I Was In Darkness Too

Friday, 31 January, 2020 - 6:05 am

Many times I have gone through the plague of darkness.

Some people might say that everyone experiences various periods of darkness. Usually they mean physical and material darkness – poverty, or, G-d forbid, a loss, grief; illness or pain.

In my mind that is not the definition of darkness; rather, that situation has much light. Because when a person sees and is aware of the low place he is in, then he is experiencing light. He sees. While he is coping with difficulties and pain, his eyes are open to the darkness, so he has light. Like the Jewish people who indeed were still slaves of Pharaoh, not free, but the Torah says about them that they “had light in their dwellings.” Because they saw and understood their situation, and when a person understands and knows his situation, even if it is miserable and painful, then this is light and not darkness.

Darkness is when we are in a life situation and don’t even know that it is darkness, don’t even know that there is such a thing as light, and therefore, of course do not dream that it is possible to go from the darkness to light.

Often I encounter a person who tells me about his marriage, or about how he handles life and I, looking on from the side (and it’s so easy to look on from the side…) am instantly aware of the darkness he’s in, and I understand that he is experiencing a “plague of darkness” and doesn’t even see that he’s in the dark. For if he would see the darkness he’s in he would not be willing to tolerate it. He would not be willing to receive crumbs instead of a loaf of bread. Right now, he thinks he is feeling great, but that is only because the darkness is preventing him from realizing that there is a loaf of bread here, and he is receiving only crumbs from it.

It is the same with our spiritual lives. Almost every Chabadnik can point to one particular hitva’adut in which he woke up and saw for the first time that he is in darkness. Sometimes it is just one single sentence that the Rabbi or the teacher said in that hitva’adut that awakened him.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but that is already the second or third stage. The first stage is to have “light in one’s dwelling” – to know that one is indeed still in Egypt, subject to Pharaoh, but there is a light shining that says, “Hello, you are living in darkness.” And then, I am sure that a healthy person will not rest until he achieves freedom and live in light.


Good luck!

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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