Vayakhel Pikudei: Building a Solid Structure
This week, it’s important to begin by acknowledging International Women’s Day. This is an opportune moment to acknowledge Debbie’s role in Vital Transformation because we can all learn from her example, whether male or female. She is someone who does not just talk; she takes action. Why not take some time to reflect on a woman who inspires you? Think: What does she do that makes her so special to you? Is there any way you can support her or emulate her in the good that she does?
Here at Vital Transformation, we know that women have unique abilities, and we know that the world desperately needs their contributions. We especially recognize the power of women coming together to make the world a better place. One example of this is Debbie’s effort to ensure that Jewish soldiers stationed around the world receive their passover parcels. We invite the women of our community to join her in this very valuable, meaningful work.
Back to our studies. This week, the energy is intense as we approach Passover and the month of Aries. It’s very strong, but as long as we can handle this energy it is also positive for us. Of course, to handle it, we need a vessel to receive it. Creating the right vessel is the focus of the two portions we will read this week. We will be talking about how to build strong structures that are able to take in the light of the Divine and so bring our blessings to us.
The tabernacle was one such structure. It wasn’t a synagogue or a holy temple. It was only a provisional structure with a temporary purpose; however, it was still very important. Why? Because it gave the Israelites a means to connect with G-d as they traveled. It had to be built perfectly to receive the light. We need similar structures in our own lives, built with intention and attention-to-detail.
One structure you can build is a good dynamic with a teacher. Let’s be clear: a teacher is someone who should be held in authority. Although we at Vital Transformation relate to our students as friends, it’s important to preserve the elevated status of a teacher. A teacher-student relationship can be transformative — it’s not something that should be entered into lightly. You must choose your teacher like you choose a life partner, with a degree of seriousness and commitment.
Sometimes, your teacher will disagree with you. This is healthy. It promotes growth. You should not seek a teacher who keeps you comfortable at all times, because this prevents you from making real progress. Submitting to the wisdom and guidance of a teacher requires sacrificing the ego to an extent. For this reason, it can be very difficult for some people. Don’t worry if you do not yet feel ready to enter this dynamic. We learn from our studies that it’s not just what we do that’s important, it’s also when we do it.
Timing matters. In fact, a good teacher should supervise a student so that the pace of their study is correct and they arrive at new knowledge at the right moment. This is another advantage of having a trustworthy teacher. You do not go too high or stay too low.
Remember, you should not just want the wisdom that a great teacher brings, as though it were a product to be consumed. You should also strive to forge an authentic connection with your teacher as a person. Through this connection, you will learn so much more. Think about it — in a romantic relationship, if you only value what your partner gives you, you are not sincerely connecting with your partner. The relationship is shallow. You may even end up cheating if you feel someone else can serve you in a different way! It is not a solid structure, so it’s not an adequate vessel.
Another way to connect to the Creator is to first deeply desire this connection from your heart. When you want something from the heart, it means you truly care, and this desire will then spread throughout your body. Through this process, your body becomes a structure able to receive the light of the Divine on its own.
As always, your intentions are so important. Prayer is a well-known means of connection; however, a false or half-hearted prayer will never reach G-d. It will be sent back down to Earth until you’ve improved on your intentions. A truly negative prayer may even go to the dark side. When you pray, it’s important that you give your prayer your full focus, always approach the Divine in earnest. Prayer is not a moment to think about what you’ll eat for lunch that day!
During this period of powerful energy, we’d advise that you put extra effort into maintaining your vessel. Otherwise, the force of this time is liable to cause breakages… A deep desire, an honest prayer, and the guidance of a good teacher are the fundamental elements we’d recommend in building a structure that’s prepared to accept the light of G-d.
To really have a profound connection with the Creator, you must center your spiritual evolution and growth. When you have and maintain this connection, you cannot imagine the blessings that you will enjoy.