Spiritual Tools-Vayigash-Torah Study
“I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes (Genesis 46:4).” Clearly, when we speak of the Divine Presence, we must distinguish between different levels of the Divine Presence. The amount of enlightenment a person experiences depends on the level of Divine Presence a person is privileged to experience. If we were to describe such different levels of Divine Presence, we could categorize the Revelation of Mount Sinai as the highest level of such Divine Presence.
The next lower level may be the Divine Presence in the Holy of Holies in the Temple.
A slightly lesser level of God’s Presence was experienced by the “average” prophet at the time he receives a message from God.
Progressively lower levels of such Divine Presence may be found in synagogues or houses of study.
A group of ten people discussing matters related to Torah may qualify for a lesser degree of such Divine Presence.
When we keep this in mind we can better understand the statement of our sages that the Divine Presence, the Enlightenment provided to a prophet, never descended to certain levels. As a result, Moses had to leave the city to qualify for the degree of Divine Presence that could respond to his prayer.
The degree of Divine Presence found amongst a group of people studying Torah is of a lower level, however, and it was that level of the Divine Presence which descended to Egypt with Jacob and remained there until the Exodus.
While it may sound presumptuous to differentiate between different degrees of Divine Light, this is true as long as we speak of God Himself. Light, which radiates from God, however, is subject to different “filters” to ensure that the recipient receives the amount which is beneficial to him and does not harm him through overexposure.
The same principle applies even to different souls, all of which may be perceived as parts of God’s “light” emanating from God’s Throne of Glory.
The considerations we have just mentioned may also explain why God referred to Himself twice as “Anochi” – the opening word of the Ten Statements – when telling Jacob that He would descend with him to Egypt and would go up with him again when Jacob would be buried. God meant that the level of Divine Presence that would accompany him on his return would be a higher level than that which accompanied him at the time he descended to Egypt. It was the latter level of “Anochi” which the Jewish people experienced at Mount Sinai, and it is that level of “Anochi” which is experienced at the end of the 49 years of the Jubilee cycle. This is the mystical dimension of the fact that the Exodus from Egypt is mentioned in the Torah a total of 49 times. (Ohr Hachaim haKadosh)
It is possible to receive the same level of Divine Light when we study Torah that Jacob merited when the Divine Presence accompanied him out of Egypt.
- Use as Kavanah when dressing in Tzitzit, our Garments of Light; “May I merit the highest level of Divine Light as I studied Torah through out the day.”
- Use as Kavanah in the second blessing of the morning Shema: “Illuminate our eyes in Your Torah,” meaning, “Illuminate our allies with the highest level of Divine Light as we study Your Torah.”