach. By reading the code we are activating the program. And when we learn with bitul and surrender the Ego and internalize that we are channeling the essence of the Infinite Light, we are able to access and download the כתר, Crown (620).
And since the source of the Torah is this essential Limitless Light, we can then ‘wrap our minds’ around more understandable concepts. This then has the power to illuminate the divine soul and weaken the physical nature of the body. And when we deeply meditate and contemplate the Infinite Light called sovev kol almin that is beyond the limits of reality this is able to awaken a supernova of love within us that melts away the desires and perceptions of Ego.
In the Ten Commandments: “And G‑d spoke all these words leimor, to say, “I am Havaya….” leimor means “to say,” meaning, to communicate the concept to someone else. In this context, that meaning is not applicable, for the entire Jewish people, as well as every Jewish soul of all time, were present at the Giving of the Torah. Moreover, the entire Torah, the Oral Tradition as well as the Written Law, was given at Sinai.
Instead, the intent of leimor is to teach that when a Jew studies the Torah, he is saying G‑d’s word, as it is written: “My tongue shall repeat Your sayings.”
When a person studies the Torah in this spirit, he brings about the revelation of G‑d’s infinite light on this physical plane. Studying the Torah with such dread and awe grants strength and power to the G‑dly soul and weakens the animal soul.
This is the implication of the verse: “I am G‑d your L‑rd Who took you out of the land of Egypt.”
With the acceptance of the Torah, Anochi — the Creator’s Infinite Essence which transcends all worlds is drawn down. This “take[s] you out of the land of Egypt,” elevating the divine soul above the constrictions imposed upon it by the boundaries and limitations stemming from the body and the animal soul.
- Go to a Mikveh before Dawn
A little before dawn it is the custom to go to the mikvah. The mikvah here represents the supernal Keter and is the 50th gate of Understanding. This is the secret of the verse, “And I through upon you pure waters.” This draws upon us the powerful purity energy. This is where we escort the kalla to receive this energy in preparation for the wedding. What we brought to Zeir Anpin through learning Torah all night long, is now given to the Malchut as preparation for her to ascend in the morning prayer.
The 50 gates of Bina are her Chessed energy. Chessed corresponds to water and hence the mikvah.
The kavana for the mikvah is: 4 dunks, each according to a letter of Havaya: יָהָוָהָ this creates the vessel.
And then a 5th dunk for drawing in the Supernal Light of the Keter
- Hear the 10 Commandments
This is when the Light comes down and the actual wedding takes place. Meditate that each of the commandments corresponds to the 10 Sefirot and composition of the Soul. Imagine the Light flowing in and being integrated into the vessels. The actual zivug/unification takes place during the Shema Yisrael of the repetition of the additional Musaf prayer.
- Eat some Cheesecake
This is the actual integration of body and soul, sacred and mundane. Through the physical action of eating, we physically unite our bodies with the Light of the Creator. The Dairy symbolizes Chessed and corresponds to the infinite bond and love that has now been created. The world גבינה, cheese in Hebrew has the same letters as נגב, south which corresponds to Chessed/Love. This is why Avraham was said to have ‘traveled to the South’
וַיִּסַּע אַבְרָם הָלוֹךְ וְנָסוֹעַ הַנֶּגְבָּה
And Abram traveled, continually traveling southward.