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Intention During a Festive Meal


44)During the morning lesson we talked about the intention at the time of study. Intentions are one's desires, what one wants to achieve or one's life program and aspires to in his mind and heart his entire life; it is also one's disappointments and hopes. All of this is expressed during the lesson. Why? Because at the time of study one establishes the connection with the Source, from which comes all the powers acting upon this world and every person in it. It follows that during the lesson one can address, plead, ask, demand, and bring changes. This is almost impossible at other times.

The exception is a festive meal. In comparison to a lesson, a festive meal is even more special, and in this sense, it differs from the studies. During the lesson the connection with the Upper Force is established, thanks to the book and the Kabbalist who builds that connection for the student. A Kabbalist gives a student a book that describes the place of the Upper Governance. On the other hand, the situation during a festive meal is different. The people sitting around the table are not at the level of a Kabbalist who tells them about the world of Atzilut, from where the powers are descending upon us. On the contrary, we, the little ones, existing at this level, build a vessel, and, without any connection established and attuned beforehand, address the Upper Force ourselves.

A festive meal is where we form something common; it is a connection between people. In the book of Zohar and in general with all the sources, one can read about the righteous who set up a table, and sit together eating. What is the essence of all these festive meals? They are the expression of the connection between the people who unite this way. Each builds his connection with the others and wants to unite with them, for he desires to attain a particularly high [spiritual] degree. And then there is no need for words. This is really what was happening at the abode of my teacher. The last Kabbalist of our generation, Rav Baruch Ashlag, conducted festive meals in a special way. He insisted that everything happen in silence. Nobody talks to each other; everybody sits, eating silently, hardly breathing,  keeping the inner focus – each by himself.

One would think that, on the contrary, a festive meal is exactly the time when one can exchange a few words with a neighbor, or friend, or stand up and say something - but no. It is interesting to note that in spite of commonly accepted norms, a festive meal means something completely different.  Let one think about why he is sitting together with the others, what he will receive from this, what he is drawn to, what he should be thinking about together with the others, and what he wants to receive as a result of this action. Particularly during the time of a shared meal, it is very important that one delves deeply into the inner work, the inner focus, and question: "What do I demand of my life?"

And the truth is that the Kli is totally ours. Nobody is establishing a connection for us. We, and only we, are doing it by organizing a shared meal and connecting with each other now. We, in particular, are looking for the goal. Nobody else is opening the connecting line for us with the world of Atzilut. Based on the connection between us, we, ourselves, are trying to raise a request, so that we can follow it with our sensations and rise to the eternal, perfect, and illuminated world. All of this happens thanks to us. This is why concentration during the meal, attention to what one wants to say to himself and to convey to the others in his silent cry – all of it has to be much stronger. The inner cry has to be much louder than during the lesson.

I hope that we will reach a point when our festive meals will be the same as the meals of the great righteous men, who, according to the book of the Zohar, reached the connection with each other and the Upper Force only due to such festive meals.(Festive Meal at the Gathering of Friends, February 8, 2005)

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