Friday, February 23, 2007

Parsha Terumah:

Terumah in Hebrew, literally, something that is uplifted or elevated (to a higher status). In this case it is an elevated offering. It is from this sense of meaning that we will proceed to investigate, inquire and indeed meditate. Reading this Parsha produces an elevated state of consciousness during which the hidden meanings of Torah are found between the spaces.

In order for Moses to be able to carry the tablets back with him he must prepare a suitable place for their keeping both within and without. What is this elevated offering and has does this explain the relationship between Hashem and man? Also how could there be anything, which a man could bring to Hashem that would be in any way acceptable? The answer to both questions turns out to be the same. It is a man’s attention. Hashem does not reveal himself without this attention. Man has to offer up himself. This means that we have to let go of our lower nature in order to ascend or be uplifted in respect to our relationship to Hashem. What is this like?

A King had four daughters each one more beautiful than the rest. He loved them all equally. One of his daughters was so beautiful that he kept her hidden from everyone except himself and the other three daughters. Her chambers were lined with gold and everything in there reflected the awesome beauty she radiated. The other daughters grew up with her and loved her but they still couldn’t understand why she was kept hidden and why her rooms were so much more wonderful than theirs. Also this daughter had a secret room known only to her father the King and herself. Sometimes she would go in there and disappear completely from her sisters. One day the three daughters asked the King why if he loved them all the same was this most beautiful of daughters treated so it seemed differently. Also they wanted to know where she went when she disappeared and why she had to remain hidden. The King answered as follows:

“Yes I do love you all equally. Look at you most precious one,” He said to the first daughter whose chambers were luxurious tents that graced the gardens in the grounds surrounding the palace. She loved the flowers and was perfectly in tune with the wonder of nature that filled her world from head to toe.
“Here in your garden you reign supreme and are perfectly suited to everything and everyone you meet. I am so proud of you. The people have taken you into their hearts. Your beauty and the majesty of all that you survey strike everyone who comes to the palace. And you dearest daughter,” He said to the second daughter, “are the first person to greet everyone as they enter the palace. Your chambers are lined with precious jewels and your garments are the finest in the land. When guests arrive their eyes open wide just to see you and marvel over everything that you have done to make this palace into a home. Now I look at you glowing and full of smiles,” He said to his third daughter. “You stand but a hairs breadth away from me sitting on my throne. With your good counsel I rule the land justly. Your joy makes everything possible. All of you ask about your sister. She lives in both worlds you know very well. When she disappears it is to confer with the Mystery that sustains this castle and the entire Kingdom. I know little more than you do about her but it is she who moves through us especially when she disappears. The truth is that she carries a part of each of you inside of her so that all of you will know the Mystery in your own way.”
The daughters marveled at this revelation and then remembered those times of sudden inspiration. Those were the same times that their sister disappeared from them completely. It all made sense to them when it was explained this way.

So it goes for the descriptions of the Tabernacle and the Sanctuary. One purpose is to be divined from these lengthy details and that is that nothing is greater than the holy of holies where Hashem does appear. Remember that Hashem is but a thought that describes G-d as he appears in the sense of ‘I am that I am.’ This entire section may be thought of as the architecture of deity-consciousness-man-works and the relationships that exist simultaneously between these four elements.

First is deity and hand of G-d or the Yud of Hashem.

Job 27:11 I will teach you concerning the hand of God; that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.

It is a directing ever-present influence that consistently seeks expression as Consciousness or the first Heh of Hashem.

Deut 12:5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come;

Through this first Heh there is the unfolding of all of our relationships bursting through the shell of reflection or the Vav of Hashem.

Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honor.

It then becomes a fixed reflection (Vav) that centers its awareness upon what it is becoming. This becoming completes the pattern and results in the final Heh of Hashem or the bringing to earth of the initial intention direction of Hashem.

Psalm 58: 12 And men shall say: 'Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.'

Moses is given the patterns for the construction of all of this and will be shown in even greater detail everything else that must be constructed. Hashem directs Moses to make everything. This is the blueprint of creation that is given time and again throughout Torah just in case you did not receive it the first time in Genesis.

Further now lets explain keeping in mind the above examples:

Hashem directs (Yud), Moses unfolds or gives the laws (Heh) and the patterns of creation while through the agency of the tablets these laws and patterns are projected and fixed (Vav) in the minds of Israel which leads to the fulfillment (Heh) of the Promised Land or the physical counterpart of what Hashem begins by directing.

