The Gemara quotes a verse in Zecharia 14:6 which alludes to a special light that will manifest itself in the post messianic era. What is the nature of this light? 

The Mey HaShiloah offers an interesting explanation:

Light in the material world is only meaningful by contrast with darkness. After all, we would be just as blind in a world filled with light and no darkness as we would be in a dark world. In fact, the opening of Maseches Pesachim makes this exact point that the inspection for Chametz is at night, as the contrast of the lamplight and the darkness facilitates an easier search.

However, in the World to Come, perception will be based on a vision that sees the spiritual reality of everything. Such a vision does not require contrast and therefore is a different form of light. 

This brings us to consider the psychology and philosophy of Phenomenology, that is the study of consciousness from a first person point of view. In our current physical existence we are always more or less imprisoned within our subjective experience. The subjective experience can be understood as the sensations and related conscious and unconscious thoughts, along with expectations that we have been conditioned to expect from our lives. For example, you see “square with four sticks extending from the bottom”. Your retinas detect the photons reflected off this object and form a pattern of neurological activity that over time you associate with what is called a table. This is no small feat and relies on perception, experience and cultural expectation. In contrast, a house fly will just see “surface”. 

Understanding that our lived experience of consciousness and related thought is dependent on context and its learned interpretation can momentarily free us from the shackles of consensus reality. This can make us more open to other less structured forms of awareness that are inherent within beneficial spiritual and psychological states that can liberate us from myopic depressive tendencies. 

Let me conclude with just one example. Imagine you are jogging for exercise. What are your physical sensations? Radiating body heat, muscle aches and rapid breath. Isn’t it odd that those are the same symptoms as the flu? When you are exercising you give a context and meaning to these self-induced sensations and rightfully decide it’s good for you. However, those same symptoms signal gloom and disease if you have them while not exercising. That is not to dismiss the reality and danger of the flu. Walking is not an inherently dangerous act, but it can be dangerous if it is on a highway. So of course the Flu is dangerous to your health and jogging is good for your health. But the misery of your experience might be more dependent on learned patterns of thoughts, feelings and expectations.  We cannot always avoid hardship but we can avoid misery.


For Video versions of this click here, and look for title and daf.  

Translations Courtesy of Sefaria