Dance Around The Golden Calf And Shattering Of The Tablets Of The Covenant
Question: On the seventeenth of Tamuz, Moses came down from Mount Sinai, and when he saw his people dancing around the golden calf, he broke the first Tablets of the Covenant. What does this mean from the Kabbalistic point of view?
Answer: From the point of view of Kabbalah, the Torah is not talking about the objects and phenomena of the material world. It is unlikely that Moses, who was 80 years old, could come down from the mountain with the heavy stone Tablets of the Covenant.
Also, Mount Sinai is not a mountain, the tablets are not tablets carved in stone, and Moses didn’t have glowing horns on his head as Michelangelo scuplted him. The people of Israel—who, from the times of Abraham, were educated in spiritual attainment—could not engage in the casting of a golden calf.
Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai is a descent from the spiritual level where he revealed the Creator and then came down from it to connect with the people, meaning that the Torah speaks about spiritual degrees. The upper degree is Moses, who is on the level of the Creator, where he reveals Him and is in contact with this force of bestowal and love.
The lower degree is that level to which Moses descends to be with the people. In Kabbalah, the AHP of the upper descends to Galgalta ve Eynaim of the lower. Moses comes into contact with the general egoism in order to begin correcting it. Here, he sees that his detachment from the general egoism upward to the Creator happened at the time when this lowest egoism of the people fell to the next lower degree.
We are talking about three degrees. The upper degree is where Moses is in contact with the Creator. The middle degree is the one to which he descends in order to be with the people of Israel. The lowest degree is like the nations of the world, the same Egypt that the people of Israel already had left, but now are there again.
After all, as soon as Moses broke away from his people by climbing up, these people immediately fell to the lower degree because no one was holding them. This is a connection of the nation of Israel that wasn’t yet a nation, but simply a desire that rose from egoism and fell into it again.
When Moses saw this, he felt that the Upper Light he received from the Creator disappeared in this egoistic desire because the Light and egoism are incompatible with each other. So, the shattering of the Light occurred, the Light seemed to disappear, and accordance with it, the golden calf is diffused, dissolved, and destroyed as well.
However, the correction is impossible without it because the entire process leads us to the recognition of human nature, its connection with the lower level, called the nations of the world, and the impossibility of combining the Upper Light with material egoism.
Question: Is this the first contact between the Creator and the creature?
Answer: No, there can be no contact because Moses must be in the middle. He is the quality of Bina, the Creator is the quality of Keter, and all of humanity is on the level of Malchut. However, the shattering creates a connection through Moses between level of the Creator and level of the creature. These opposite qualities enter each other, and then it is possible to begin the next stage of correction.
Now, when Moses rises to the Creator, his interaction with both the Creator and the people that sinned is completely different. After all, the people that fell to the level of the golden calf have much more egoistic desires that are passionate, Egyptian, and real! Therefore, Moses now raises to the Creator much more internal, real, and deep desires to be corrected.
He spends forty days on Mount Sinai again. However, these are a completely different forty days. They are forty degrees of rising from Malchut to Bina. However, it is not from that Malchut where they were during the exodus from Egypt, but from the one on which they created for themselves the same Egypt at Mount Sinai.
The second forty days is completely different in its quality of ascent from the golden calf to the Creator. Naturally, the tablets Moses receives the second time are completely different. They are suitable in their quality to the state of people who fell to the level of the golden calf. With such tablets—meaning with such connections between the golden calf and the level of the Creator—they can begin to work on themselves.
Mount Sinai symbolizes the enormous hatred (“Sina” means hatred) that is revealed as an incongruity of qualities of the Creator and the creature, that is, qualities of complete bestowal and love, and qualities that wish to live just for themselves. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai the second time, from the height of the level of attainment with the Creator and connection with Him, he comes down from it on Yom Kippur.
On the one hand, this is a day of the recognition of our nature. On the other hand, it is a day of forgiveness. From this day onward, the correction of the people begins, and the next stage is Chanukah and other dates that symbolize spiritual actions.
Hopefully, we recognize the correct work with the Tablets of the Covenant that are within us. We only can identify them and implement them on ourselves.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 7/11/16
The Humble Attribute Of Bestowal
Who Can Hear The Torah?
The Descent From Mt. Sinai
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