How does all of this relate then to our own relationship with deity and the world that we are responsible for dressing and keeping?

We have an inspiration. It fills us and unfolds within us. Before it can get away from us we have to transform it by offering it upwards through our projection of the image or vision received. We have to raise our offering by reflection and recognition and be aware that we must make this into a holy offering. Holiness symbolizes the unity of consciousness and our total buy in with this inspiration allowing it to become fixed in our consciousness so that “no other G-d’s” will intrude or take away from this inspiration. It is only after our buy in or the unity of purpose and inspiration are met that we see fulfillment take place.

It is the mystical marriage that takes place between consciousness and the soul when in unity the soul defines its highest purpose. At this point your feeling nature will become one with your knowledge nature. You will go beyond yourself and in this journey find that what you have been looking for has all the while been seeking you.


Mark Siet

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Endlessly the light reveals itself.
The hidden realms no longer lie in shadow.
Through Torah the night becomes day as it was meant to be.
As Israel opens itself a rainbow appears and once again all is new.

Parsha Mishpatim:

Let’s put this section into context with the rest of Torah. The revelation has now passed through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and now resides in the children of Israel led by Moses and Aaron. What is this revelation? It is the unity of the presence of Hashem within. This unity applies everywhere and to everyone. Hashem speaks to Moses and to Israel. The problem is that Israel finds it hard to listen with the same degree of clarity as Moses. After Yitro meets with Moses the revelation seems to become even more distant from Israel as a series of laws are commanded providing even more of a veil to shield Israel from Hashem. This journey they take to the Promised Land will not end even when they get there since the revelation of Abraham Isaac and Jacob is determined in spite of the people’s stubbornness to reveal itself over and over again.

First of all even before Moses ascends the mountain to receive the tablets justice must be served. These many laws take precedence simply because the idea of Justice and Law are supreme in Moses eyes and in the hearts of Israel. Especially important are the laws concerning slavery since Israel has so recently experienced the burdens inflicted upon them by Pharaoh in their bondage in Egypt. Instead of doing away with slavery all together they try and make it palatable and equitable. Given the times they were living in it is a remarkable thing to give slaves any rights at all. The true meaning of Hashem’s revelation is however even further hidden away as more and more of the decision making process is given over to earthly authorities. The reasons for this are many. Moses has been trying to show these people what Hashem means to them and the people continually balk in their understanding. Therefore Moses devises something decidedly less difficult to understand as the earthly laws are made into statutes that are confirmed by Hashem.

Think of it like this. Hashem is a free flowing river that always moves through our soul everywhere all at once timeless in its expression. Each person has the choice of how much he or she wants to open up to this flow. The determining factor is consciousness defined by connection with Hashem. At the time of this Parsha Mishpatim the people were only ready to hear a little bit kind of like opening a valve perhaps a single turn in order to let a small amount of this river flow through. Remember in the previous Parsha Hashem speaks directly to this people. It is the single most terrifying experience they have ever had. As Hashem speaks the valve is opened wide and the people have no defense for this. Their souls are laid bare becoming conduits for the voice of Hashem that speaks to and through them. These laws and the justice they speak about are placed there to cut the flow down to size so to speak so that the people won’t be afraid. Moses gives them something that they understand. It is important to reiterate here that Moses is the go between Israel and Hashem. In order however, for Israel to be free a time must come when the revelation of Hashem must be turned open wide allowing each one to understand according to their own consciousness. Moses makes the determination to step down the understanding and as we will see repeatedly Hashem continues to flow as usual trying to remind the Jewish people of their birthright, the revelation revealed for all and in all.

Ex 23:23 For Mine angel shall go before thee … Here is the promise that the revelation shall be continuously brought to mind. No matter what laws or restrictions are placed upon the mind of man, of Israel, Hashem will always come through.

Moses writes down the laws setting up an altar with twelve pillars one for each tribe at the bottom of the mountain. Moses can only write, as he understands the words of Hashem. By setting up the altar he sets up the contradiction that will be with Israel throughout their journeys. The contradiction is that you can ever confine Hashem to any single place such as an altar or even as we shall see later on in the two temples that were constructed later on. Hashem moves through our souls and is everywhere present. Change and inspiration are how we connect with this presence. Restrictions caused by the ego mind in its attempt to set boundaries around even our thoughts are how we lose this connection. Even with these restrictions in place Hashem still shines through because by definition Hashem may never be contained.

