Hey, there. It’s me, Yaakov: blogger, social entrepreneur, rabbinical student, Chassid, and dude.
These roles may be descriptive, but are they the real me?
I want to share with you a teaching, rather a story, I came across several years ago that complete revolutionized the way I conceive my true identity. I hope it will do the same for you.
I discovered I am not merely Yaakov Lehman, the geographically and temporally bound soul that entered “the matrix” in a 20th century desert called Tucson, Arizona. In reality, I am but a contemporary manifestation of a much larger soul structure, a sub-iterated fractal of a greater cosmic entity known as Yaakov Avinu, our patriarch Jacob. Far out, man.
I want tell you about the time that I rescued the story of myself. I’m still doing it to this day. For I am the recipient of the perennial narrative of humanity, and you are as well.
Pay close attention, and you may uncover the secrets of your own life story.
In this weeks Torah portion, Parshas Vayetzey, we are recounted the story of how the Patriarch Yaakov left his home in Beer Sheva and went to go live with his mother’s family in Haran. Yaakov agrees to work for his uncle Lavan for seven years in exchange for the right to marry his daughter Rachel. He ends up marrying Rachel, Leah and their two maidservants, and spends a full 20 years in Haran before fleeing from his deceitful brother-in-law with his entire family.
If we take the Torah at face value, it is recounting a biblical story that can lend us a nice dose of inspiration and moral strength for our lives…. ACH, SHALLOW! We might as well pack our bags and return to Babylon ourselves.
The ancient sages of the Kabbalah present us with a far more profound conception of the true nature of reality. The Torah is a unified codex of human experience, the cosmic source-code of Creation. Prior to the inception of space and time, the Torah existed as a higher dimensional blueprint detailing the entire corpus of humanity.
Describing the era immediately preceding the Big Bang and ensuing inception of life as we know it, the Kabbalists describe how this unified intelligence shattered, sending sparks of primordial light throughout what would soon become our entire universe. These luminescent shards of the ultimate source-code remain hidden away to this day, concealed in mundane aspects of our life, waiting for someone to come along and decode the message. This concept is known as the Torah in exile. Our job is to extract out these holy sparks from amidst their shells of concealment and re-integrate them into the framework of positive life practice.
The world is full of these holy sparks. Often times they are found where we would never expect them. As the prolific storyteller once spoke, “One in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right”.
Let us return to our Patriarch Yaakov Avinu. The Meor Einayim, a student of the Baal Shem Tov, relates to us that the whole reason Yaakov went to the house of Lavan was to extract out the holy sparks that were embedded there from time immemorial. The story of Yaakov marrying two sisters, working in the field, and breeding sheep- all those seemingly innocuous tales transmit a far more potent spiritual message: Yaakov was restoring the fallen sparks of the supernal Torah to their true source.
Now here is where the story really gets wild. The Meor Einayim asks, what was the nature of those sparks that Yaakov came to rescue while he was in Haran? He answers that they are the very verses of the Torah that describe Yaakov’sjourney to Haran. That’s right, Yaakov went to redeem the story of himself.
There is a huge take home message for us. The sages teach that each of the stories told of our forefathers establish a pattern for our lives. Our story, our destiny, has been scripted upon high. Though our free will remains, we each nevertheless have a story that is waiting for us to reveal in the world. Our souls have come down to fulfill a particular purpose. Whenever we come across something in the world that seems misaligned or out of balance, we must consider the faw fact that it may be our very own special task to fix it. We are the only ones who can rescue the sparks of our own story.
On a related note, this week is particularly meaningful for me I, present day Yaakov, married my own present day Rachel two years ago on Parsha’s Vayetze. Below is a digital recounting of that story.
I bless us all that we continue to illuminate our lives by attaching ourselves to the source-code of all creation, the Torah hakedosha. Through accessing these ancient sparks of wisdom, we can greatly enhance our understanding of our surrounding reality, and our soul’s unique role in restoring it to homeostasis and everlasting, eternal peace.