Monday, December 12, 2005

Bahir Verse 99

Let us continue on these pathways of discovery. Verse 99 dances with meanings. We will discern them and make some new ones to contemplate.

Bahir 99. What are these Forms? They are that regarding which it is written (Genesis 3:24), "And He placed the Cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword revolving, to guard the way of the Tree of Life." What is the meaning of, "He placed to the east (kedem) of the Garden of Eden"? He placed it in those paths that preceded (kadmu) the place that was called the Garden of Eden. It was also before the Cherubim, as it is written, "the Cherubim." It was furthermore before the flame, as it is written, "the flame of a sword revolving." Is it then before [the flame]? Heaven is called Shamayim , indicating that fire and water existed before it. It is written (Genesis 1:6), "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it be a division between water and water." It is then written (Genesis 1:8), "And God called the firmament heaven (Shamayim). " How do we know that the heaven is fire? It is written (Deuteronomy 4:24), "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."

Commentary: We are talking about the forms of our imagination. There we are directly immersed in the imaging of our reflection. When they say guard the way to the Garden of Eden it might be interpreted as guarding as in keeping someone or something out. A usual guard patrols and issues challenges to intruders. Here the verse says: Krd-t)

The JPS version translates this as to keep and not as Kaplan does when he translates it as to guard. In any event let's make the point again that the meaning is there so that we'll remember the way of return and that it will always be there for us to come back to. The flaming sword is the flash of inspiration which revolves within our consciousness. What we are talking about in terms of the Garden of Eden is the state of full awareness. We can only remember this state of being because we have all been there. It is the memory of this awareness that produces all inspirations and fosters every feeling of connection.

What are these Cherubim to the East of Eden. East is where the sun comes up. The Cherubim are our spiritual reminders that are activated during our inspired moments so that when we pass through the waters of consciousness we maintain our spiritual integrity and are not swayed by the passing away of time. We then experience the quickening which is denoted by the fire in the verse 99 above. It is the fire of understanding which does consume your doubts and provide both the spark and the fuel for our continuing journey all the while sustaining our awareness of the Garden of Eden or the fully aware state of being.

Consider the expression of thought as it travels through different media. The four worlds are represented here. None of these four worlds is independent of the other. Always you will have the challenge of reaching beyond yourself in comprehension. When you do so there is integration of the understanding that you have been going through. Intention will always lead to this point.

The last verse, 'the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God links us up once again in the four worlds. What is consumed? Our doubts the way of the status quo. This is what is consumed. Why jealous? Because you stand facing the mystery and sometimes turn away. When you turn away you lose out or appear to lose out. Jealous is a poor term here as the Torah has already gone through the many veils of its own making by now. A better term would be watchful as in the Lord your God is omnipresent in your lives. You cannot ever escape your own karma. Moses in the verse before speaks of not being able to enter into the land of Canaan and then after speaks about what happens when your children disobey this omnipresent God. Moses has his anger to blame for stayin behind and even though he has the understanding he isn't able to live his life according to this omnipresent God. It is ironic yes but more telling it is a true description of karma and its unerring way. The children who must be watchful are symbolic of your words and thoughts. Here is where you must be watchful and remember the omnipresence of God. If you speak unerringly it could bring ruin from an incomplete or wrongful making.

Verse 99 is telling us that by being mindful of all four worlds we are able to find our way back to the Garden of Eden. Our lives are determined by how we proceed amidst the omnipotence that surrounds us. Beyond these symbols are the very real facts of our lives which cannot escape the karma of our actions. It is only through right thought and action that we may proceed to lift ourselves up on high.


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