It is the power or perception of Yud through the vehicle of Heh transcendent through Vav and transformed by the awakening of the second Heh that illustrates the movement of Hashem as we let go in connection experiencing the timeless moment in unity.

The concept of Hashem in movement and inspiration explains why our sages throughout history have always had their most amazing reflections during their travels. The Zohar is filled with such stories.

Why does Hashem call Moses to go back up the mountain? The law has already been given and expounded upon. The reason is this. By stepping down the message Moses has yes come down off the mountain. He has to go up again in order to receive more of the revelation. This is a metaphor that speaks to our understanding. We open ourselves to Hashem and then are filled. What is the very next thing that we feel the need of doing? It is the sharing of our revelation and that is exactly what Moses has done. Then after Moses shares his revelation he may only do the next thing, which is to reach up for more inspiration. Hashem calls him. We are always called by our highest consciousness to become open to the revelation especially after our cup is filled and emptied. Moses receives the words or higher truth from Hashem and then shares this with Israel. In order to continue to lead Israel he must go up or ascend to the heights of understanding in order to continue his teachings to Israel.

It is like this. Whenever you hear good news the first thing you want to do is to share this with everyone. After the initial excitement has settled down you then start seeking more good news.

Before going up Moses reads from the book of the covenant and then sprinkles the blood of the covenant over the people who have assented to everything that was spoken by Hashem via Moses. The book of the covenant represents higher thought. The blood of the covenant represents the sacrifice of our animal natures. In order to obey the covenant or listen to our higher thoughts we have to let go of those thoughts that stem from the ego or from a desire to receive for the self alone. This brings up a very important concept.
Spiritual awakening contains two parts. One is the inspiration or the receiving of the higher thoughts described by Kabbalah in the numerous works of our sages. The second part is the sharing of this information described exactly in the way our consciousness perceives it. You can never tell what words of inspiration will mean to someone. All you can do is to keep your thoughts focused on high. From there everything you say will have the transformative meanings of peace. The more that our intention is to share what we receive the more we open up to the ever flowing river that is Hashem. What do we build with what we receive? That is for next weeks Parsha where we will learn all about the temple within.


Mark Siet

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This finishes the section on the Sephiroth that we’ve been considering since verse 123.

193. And what is the meaning of the verse (Genesis 49:24), "From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel." From "There" is nourished the Rock of Israel. What is the meaning of "from There"? We say that this is the Supernal Righteous One (Tzadik). What is it? It is [the precious stone called] Socheret. And the stone that is below it is called Dar. And what are the rays mentioned in the verse (Habakkuk 3:4), "He has rays from His hand"? These are the five fingers of the right hand.

Commentary: We are repeating somewhat of what we’ve learned in the previous verses but this time we are putting them into context with each other. The meanings share each other’s radiance like the sharpened rays of a crystal will reflect through one another. What is important here is the word “there.” This tells us that there is a place within from which all the radiance of Hashem is shining. The purpose in telling us of this place is to remind us that the presence of Hashem within is a very real thing. This presence of Hashem emanates specifically from what is called the ‘rock of Israel.’ It is called the ‘supernal righteous one’ and yet as we can see these descriptions never quite pinpoint where exactly is this precious stone called ‘Socheret.’ All I can tell you about this radiant energy is that is does truly flow through us and there is what is called ‘Dar’ as a point of push off that defines the outflow of energy that in higher thought is recognized as Hashem. Coming here at the end of the section on the Sephiroth tells us that this zimzum or lightning flash is a product of inspiration that flows continuously according to our recognition of it. In keeping with that recognition the rays that are represented by the five fingers of the right hand alludes to our intention and the grounding of this energy in tangible form. The right hand reflects Chesed, which relates to the Supernal Righteous One who is a source for the blessings that ensue from the brilliance or overflowing of Hashem throughout our awakened consciousness. When you try and describe the indescribable you try and get as close as possible. After that it is up to you to take it the rest of the way. There is a deep secret here. Continue to meditate on this verse and see where it leads you.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Parsha Yitro

