However, the revelation of this life-giving spirit is faced with many powerful and difficult obstacles. We have already long become accustomed to perceiving ourselves as separate individuals, to worrying only about our own personal completion – whether in physical or spiritual matters. Together with this, we have become used to sharpening the differences between ourselves and others, to consider others with suspicion as if they are threatening one’s existence and lifestyle, standing guard against them to protect one’s own agenda and the interests necessary for his ow success etc. From here arises the sense of security one feels in the company of those who share his path or the community with which his family identifies, as well as a closedmindedness and even a sharp aversion toward groups that differ from one’s own group.

Our having grown accustomed to living in a state of separation has become deeply rooted in the depths of our souls and represents the secret of the deep slumber which exile has brought upon us, about which the Zohar teaches in Pasach Eliyahu, “The tzaddikim are sleeping, slumbering in their caves,” an incredibly deep sleep. This sleep is the slumber of the Shechinah, the essence of our collectivity as a single body. We are asleep to this reality, a reality that is distant from our perception and very far from our current experience.

For if we would waken to our essential collectivity, if we would feel the way in which we are literally a single body, the foundation of the way we relate to one another would be different. The necessity of our oneness would be clear, our common denominator would be so great that we would easily find various ways to accept the differences between the limbs – even to find the spark of light and blessing born specifically because of these differences, just as the blessings of the body are a result of its being a composite of different limbs which have diverse functions – together functioning as a complex body.

It is explained in Pasach Eliyahu that the essence of redemption, which is the revelation of the spirit of collectivity – the secret of the Shechina’s light, depends on this waking up from our sleep, arising from the slumber of exile, as the Zohar (Tikkunei Zohar 17b) states:

“May the elevated ones listen – Moshe Rabbeinu and those sleeping in Chevron – wake from your slumber! “Awaken and arise, you who sleep in the earth” – these are the tzaddikim who are an aspect of the Shechinah about which it states, “I am sleeping, but my heart is awake,” and they are not deceased. This is why it says about them, ‘Awaken and arise.’ Awaken, Moshe ad the Avos, awaken to the rousing of the Shechinah which is asleep in exile. For until this point, all the tzaddikim are slumbering, with sleep in their eyes.”

This goes to teach us that this slumber is in relation to the Shechinah, about which it states, “She is sleeping in Her exile”, and it is our obligation to wake Her up – and then redemption will come, in the mystery of that which is written in the stead of this awakening, “For my head is drenched with dew” (Shir HaShirim 5:2) – the dew of techiyas hameisim, the mystery of waking up from death, an aspect of this sleep.

This is the secret of the “Keitz” (lit. ‘end’, a reference to the final redemption), which is related to the word “Yekitzah”[1] (waking up), for exile is sleep, and the end of this exile is our waking up from this sleep – arising to the dawn of redemption the shines within and illuminates our souls.

Therefore, it behooves us to contemplate this slumber, for it is the foundation of our mission, the secret of waking up and arising to redemption, which will bring upon us the great spirit that will enable the entire nation to live as a single body.

[1] Adir BaMarom.


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Rav Reuven Sasson
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