Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bahir 184

What becomes disconcerting after a while is the disparity between the world you are making and the world that appears already to be. This disparity exists due to your own preconceived notions about what the world really is. It isn't despite evidence to the contrary solid. Oh I know if you drop a ball it will hit the ground all right and that you can't drive any further than the vehicle in front of you but that isn't what I am talking about. It is this. The world is set up for change according to the changes you place upon. Just as water assumes the shape of its container so too does the world assume the shape of its container. What is the world's container? It is mind and quite specifically your mind. You may look no further as they say. It is exactly this question of where are we looking in terms of who is responsible for our good that this next verse addresses directly.

Verse 184. What is the reason that we say [in blessings, "Blessed are you...] who made us holy with His commandments and commanded us" [in the third person]? Why do we not say, "that You made us holy with Your commandments, and You commanded us, " [in the second person]? This teaches us that all commandments are included in the Life of Worlds. Because of His love for us, He gave us [the commandments] in order that they should make us holy and allow us to be worthy. Why? Because when we are in this world, we can become worthy of the World to Come, which is great. In its hand is the treasury of souls. When Israel is good, these souls are worthy of emerging and coming to this world. But if they are not good, the [these souls] do not emerge. We therefore say, "The Son of David will not come until all the souls in the Body are completed." What is the meaning of "all the souls in the Body"? We say that this refers to all the souls in man's body. [When these are completed] new ones will be worthy of emerging. The Son of David (the Messiah) will then come. He will be able to be born, since his soul will emerge among the other new souls. What is this like? A king had an army, and he sent them much bread to eat. They were so lazy that they did not take care of [the bread] which they did not eat [immediately]. The bread therefore became mouldy and went to waste. The king investigated to find out if they had what to eat, and to see if they had eaten what he had sent them. He found that the bread had become mouldy and they were ashamed to ask for new bread. How could they tell the king, "We did not take care of [what you sent us,] but now we are asking for more"? The king also became angry. He took the mouldy bread and ordered that it be dried and rectified as much as possible. He swore to the men, "I will not give you any more bread until you eat all this mouldy bread." He then returned the bread to them. What did they do? They agreed to divide it up, and each one took his portion. The diligent one took his portion and placed it in the air, taking care of it and keeping it in good condition to eat. The other one took it and ate it lustfully. He ate what he could and laid the rest aside, not taking care of it since he had given up on it. It spoiled even more and became so mouldy that he could not eat it at all. He therefore starved to death. He was then blamed for the sin of his body: Why did you kill yourself? Is it not enough that you ruined the bread the first time? But I returned it to you and you ruined it [again]. You ruined your portion because you were too lazy to take care of it. And not only that, but you also killed yourself." [The soldier] replied, "My lord, what could I have done?" He answered, "You should have taken care of it. And if you claim that you were not able to, you should have watched your friends and neighbours with whom you shared the bread. You should have seen what they did and how they took care of it, and you should have kept it like they did." They also interrogated him: Why did you kill yourself? Is it not enough that you ruined the bread? But you also went ahead and killed the matter of your body. You shortened the days of your life, or [at least] caused it. It may have been possible that you would have had a good son. He could have saved you, and [rectified] the damage that you and others did. Your suffering will therefore be increased on all sides. He became confused and replied, "What could I have done when I did not have any bread? With what could I have sustained myself?" They answered: If you would have strived and worked in Torah, you would not reply foolishly and brazenly like this. Because of your reply, it is obvious that you have not worked or strived in Torah. It is thus written (Deuteronomy 8:3) , "For not by bread alone does man live, but from all that emanates from God's mouth does man live." You should have searched and probed and asked, "what is it through which man lives?" What is this which "emanates from God's mouth" From here they said, "An ignoramus cannot be pious." If a person does not act with kindness (Chesed) toward himself, he cannot be called pious (Chasid).