The curious character of Yitro shows up again in this Parsha. The last time we saw him was when he gave Moses leave to go back to Egypt to rescue Israel. Prior to that Moses has his revelation on Mount Sinai. Now just before Moses is about to go up the mountain again Yitro appears. Yitro is a priest (Kohain) of Midian. This mountain is also sacred to his people. Moses is pleased to see him and it appears even more so than he is to see his wife and two sons. Yitro acknowledges Hashem and builds an altar to Hashem to worship there. Yitro watches Moses judging the people and suggests something that at first seems very sensible but will later prove to keep Israel ultimately away from the very thing they are seeking, unity with Hashem. Yitro suggests organizing the people in a hierarchy or judges in order to save Moses from tiring himself. It is unfortunate and yet perhaps fated that Yitro appears when he does because it gives us a further insight into the problems that Israel has still faces today. This whole series of events has to be taken into account with everything that has taken place before. Remember Israel and Moses have defeated Amalek. Their faith in Moses and Hashem is at an all time high. Amalek or doubt has been overcome. It is perhaps their greatest victory. Then along comes Yitro to place intermediaries between the people and Moses, between the people and Hashem.

Ex: 18: 15 And Moses said unto his father-in-law: 'Because the people come unto me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a matter, it cometh unto me; and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and His laws.'

Think about this. No one knows better the connection between man and Hashem than Moses. It is in fact this very connection that has brought Israel this far to date. The priest of Midian in an astounding turn around for this people who worship Hashem in the open sets up in one fell swoop the entire basis for the priesthood. This is ironic because:

Ex 19: 6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.'

This is to be a kingdom of priests meaning each person would have their own connection to Hashem without the need for anyone interceding for them. Yitro has changed the dynamic on this.

Hashem is the recognition of the “I am” connection within. This is the revelation that has brought Moses so far along the path of an awakening consciousness. It is this “I am” voice within that Moses has learned to trust. Torah is showing us a very important lesson here that is repeated throughout our daily lives. We must learn to trust Hashem or the “I am” voice within in everything that we do and every direction that we take. So many times we disregard this “I am” voice to follow the dictates of what someone else might be telling us claiming that we do something for our own good. The examples are as numerous as the stars in the many ways this “I am” voice may be subverted in the guise of the mass mind consciousness. The lesson of leaving Egypt was that Israel could leave this mass mind consciousness that kept them in bondage to the lowest instead of the highest common denominator. As Exodus 20:2 states:

“I am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

This is the highest common denominator and is something that is taught over and over again throughout Torah. This “I am” voice that is Hashem must be hearkened to. It cannot be diluted by the mediation of the priests. For the first time we see the appearance of the priests and the distinction between priests and the people. It is Yitro who teaches Moses about the need for having intermediaries between the people and Hashem. Still even with this dilution of connection the message of Hashem is clear in his commandments.

Ex 20:3 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

The commandment concerning idol worship is telling us that we cannot look for external sources for our connection. It is always the “I am” that is Hashem that is our dwelling place. It is where we start every journey and the way in which we arrive at our destination safely.

Ex: 20:6 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.

Where is my heart’s desire and where is the place of my connection to Hashem? Would I listen to and hearken to something that only brings me ill? Do I hold up something in my mind that isn’t holy and if I do so am I ready for the consequences. The law of cause and effect cannot be ignored not by Israel not by myself.

Ex 20: 7 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy

Contemplation is path to connection. Shabbos applies not only to the day of rest but also open spaces within your mind where you may experience the “I am” connection.

Ex 20:11 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

This refers to Chokmah and Binah and to the law of cause and effect resulting from our thoughts in the moment and throughout our lifetimes. Everything comes from our connection to Hashem and our recognition that “I am” is both our guide and the naming force in the garden of our awareness both internal and external.

Ex: 20:12 Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

In terms of following our inner dialogue murder refers to our exercising undue influence over another so that they can no longer listen to Hashem. Adultery is similar in that we cannot appropriate another’s thoughts as our own. The same principle applies in terms of stealing and lastly we cannot substitute illusion for truth in the case of lying to promote our temporary gains.

Ex: 2013 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.

Each of us has the responsibility to think for ourselves and yes see the results of our contemplations appear in the world. If we are unsuccessful with these contemplations then it is up to us to change our mind. No one can do this for us. We should be rejoicing at someone else’s success because it is proof that our own success is on its way.

