Shavuos: Vessels of Light


The Zohar has been handed down to us in code by the saintly Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai, who received it from Eliyahu HaNavi in a cave, close to two thousand years ago.

For centuries, the Zohar (Kabbalah) was not accessible to the masses. It was learned and understood only by the יחידי סגולה, the highest souls of each generation.

The Zohar takes man on a behind-the-scenes tour of the inner workings of the universe. It reveals to us that in fact the world is round, the sun is covered in a casing called nartik, as well as the clincher—the exact recipe man can use to manipulate and navigate the spiritual forces around him, which “nurse” and feed off his actions, to make them work for him!

These are just some of the Zohar’s revelations to mankind, many of which have only recently been discovered by modern technology.

The Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi, who lived about 500 years ago, and the Baal Shemtov, Rabbi Yisroel ben Eliezer, who lived 300 years ago, “cracked the code” and made Kabbalah accessible to the masses.

When you see what goes on behind the scenes, suddenly, what you perceive before you on “stage” takes on a whole new level of clarity and understanding.

With your permission, I would like to offer you a sneak peek behind the scenes of “reality”, and give you a closer look at what the Zohar tells us is really going on here.

The Arizal explains that there are 5 levels of consciousness in a man’s soul:

The first and lowest is called Nefesh. The Nefesh is the force that pumps life into the body. It is what Chinese medicine refers to as the “chi” (or qi). The Nefesh is responsible for man’s vitality.

The second is called Ruach. The Ruach is responsible for the movement of the life-energy in man, or what we refer to as emotions. Emotions set a person moving in the direction of how he feels.

When he is happy, his life-force energies go up, and his actions present accordingly. When he’s scared, they slow down. When he’s angry, they explode in all directions, and when he’s sad, they shrink and man retreats from his life.

The 3rd level of consciousness is Neshama. The Neshama is accessed by a person’s actions. It’s not in constant contact with man.

The famous example used to explain these 3 levels of what we refer to as the “soul” is the glassblower:

The glassblower breathes into the hot glass, thereby shaping it and giving it form. The vessel is the Nefesh, the air that is blown into the glass—giving shape to the glass—is the Ruach, and the air originating in the glassblower’s lungs, which goes in and out of the glass, is the Neshama.

The Arizal explains that when a person prays, learns, helps another in need, etc., his Neshama lights up over his head and fills his being with pure energy, emanating directly from the source of all life—Hashem! As long as the person is in spiritual activity, he remains connected to his Neshama’s energy level.

There have been only 3 people who lived their entire lives on a constant level of Neshama: Adam, Chanoch, and Moshe Rabbeinu. The rest of us bounce in and out of this level over the course of our lives. Some more than others…

The forth level of consciousness is called Chaya. Chaya is the ACTUAL life-force itself. It IS the force that sparks life. This is an extremely high level that few have managed to achieve. This is the energy that can give life to something dead. Elisha the navi had access to Chaya energies, and with his words, he was able to resurrect a dead child.

Finally, the 5th and highest level is called Yechida. This is the ability to live every moment in total dveikus (connection) to G-d (on the highest level possible).

When we speak about the “Light of Moshiach”, it’s this light of Yechida that we are referring to. Once revealed, this light gives man a crystal clear look at what reality TRULY is.

Imagine yourself in a dark room with no idea where you are or what you’re surrounded by, and then the light goes on for a few seconds. Quickly, your mind snaps a picture of what’s all around and where you are in relation to all of it. That’s the light of Yechida; it’s the clarity and understanding, beyond anything we could imagine, about the reality we live in.

The Zohar explains that this high light—Moshiach’s light—illuminates periodically at certain times of the year. Those times are Yom Kippur, Shavuot, and Purim.

In order to receive this light—the light that gives life to our spiritual vision, our clarity, and our longevity—man needs to come with vessels. If he comes with vessels, he can “fill up” with this sacred light.

The Baal Sulam writes in his essay, Shiviti, that the main two vessels needed in order to draw from this hidden light during the time of Shavuos are the following conditions:

1) Simcha—to have joy in our hearts about the life we are living, exactly as it is right now. He teaches that if we can bring ourselves to be “מחבק את המציאות”, embracing the life we have as it currently is, loving it and knowing that Hashem has deliberately orchestrated it this way for our greatest good, then we will be privy to this endless light, which will help us to see our life’s path more clearly.

2) Ahavat Yisrael—Coming to the “mountain” is only possible if we come together. Hatred, grudges, resentment, and anger are the main blockages of shefa (abundance). If we want to receive the light during this incredible window of opportunity, we need to seal the cracks in our vessels and make peace with those we haven’t yet.

Lack of peace between two people prevents the abundance from coming down, and blocks it from lighting up our lives in every area.

This Shavuos, let’s be prepared with vessels in hand—ones of gratitude and joy for the life we live, despite the problems we face, and love in our hearts for every Jew, knowing that our encounters and disputes are all heavenly scenarios presented to help carve us into better people and further develop our spiritual capacities. 

Go make peace with those that came to you as messengers. Forgive them and love them, for they were simply put in your way to challenge you to come closer to your REAL self.

May we see the great light of Moshiach this Chag Ha’Shavuot, and rejoice in it for all eternity.

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Devorah Sisso is an internationally acclaimed Torah educator, motivational speaker and life-coach. Born in Israel and raised in the United States, she has a gift for connecting with Jews from all walks of life. Her energetic and soulful presentations have inspired literally thousands of people from across the Jewish spectrum, ranging from college students and Birthright participants to seminary students and young professionals. Devorah is especially known for her INCREDIBLE life story and her well-known BREAKTHROUGH Series, a 6-part training course on the power of the mind and the "Law of Attraction", based strictly on Judaic sources. Devorah has since developed BREAKTHROUGH II, a deeper look into the inner workings of the Nefesh and how to heal it through a Kabbalistic technique called Ein Habdolach. Devorah is widely regarded as one of the well known "stars" in the field of Jewish education. She recently moved to Israel with her family. Her recorded lectures can be found online on her YouTube channel, "Torah by Devorah", and on