I have a kooky fantastic friend that started a T shirt business some years ago here in Israel. One of her first T- shirts was “Don’t assimilate- illuminate!” That was for Chanukah, but I have come to realize it’s for all year long and I have come to see her in a new light as well, appreciating what I didn’t see in her before. “Illuminate” the Torah tells us- be a lighthouse, let your light shine out! For such a time as this when gloom covers and chaos envelops- illuminate! Strong desert wind may blow but there is a light in the Sanctuary, a light in the camp. Sometimes the world feels dark, so overcast that we literally can’t see the guiding hand of Hashem. It feels broken after the chaos. With no matter or meaning only broken buildings and broken hearts; it becomes the time to make a new vessel and fill it with light. This light refers to a deeper understand of the Divine Providence within nature as the world turns and He becomes concealed in nature, contracted and hidden. We are on a search for His face and we need the light to show us the path. It is an active choice to gather light into the vessel and then shine it outwards. Right now is the time to choose the significant alignment with order, goodness, blessing and lovingkindness and in what it can do in creating the vessel that reveals Hashem. There is a pendulum see- sawing. We behold Israel’s restoration today at the same time the strong opposition to it is waved on almost every banner of every forum. This is a tangible illustration of literally choosing between believing in Hashem and the promises of our prophets or wickedly joining our enemies in denouncing it and letting chaos reign. The light grows bigger now as redemption comes closer and we can’t let the breaking of the vessels overcome with its will to destroy and wreak havoc. Nevertheless, there is a method for making the vessel strong and unbreakable and not letting evil overcome- “And the man Moshe was very meek, more so than any man that was upon the face of the earth and he attained Kavod Elokim, God’s glory”. We read in Proverbs (25:2) “The glory of G-d is to conceal a matter”. We read in our Parsha that suddenly the Children of Israel began to challenge Moshe Rabbeinu: The man that led them out of Egypt through the desert, providing them with food and water and turned them into a holy people is now berated by them. They’ve become suspicious of him. How could he leave us for forty days and nights? How could he do this and how could he do that? His own siblings reproach him. He answers with the sound of stuttering silence. He doesn’t hold from himself; this is not about his self- esteem or personal confidence and aplomb – but he has made himself a complete pipeline from Hashem- Neto.
The distrust continued as we will soon be reading about the sin of the spies who were the chiefs of their tribes. The very concept of the Land of Israel was met with skepticism. Demanding to put their eye on it and seeing it so steeped within the realm of nature, its holiness contracted with in its physicality. The report they gave was a bad one- the Bnei Yisrael asked to return to Egypt rather than enter so strange a place- the spies willed to retain their statuses as honored chiefs- with kavod of melachim- with the glory of kings- without understanding the honor of Elokim (the glory of God) they therefore could not make a vessel for the light that would lead into redemption and therefore perished in the desert.
“I am but the dust of the earth” said King David about himself. “But the whole earth was created for me”. If you or your loved ones are being bullied right now – remember – it is not about you. It’s not about your tee-shirt. It is not even about anything as long as you Create a vessel. Fill it with light. Illuminate.