Kabbalah By Heart

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Certified Kabbalah Coach


The Brightest Darkness

Posted on April 17, 2023 at 7:45 PM

The Haggadah asks the important question: Why is this night different? Mah nishtanah ha laila" can be translated as "What changes the night?" According the R. Asher Crispe, this is the most important question of our lives: what changes darkness?


Hashem says in Genesis, after creating everything: this is "good" and "very good". So where's the bad? Isn't that what we're talking about? The darkness is just badness. Right? Well, Kabbalah asks us to think again because Sh'ma Yisrael of course! It's all One, there is NO opposing power, force or entity. Contrary to what the prevailing religion in America tells you. There is no capitol "S", only the suton with a small s - which is more like a verb than a noun.


The Brightest Dark

This email is too esoteric. How to bring it down into mundane life circumstances? I've had a few dark moments in my short life. But again, the Kabbalists tell us that there is no dark other, power or Entity. In fact, my own rabbi has been musing during Pesach: Why is there no talk in the Haggadah about "bad" things? The Egyptian treatment of the Israelites was bad and Chametz is bad but everything else is simply called "bitter".


What's the difference? Bringing it down into my trip to Israel. We visited Kever Rochel in a bulletproof bus with an armed guard and saw the severe walls protecting us from the terrorists. Yes, very bitter. But we got to visit within a majority of Jews. We got to pray to our ancestors despite what kind of treatment lay for us on the other side of that wall.


Wall protecting Jewish visitors to Kever Rochel

Plus, when we went back to our hotels in Jerusalem, the streets were shining and bright and new, possibly because we are the majority? In Genesis, it's all called, "good" and "very good". The bitterness is like the healing medicine balm once it's dealt with. It's an outer covering that inspires us to heal and create more and more goodness.


There is an idea in Chabad Hasidism that medicine can be bitter. Medicine can taste bitter but it can also help and heal. Ain Od Milvado. There is nothing other than the ONE and Only. Whatever happens in this world is in Hashem's Hands. Even the bitterness is for the healing of the world. It's a verb that impels us to create more of the Good.




If we see the darkness as medicine, can we gain the ability to change darkness to LIGHT? As we interact with bitterness, can we change it into something that heals? And as we do that does it foster our ability to be co-creators in a better future? Can we take our focus off the "bad" and instead focus on making the bitterness into a sweetness? Then the little "s" becomes simply a stumbling block that tries to bring us down but instead gives us "stuff" to work on - medicine to help find the Light again.


There really is no "bad" created in the world. Only bitterness that inspires us to find the real truth, the Higher truth beyond and hiding behind and even within the All There Is.


Take good care,



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