We must recognize that this was a primitive people and that Moses revelation was all the more astounding because of this. It is only to be expected that there would be very few amongst Israel who could even come close to this understanding. Because of this the sacrifices are maintained here by divine edict due to the need for this people to emulate somewhat the practices of those around them. The spilling of blood and the taking of innocent animal lives in order to satisfy Hashem is in my opinion an imperfect connection and certainly does not reach to the highest understanding we may attain. Death does not bring life or an expiation of sin. As we say in the high holy days, only repentance, prayer and forgiveness avert the divine decree. The only sacrifice we must ever make is the sacrifice of our egos and the thought that we are somehow separate from Hashem.

Hashem speaks to Moses and it is up to him to interpret what he hears to those who await the words of Hashem. The people are already placed distant to Hashem by their own preference since they are now convinced that coming too close will destroy them. What Torah then represents to us is cautionary tale. The “I am” connection must always be promoted within. In order to keep this connection and to follow the ways of Hashem I have to resist not only the promptings of my own ego but I must also be mindful that no one holds dominion over me in terms of my thoughts. Only Hashem is there to consider those thoughts that come from the Divine Presence. It remains my choice to follow these thoughts and to cling to them when being led astray by the temptations of the ego mind that seeks chaos.

I must always judge my thoughts by their fruits. The same applies to my actions. At all times I am either moving in the direction of my freedom or towards Hashem or away from my freedom and away from Hashem. The single most significant determination of both my direction and state of mind is simple. What are the thoughts that I am thinking?

As soon as I begin to question my inner dialogue I begin to come closer to indwelling “I am that I am.” It is this very search within that define the spiritual dialogue I am able to discover within through inspiration and without through interpretation of Torah. If I look at Torah as the struggle for man to recognize the divine within I can then see it filled with themes of inner conflict.

First there is the conflict that arises due to the serpent’s voice and Hashem’s voice. When Hashem inquires after Adam in the garden this is the Divine seeking expression in this world of Adam.

Second there comes Abel and Cain with a similar theme listening within as opposed to listening without. The consequences are clear here as well in terms of the inner voice although in this case the inner voice (Abel) is sacrificed for the man of flesh (Cain). It is this inner voice that Torah keeps teaching us about. There is Noah who listens and is saved. Then Abraham listens and is tested through the sacrifice of Isaac as the inner voice or Hashem, “I am that I am” opens up a door to save Isaac. The flesh of the ram is substituted because the time isn’t right for this fuller understanding to appear that Hashem is all that is and there is nothing else.

Isaac we know meditated upon Hashem. He listened. Isaac is the centerpiece of Hashem. Since it was he who would have been sacrificed it is he who survived to continue the conversation of holiness within.

Third there is the struggle of Jacob and Esau. Once again it is the inner voice versus the voice of flesh or the outer world of demonstration.

Next Joseph is placed in the pit by his brothers symbolized the flesh trying to mask or hide the inner voice. Joseph then through his dreams ascends to the level of prophecy.

Moses receives the signature revelation of “I am that I am” as Hashem is revealed for all time. Through Hashem or the interpenetration of the inner voice all of the miracles are accomplished. Still the struggle continues as Israel keeps turning away from Hashem and Moses is tiring of trying to explain this concept to them. Finally here in this Parsha Yitro succeeds in convincing Moses that he now has to place restrictions and boundaries between Hashem and Israel. The revelation freed after Egypt once again becomes bound and must continue its struggle to reach all men inside of their own psyches. The Ten Utterances continue to express the Inner Voice that is Hashem even through the boundaries that have been self-imposed via Yitro’s counsel.

The struggle continues in the succeeding Parsha’s as the Inner Voice is cloaked then in laws and procedures that mask the revelation for Israel. The stories that follow will show how the revelation will continue to shine through Torah as it was meant to do. What strikes me most now is how Torah is able to show through this revelation and how much more light comes through because of the contrast between these conflicts and the revelation that appears in each weeks portion.

Mark Siet

Monday, February 05, 2007

The mystery deepens even more here as we get a sense of just who Abraham really was and what his awesome role in the world took on.

