Many people tend to understand the concept of abundance in rather narrow, material terms. Abundance is thought of generally as material wealth. The Kabbalist term, Shefa, applies a much broader perspective and a far wider definition to the concept; one that has very significant implications regarding how to experience life fully.
In Kabbalist thinking, the whole point to creation on one level is to be the recipient of God’s goodness. In Genesis, God is continually seeing the process of creation and Creation itself as being the embodiment of good. The entire universe is predicated on the foundation of good and the divine intention is therefore to continue to provide goodness to all realms in order to support that underlying base.
The concept of Shefa is a particularly important one in Kabbalist teaching; one that is central in understanding how the universe in general and humanity in particular are sustained. The principle implies the concept that like flows to like. God creates the world as the supreme manifestation of good and then sustains it constantly with the flow of goodness.
Though the word, Shefa, literally means abundance, in Kabbalist terms it implies considerably more than that. Shefa is actually, on the broadest level, the flow of goodness that comes to our world from the higher planes of existence. This means that first and foremost, the Shefa is a specific form of light that is sent down on one hand and drawn down on the other. It is the light of intended good and specific benefit.
This light is meant to add new vitality to the world and to enrich the experience of all who dwell on earth. In human terms, Shefa comes as blessing and has many forms. It can provide enlightenment, transformation and wisdom on the spiritual plane, evolution, growth and empowerment on the psycho-emotional level and resources,wealth and opportunity in the material world.
The Shefa is a dimension of the light of the Sefirah, Hesed. It is light that emanates from Hesed with a specific function. The light of Hesed per se is the force that gives life and sustains the world and all that is in it. That light is the energy of the Sefirah, Hesed. The Shefa is the derivative light of Hesed. The Shefa is that is blessing.
There is an intimate relationship between Hesed itself and the Shefa, but they are not the same thing. The Shefa is an energy that emerges from the light of Hesed. Its function is to bring blessing, benefit and enrichment to all the higher realms in general and the world in specific. The energy flow of Hesed is that of life force, the energy that enlivens both the higher levels of existence as well as our own. Without it the universe could not exist. Hesed’s energy is the lifeblood of creation as a whole and its flow is divinely ordained constant.
The Shefa, the flow of goodness, blessing, benefit and abundance is an additional element to the equation. Whereas the light of Hesed is a consistent factor in the maintenance of reality The Shefa is far more variable. It is effected by factors other than just the Divine Will.
The Shefa, on one hand, is send down from Hesed by divine direction, but on the other hand is drawn down to our level by need, by circumstance and in response to human action. Life force, Hesed, is sent from above as the sustaining power within creation. The Shefa, blessing and abundance, are a flow that is regulated. It is the level of benefit and enrichment specifically being activated and brought down from below.
The idea is that if there is a true need for blessing, healing and the manifestation of goodness on our level, in our lives, we have to seek it actively. We need to request it, make sure we are living our lives in a manner that renders us deserving of blessing and we must be completely open to receiving it when it arrives. As a result of our stimulus, the energy we are generating ascends and reverberates in the Sefirah of Hesed. Hesed, then responds by increasing the flow of the Shefa, which descends to our level proportionally.
We can be blessed and enriched in many ways that take on a multitude of forms, some recognizable and some extremely subtle. Abundance can come in many forms; physical or emotional health, prosperity and wealth, enlightenment and wisdom, love and support, community and friendship, insight and expanded awareness, spiritual development and inner peace.
One way or the other, when the Shefa reaches us we are nourished, supported and nurtured. With the Shefa, the light in our lives expands and our whole reality and experience of life are positively enhanced. The Shefa is the arrival of the good in response to goodness. Through centering our lives on doing good, we send our light up through the higher realms of existence and stimulate Hesed, the source of goodness. What comes down to us as Shefa as a result needs to always be understood as the purpose of creation as it is manifesting in our life.
Our response to this influx of blessings, richness and benefit needs to be one of genuine recognition of the divine intent, the appropriate use of what has been bestowed on us and gratitude.