Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Ten Emanations and Human Encounters

In everflow, innocence, Kabbalah, love, relationships, shefa on March 29, 2009 at 5:41 am

Today while pondering a very human problem in a wondrous meditative state, my four years spent translating a Kabbalistic work came to the rescue and eased a concern that had been rattling my psychic cage for many months.

Shefa is a Hebrew term that describes how God’s energy sustains the world. I translated it with the neologism “everflow“. To my knowledge, it is a unique translation, but I feel it is the most accurate. The “Shefa” flows through the ten emanations of God, through channels. If the channels are in repair, than the Shefa pours bountifully through these ten emanations, the Sephirot until they reach the lowest emanation, then all that energy is concentrated and pours out to the world.

It is we, by our deeds, who keep the heavenly channels in tact so that the everflow will pour freely through all the emanations, and if we fall short, then the channels are ruptured and the everflow spills out to the darkness and destructive, empowering all that is negative.

Relationships born out of innocence, and ostensible purity of purpose feel this everflow so profoundly that at the moment it feels that it will be forever, untainted. The channels are secure, and the emotional bounty will be never ending. During these moments who wouldn’t sacrifice all else to preserve these feelings.

Invariably, because of human frailty, and the challenges of everyday living, something goes awry. The channels are breached, and the spectre of suspicion hovers, growing stronger until all those feelings from before feel like a tragic misdirection, except it wasn’t, it was real, but we are not focused or conscious enough to maintain that spirit, the way we have come to expect it.

Some everflow, however, still flows through the channels and drips down, but now it has to compete with all the darkness, the anger, the jealousy, the disappointment, the suspicion, and overwhelmingly, the guilt.

The everflow does, however, have the edge, for it is eternal, and cannot stop. The water always seeps through the thickest walls of despair. We created the walls and we can knock them down. We make them big, but with the help of the everflow from our Creator, we can make them small until they disappear.

The purpose of prayer is to affirm that we believe in the goodness of that which sustains life, love, justice and peace and we believe that we are sustained from a Divine energy beyond ourselves and it is that energy which is eternal. Everything else is temporal. When this belief transforms behavior, the channels are repaired, the darkness recedes, and the world is sustained. If they aren’t repaired, then we limp along gathering glimmers of the eternal now and then, once in awhile.

As long as there is life, there is the everflow sometimes weak, sometimes strong, but constant and never ending.

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