Grief is an intense emotion. It stops us in our tracks. We all experience grief when we feel a loss and never is that loss felt more powerfully than when we lose a cherished loved one. A dear friend and dedicated teacher at The Kabbalah Centre, Shimon Sarfati, passed this week. My profound love and sympathy go to his wife Rachel and his children Yehuda, Esther, Miriam, Michael and David.
On Monday night, during his Zohar Connection Shimon said “There is a difference between being alive and living.” This is such a profound teaching and deeply touching to all who knew him. Shimon was an amazing teacher, his laughter and care for everyone he met were living principles of Kabbalah.
Kabbalists teach that this is a world of illusion, limitations, finality and doubt. Our physical existence, while tangible, is hidden from the spiritual realms. In essence, death is an illusion and exists only in this physical world. The soul never dies, only the body.
From Rav Berg’s Wheels of the Soul:
The soul lives eternally. Until we understand this, we are locked into a worldview that spans only 70 or 80 years and are prevented from embracing the universal consciousness that should really form the basis of our understanding.
We must look toward this vast metaphorical wheel, with souls studding its rim like stars on the edge of a galaxy … the wheel that is constantly turning. And with its motion, souls come and go in a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.”
Kabbalah teaches that one purpose of our lives is to leave our baggage here. Any hatred for others, hatred for self, lack of certainty, lack of kindness, all of these negative human tendencies we are meant to overcome and not carry them back to the upper realms with our souls.
While we have certainty that the soul lives on, it in no way mitigates the intensity of our grief. It can however, propel us to a renewed dedication to life, a life of deeper gratitude, elevated consciousness and overwhelming kindness.
In closing, I’d like to share these words from Rav Berg,
“We must cast away all dissension and hatred and concentrate instead on the truly important tasks: bringing peace, eternal life, and resurrection of the dead to the world. Impatience and intolerance are our greatest enemies. Removing fragmentation from human experience requires abolishing hatred toward all those whose opinions differ from our own. Rather than feverishly attempting to impose our opinions on the world, it is better for us to join hands with people who think differently from us, and together bring blessing and benefit to all mankind.”- Days of Power, page 268
Thought Into Action
Death brings with it an overwhelming appreciation for life. We view our lives against the shadow of our loss and are overwhelmed with gratitude, not only for what we still have, but for the memories we will carry forever. Write down five things you are grateful for in your life and carry the list in your wallet so that you can look at it daily.