191. And why did they despise it? Is it not written (Genesis 26:5), "Because Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My watch, My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs." What is the meaning of "My watch"? It refers to what the Attribute of Kindness said: As long as Abraham was in the world, I did not have to do my job. Abraham stood there in my place and "kept my watch." It is my task to bring merit to the world, and even when people are guilty, I bring them merit. I also bring them back, directing their hearts to do the will of their Father in heaven. All this Abraham did, as it is written (Genesis 21:33), "And he planted a tamarisk in Beersheba, and he called there in the name of the Lord, God of the world." He would share his bread and water with all the people in the world, bringing them merit. Seeking to convince them, he would say, "Whom then are you serving? Serve the Lord, God of heaven and earth." He would preach to them until they would repent. How do we know that he would also bring merit to those who were guilty? It is written (Genesis 18:17), "Shall I then cover from Abraham what I am doing? Abraham is becoming a great, mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him." [God said,] "I will give him merit. I know that he will seek mercy for them and be worthy." Is it then possible to say that the Blessed Holy One did not know that they could be saved? But He told this [to Abraham] to bring him merit. From here they said, "If one comes to purify himself, they help him. If one comes to defile himself, they open for him." What is the meaning of, "they open for him"? It refers to those that are always open.

Commentary: Remember the story about how Abraham argues with Hashem in Ex: 24-33 that if Hashem should find ten righteous men the city of Sodom should be saved? This shows us what kind of person Abraham was that he would intercede here for the righteous. First of all imagine a world where no one is paying any attention to Hashem and then imagine that Abraham is praying for everyone and that through his actions the entire world is sustained. Man can only survive by acting in concert with Hashem. This is what this verse is speaking of in its own mystical way.

192. [It is written that Abraham kept] (Genesis 26:5), "My commandments, My decrees, and My Torahs." He said, "Since I do not want [the precious stone], I will keep all the commandments that are included in it." What is the meaning of "My Torahs"? This teaches us that he knew and kept even the decisions (Horah) and discussions that are taught on high.

Commentary: At Abraham’s level of understanding and commitment he was able to partake in the studies of the holy academy that have been going on since time immemorial. Consciousness develops through inquiry. Abraham has reached the elevation of thought known as Torahs. These are the teachings that come in response to his inquiries and conversations with Hashem. What is mentioned here are the decisions and discussion that are taught on high. When you ask the right questions the answers are considered on high and your thoughts undergo transformations accordingly. This precious stone refers to Jacob and to the center of consciousness known as Tiphereth. It is one thing to listen for the answers and know which thought to follow next within consciousness. It is something else to touch the center and then proceed in the way of Hashem. Abraham represents the way back for Israel and man in terms of listening within and being in touch with the highest of thoughts.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Parsha Beshalach:

It's breakout time. Understand this. The moment you have the realization that you can indeed be free of negative thoughts or the polarized left column of the Tree of Life, you will immediately be drawn in towards the center where harmony exists in perfection with the reality of your life. Egypt represents the reliance upon the material world for your well-being. It negates the causation behind material wealth and see the ends as a means unto itself. Israel represents the harmonization of thoughts that will occur in any free market system of thinking. This free market system of thinking allows thoughts to grow naturally without the hindrance of overpowering doubt. This isn't to say that resistance isn't necessary to strengthen the flow of cognition. It is just that we cannot mistake this resistance as a force divorced from the unification of Hashem. This is was and always will be the sole purpose of creation. It is that purpose that drives the energy which flows endlessly in response to our connection and aspiration to connection to the Tree of Life. Now in this timeless saga Israel flees from Egypt. What keeps them on the path when they are still feeling the lingering effects of negativity? How can they keep their focus and maintain their faith? These next verses give the answer.

Ex 13: 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:

Ex 13:22 ‘ the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people.

The understanding of these particular passages calls into play the Ancient Ones. The mere intention to delve into these deeper meanings that lie within here brings the holy assembly together. You see what we are doing here is examining the keys to the kingdom. This is the kingdom that consciousness makes and is making to be claimed by
any who would follow the pathways of awakening. What are these pillars of cloud and

The pillar of cloud by day is the awakening of consciousness to its own ability to transform from within these thoughts of negativity into thoughts of creativity. In this sense all of Israel was filled with inspiration. This inspiration comes direction from the presence of connection called the Shechinah. Shechinah flows in response to our aspirations. In this case Israel's aspiration is freedom. The way then towards freedom is shown by the Shechinah, which turns out to be our inner sense of the right way of being.

