“Misfortunes never come singly”, I made a not quite apropos comment when my father was diagnosed with cancer. In this phrase, resignation, hopelessness is felt.
But this time, we have decided otherwise. We fly to Israel; medicine is up to standard there. We will do an examination once again and will act depending on the circumstances.
And the father’s brother flies in too, from another country. Nowadays, politics are so tangled that we have not seen each other for a long time. Decided to meet. Not because of the illness but to become closer, more intimate, to add some love between us.
On the plane, in the row next to me, a woman is seated; I have noticed her when boarding. She is sitting, reading. She does it in a captivating manner — finishes reading a few lines and lifts up her eyes, looks somewhere, not even out of the window but as if inside herself. I wonder what book it is but caught the name — “The Giving of the Torah” by Baal Ha-Sulam. I realized that I would find it and read. I want, I very much want to be blessed with such profoundness, loftiness.
Israelis, they are special people. Strike up a conversation at once, straight off.
And we are already in a taxi, and the driver has immediately reported to us that today is a big holiday. Shavuot. You should eat dairy products and read special Books at night.
“Corrections happen this night. You read the book and ask for the correction. He”, the man points his finger and looks upward, “helps…”
We exchanged glances….
I was prepared to do anything. Believed in miracles, trusted in this special place. Could not sleep at night. Was online looking for something about Shavuot, about the giving of the Torah, about Baal Ha-Sulam…The information is really 4D, Baal Ha-Sulam writes from another dimension altogether. Flipped through “The Night of the Bride” — nothing is clear.
Suddenly, I saw it: “The Torah is the program of human life”. Is the program there? So, what if we follow it? There are more questions than answers. I went to bed.
The following day, we arrived in the clinic.
“This is your curator Bat Sheva Natz”, the administrator said.
And a short woman comes out . . . I can’t believe my eyes! That very woman who was on the plane! My heart palpitated with joy. Everything seems to go in the right way.
We undergo a long, careful examination. Bat Sheva is around all the time. When there is a chance, we talk.
“I read yesterday, these fragments which need to be read at Shavuot. Understood nothing, how to grasp all this?”
“If there is a desire, you will surely come to learning. I have been doing it for 15 years now.”
Her eyes are clear. In them, confidence, harmony are discernible. I want it too . . .
“And what are those corrections on the night of Shavuot? For me, it is not an idle question. Everything we are going through now is very hard on me. And if such a thing really exists . . .”
“The state you are talking about is very important. Usually, people begin a day in the morning. They postpone all the things to be done from the evening till the next morning so that, after having some rest, they could set to work. In Judaism, a day begins with the evening darkness. Not for nothing is it said: ‘And there was evening and there was morning’. It is totally different. . . We go to bed, go out. There is a gap . . . If we look at it . . . she paused choosing the words, “let’s say, ‘from the point of view of the big picture of the world’, we will notice a huge gap between us and all the rest, each one by himself. This gap is created by our egoism which, like a shell, screens us from the picture of reality.”
“Can we feel it?”
“This is that state . . . where ‘life happens’. And everyone on his own and all together, we suddenly start realizing that the result of our development is negative. We come to an even bigger confusion. We put achievements of science to evil ends. Not a life but total gloom — isn’t it?”
She smiled, looked into my eyes. Bat Sheva gave me a glance, and this made me feel very warm, quiet:
I nodded, “Yes, indeed.”
“And here comes this moment. Actually, in this darkness, there is a gleam. The most important thing is that we saw it. We remember that everyone is enclosed in his shell of egoism, and we look at the world from there. From within our selfish little ball. It is very important to see this darkness. And to want to change.”
I am very well aware of the state she is talking about. To change . . . but this is unrealistic! I have no energy to even move. And on top of it, how? What exactly should I do?
As if reading my mind, Bat Sheva calmly continues:
“The force which changes us, which allows passing from the egoistic, receiving state to the desire to give, is called the Torah. And the man who welcomes these changes, who learns how to create them, is called “receiving the Torah”.
“And the night of Shavuot? What has this to do with it?
“Turning our desperate state, our dark night into the light of love is what is called the correction of the night of Shavuot.”
“I don’t get it. What has astronomical stuff to do with it?
She seems to have expected this question too!
“It is something totally different. The light that is love, just like darkness, exists in my heart.”
I started feeling disappointed. I want something specific, and she tells me about the light and darkness in the heart. Isn’t she a doctor . . ?
“We make changes possible when we decide: that’s enough, from this moment on, I start working on my love for other people. When we decide to work on every relation between me and another person. And in this way, with everyone.”
“To correlate oneself with the power that governs everything. Power of Nature. To tune oneself to it.”
“What for?” I wouldn’t let up. Not even arguing, just wanting her to go on.
“When we do so, we come to realize that the world around us is perfect. We understand the causes and effects, what there was and what there will be. And most importantly, we see that He is — “kind, doing good”. And we want to stay in it forever.”
She went silent; I was digesting what she has just said.
“It is important,” Bat Sheva broke this silence, “that we stay connected. Just for real, with love. And we must want to change. There is a deep-felt description of it in our books. Make a search. “Standing Beneath Mount Sinai.”
We were interrupted. The examination was over.
I kept thinking, apprehending, building it into myself.
At night, or rather before dawn, at that time when you seem to be still asleep but start already gaining consciousness, I clearly saw everything she was talking about.
A thin invisible membrane separates us from this power which governs it all. I understand already that this is the Creator. Power of Nature. And one can pass through an opening in this membrane. It is very narrow.
I am heading there. It is like a channel. To squeeze through it, you need to be separated from all egoistical chaff, downright obsession with itself, from the desire to snatch, win, and steal. And we go in further and further…
It is very difficult. We do not trust. It is scary. We only have aspiration. And faith.
And at the exit, pure love remains from us. Just like Him. And freedom.
And the desire to stay in it. We see that we are connected with each other. That we love. And this is perfection.
In the morning, we went to see the doctor again. And I was already different. Not only me — the whole world was different! It was acceptance. We, I, and all the people, everyone — were surrounded by love and care.
And our whole family was absolutely different. United. Loving. All last night long, we have been reading. “Standing beneath Mount Sinai.” Discussed. We felt that these new relationships between us prevented us from falling into fear…
“You have no cancer,” the professor pushed off from the table and turned to us in the chair. “We did a full checkup, the diagnosis is not confirmed.”
“Daughter, close your mouth or a bug will fly in!” this is now my father who looks at me and smiles . . . Just like in my childhood when I saw the sea for the first time.
Awe. Gratitude. Chance to begin a new life. To keep up the love between us, despite everything that is going on.
I often think of Sinai now.
It is incredible. But they, the people of Israel, did it already. Once, after long ordeals and doubts, they came to the foot of the mountain. They gave up because they had understood that nobody could help them. No one but the Creator.
Men. Followed by women, children, old people. All — as one. They were responsible for each other.
One heart. For all. One breath. And one voice.
“Correct us. For the sake of You.”
They have already done it. It means that we all did it already. And it became ours, an integral part of us.