Parashat Vayakhel: “Fill Your Cup With Blessing” - Vital Transformation

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Parashat Vayakhel: “Fill Your Cup With Blessing”

Weekly Pearl of Wisdom for Your Shabbat Table

Parashat Vayakhel: “Fill Your Cup With Blessing”

In this week’s Parasha, Parshat Vayakhel, we pick up right after the incident of the golden calf and are retold the commandment of the Shabbat.

In your spiritual journey, there are two forces to work on 1) removing yourself from the negativity and 2) connecting to the positivity.

You can not truly enjoy a good drink until you clean the cup that holds it. If the cup itself that you’re pouring into is not clean, then the value of what you’re pouring in diminishes. A drink in a dirty cup simply can’t taste that great. Just as if we love a person who doesn’t respect us, while yes our love is beautiful, the love won’t be appreciated. One person will be angry for giving it and the other will be angry for not receiving it because the cup is not clean. We see the negativity and the positivity at play!

So how can we begin to clean our cup?

In keeping Shabbat, we are commanded not to burn fire or light a candle on Shabbat. What does it mean to “keep the Shabbat”? It means we want to connect to a different place where we behave differently. Behave more elevated. For this, we must invest.

The Zohar says that the fire is the fire of anger on Shabbat! Anger is one of the five things that exists in the ego. Rabbi Isaac Luria says that if you work on one thing, let it be your anger. With that, we can begin healing our body and soul.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev once said, “All the souls desire to have money, not only do they want it, they desire to be around the people that have it.”. Why do we love the rich man? Not because of his money. Because his Nefesh (soul) comes from an elevated place. Where does the money come from? The highest spiritual level. You’re not feeling the money, you’re feeling God going through that person! So don’t judge or hate yourself because you love that energy. It’s God that you love and that is its source! However, we must be careful in our love for money. We’re allowed to have lust for the source of where the money came from, but not for the money itself because that becomes idol worshipping.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev states that everyone should have money but there’s one thing that will make us lose it all. Even if a person tries to save themselves from it, it’s difficult. From the time you’re a baby, it sticks to us. That one thing is…ANGER. Anger and money come from the same source! So we must choose which part we want to shower ourselves with: the anger or money, the positive or the negative. I’ll let you decide.

Where does anger come from? 

Anger comes from the need for justice. The Zohar asks the question, “What’s happening in the upper world when anger is involved?” The truth is, in the upper world the soul seeks to be just and has to look for a change, for repentance to get there. Sickness is not by mistake, Sickness is how it may do it. Now anger is considered a disease, the real sickness, that you must work on starting now! When you’re angry, you feel like you’re right and everyone else is wrong. How dangerous! With this, we are allowing the evil inclination to get us angry.

Working on our anger is where we start, anger is the beginning of everyone’s spiritual journey. When you go up to heaven, you have 3 angel messengers with you:

1) An angel writing the good and bad things about you

2) One that’s been with you since you were a fetus

3) And another angel evaluating what you’ve done with the days you’ve been given

They analyze: did we study spirituality, were we fair with business, were we judging, and were we getting angry at others?

The process of change starts with being more forgiving and allowing the positive things like money, not anger, to flow in.

The Talmud says there are 3 telling things about a person:

  • The way he spends money (his generosity)
  • The way he gets drunk
  • The way he gets angry

The bad news is, that the enemy is inside us and the good news is the enemy is inside us! So we have the power to change ourselves, starting with Shabbat.

How does the Shabbat connect to anger?

The 6 days before Shabbat is its preparation. To enjoy the energy of Shabbat, do something every single day that relates to Shabbat. Then slowly Shabbat will start serving you! We can constantly tap into Shabbat. Shabbat has 2 sides of energy: the result of last week and the seed for next week. 3 hours before Shabbat do not drink or eat, for within the physicality of Shabbat is the spirituality. Because what we do and who we’re with leading up to and during Shabbat affects our week after.

If we get angry during the week, it affects our Shabbat and affects our week to come. Shabbat is a cure for anger! The Zohar states that the fire of Shabbat is more powerful than the fire of hell. If we feel the excitement of Shabbat and begin forgiving and sharing more kindness, that will burn our anger all week long.

The nation of Amalek relates to the concept of how the negativity and the dark side attacks us. It begins by making us believe that there is no order to anything and everything is random. Amalek was intent on destroying from above and below. By destroying what the people built and believed in, they were able to destroy everything. Amalek wanted to create impurity within the Temple and within the Israelites as well. They were systematic about how the destruction should be. They wanted to create more confusion. For that reason, God told Moses that the Israelites must get rid of Amalek. So too, everything that Bilam worshipped was around coincidence. He did not believe in certainty and was intent on having a consciousness that was supported by random events. Here again, the Amelek game.

If we have disorder in our lives but don’t believe that the disorder is part of the order that God has for us, then the Amalek/Bilam chaos attacks us and we fall into the victim mentality.

It’s important to be aware that the community we surround ourselves with has a material effect on our lives. Having people around us who believe in random things creates powerful negative energy for us. People judge because they do not believe in order. If they did, they would understand and believe in the certainty of what God wanted to share. Having certainty in the Creator and immersing ourselves in a community with like-minded people will allow us to have a “clean cup”, create an environment away from negativity and closer to positivity, and help us reach our next level of spirituality!

Shabbat Shalom!

-Rabbi Eliyahu Jian

Eliyahu Jian May 22, 2024

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