Commentary: In a series of verses filled with the typical obscurity we find in the Bahir we have tried to make clear not only the directions that the Zohar is taking but also the pertinence that it holds for each of us. When I first started out writing out this subject I was unsure of where this would take me. I trusted in Hashem to lead me inside of the paths of right thinking so that I could explain this is a way that would make the obscure shine with the clarity deserving of this incredible series of collected writings. I was also unsure whether or not we would be able to apply these teachings to our Modern Kabbalah way of looking at things. Blessed be Hashem through the Shekinah that provided me with the inspiration to continue even when at first I couldn't make any sense at all of these writings. Finally now we reach a culmination in this verse 184. Because of the knowledge revealed here we will be able to connect the energies spoken of throughout all of the preceding commentaries. What I am trying to show you here is the light that inspires and how it shines through everything. Lets move on to the specifics of this verse.

"Blessed are you...] who made us holy with His commandments and commanded us" [in the third person]? We are speaking about the energy within that is inherent in our innermost being. It has formed us and has directed us to where we need to be in the moment that we need to be there. The holiness spoken of here refers to what happens when new meanings of Torah are spoken of. These new meanings are said to cause new worlds to come into being. These new worlds are brought about by the new relationships we are able to make in mind. These new relationships speak to the core level of creation itself; the expansion of consciousness. From the first single celled organism moving about in its world to the development of the higher senses of perception, hearing, sight, etc., consciousness has been continually expanding. When you read Torah keep in mind this expansion of consciousness and then note the many side roads that are taken as a result of the karma of consciousness or the controlled regulation of thoughts through its many interventions called experience. There is but one purpose to this expansion of consciousness and that is the unification of the higher thoughts with the lower thoughts through transformations both above and below. The 'world to come' that is mentioned here refers to this connection between higher and lower. It calls into play the responsibility that we have not only to become aware of these higher worlds of meaning intimated by Torah but we must also utilize our ongoing understandings in terms of how we are living our lives day by day. We are only worthy to merit the understanding of holiness if we accept upon ourselves the constant attention that we need to cultivate in order to derive these meanings from the words and phrases that Torah surrounds us with. We undertake this quest within inside of Torah so that we will learn the blueprint of creation first hand. In this way we can study how consciousness is sometimes expanding and at other times it seems to be temporarily stuck.

'What is the meaning of "all the souls in the Body"? We say that this refers to all the souls in man's body. [When these are completed] new ones will be worthy of emerging.' The souls in the Body are the spiritual counterparts of the ideas that have risen to the level of unification. These ideas make their way through the help of the Shekinah from the level of Yesod on the Tree of Life. Yesod is the level of generation and it is here that all new thoughts are first brought forth in response to the openings caused by the new revelations of Torah. An essential part of the way we understand anything occurs whenever we make a connection between one thing and another. In Torah the spark that runs across the wire between any two connections that have just been made is called the Shekinah. Think of it as the connecting force of realization. The Life of Worlds that is references here is really the energy of transformation that comes about as a result of Torah study that is directed towards unifying the above in terms of holiness with the below in terms of the chaos. This story about the King tells us this. We are already provided with more than enough to fulfill our every need as long as we husband the treasures that we are given and seek out new ways of connection our future happiness is assured. We make these changes within by teaching our consciousness that expansion is not only necessary but it is mandatory. We cannot remain static in our lives or in our study of Torah. This is because there in Torah when we seek new answers and meanings we will never walk away empty handed.

'It is thus written (Deuteronomy 8:3) , "For not by bread alone does man live, but from all that emanates from God's mouth does man live." ' This verse herein mentioned points out the insight that the bread we eat or the results of our manifestations are simply just one part of what our lives are all about. What emanates from God's mouth or what comes about because we are united with holiness is the sum total however, of our existence. Through this insight we are called to look at the process taking place and to recognize it as being our own personal experience. In this way the unification of both above and below are effected simultaneously through the ongoing actions of the Shekinah stimulated by our Torah study.

To recap: The Shekinah is the energy of force that goes through the wires of connection. The wires of connection are the intentions that take us from place to place in mind from revelation to revelation. Torah has the unique quality of always being in the right place at the right time of your life. All you have to do then is to wake up to the discovery of your own wires of connection to experience the energy of force symbolized by the Shekinah.


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