The pillar of fire by night serves the same purpose only this time it is with our subconscious mind. These are the thoughts that exist below the surface that we carry
with us being a part of the entire spectrum of consciousness. Israel carries with them the negative thoughts, which they brought with them from Egypt. Left to their own devices the negativity would overwhelm their subconscious mind. The pillar of fire is a beacon for their freedom to partake in the entire promise of the Tree of Life reality. It glows in the night by saying 'yes here I am' and allows the soul to recover its purpose and dream the dream of enlightenment. Pharaoh's heart is hardened along with his people and they decide to pursue Israel.. What is this hardening that is spoken of here? It is the isolation of negativity made even more prominent by its contrast now with Israel. This contrast has to be in place in order for the thoughts that seek unity to bond with each other escaping the pull of the negative forces that pursue them. Now the stage must be set for this departure from negativity in creativity.

Ex 14:9 'And the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of
Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the
sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.'

Pi-hahiroth translated as "mouth of the gorges," or place where the reeds grow and Baal-Zephon meaning 'Lord of the north," is where Hashem tells Moses to camp with Israel.This is the supreme moment of facing both the unknown and gathering darkness or negativity that lays close by Israel. The people express their consternation as does Moses. Hashem in response asks Moses:

Ex 14:15 'And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Wherefore criest thou unto Me?
speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.'

It is the act of Moses that will part the waters. There isn't any divine intervention without human interaction. Man has to act with the full knowledge of connection in order to be successful in passing through the obstacles that negativity places in his way. Look at this scenario as taking place solely within the framework of your thoughts. When you connect to Hashem what is asked of you? It is action; the action of reaching up on high and stretching forth your hand (your intention - the awakened mind) and then going forward as if it is already done.

What happens next is the point of no return symbolized by three magical verses that form the basis for the formulation of the 72 names of Hashem. Using an atbash cypher the names are derived as meditation type mantras whose efficacy utilizes the livings Hebrew letters that form the basis for all created forms.

Ex: 14:19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them;

Notice the reversal of the energy field here. At first Israel follows this cloud, the angel of God, the Shechinah moves simultaneously with the pillar of cloud to protect them from the negativity that is pursuing them.

Ex: 14: 20 'and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there; and the one came not near the other all the night. '

See how the cloud or the divine presence shields Israel from the darkness of Egypt, from the negative thinking that enslaved their minds. Separation first occurs above between the darkness and the light that shines even in the darkness. The positive thought of connection always shines its light as we reach up our hands for it no matter where our thoughts are seemingly headed.

Ex 14:21 'And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. '

Moses is both liberator and the thought of liberation. Because he knows this must be Moses acts by stretching out his hand or seeing the deed is already done. Now the connection between Moses and Hashem is what causes the sea to go back. What is this strong east wind? It is the persistence of our intention cutting through the morass (sea of reeds) of doubts making our steps sure in front of us. In this way the waters of consciousness are divided so that the our attention is focused as a strong wind to cast aside all those thoughts of negativity (waters on either side) while the way to freedom proceeds on dry land (the demonstration of our focus providing a perfect path).

Afterwards the song of praise unifying the connection with Hashem and placing into memory the successful completion of the entire creative process from Intention through Focus meeting Resistance and testing our purpose through the Attenuation of that Focus until like the rays of the sun passing through a magnifying glass our Focus parts the way, proves the path and demonstrates the form of that Focus.

Next the journey begins. It isn't enough just to be free of doubt (Eqypt) we have to establish for ourselves the entire realm of our Kingdom. In order to travel to our destination we will need water and food to sustain us along the way. What is our water? These are the thoughts of consciousness that unify with Hashem. When Israel murmurs at the bitter waters of Marah it symbolizes the old thoughts or doubts that are still with them. Moses touches the waters with a tree which is the Tree of Life meaning the consciousness of Hashem and unity of all that is good. Hashem tells them through Moses that if the people attach themselves to Hashem via the Tree of Life they will enjoy the fruits of goodness.

Their journey progress and Israel seems to follow Hashem’s instructions as the waters of Elim are their next sojourn. 12 springs and 70 palm trees. First Seventy which is the value of Ayin representing the eye or the perception of consciousness. Partaking of the Tree of Life reality one sees clearly their place in the world in terms of their relationship to Hashem. This perception raises the consciousness much like wine (yai'in gematria equals 70) allowing us to perceive the secrets (sod also numbers 70) that Hashem has in store for us. As the sages used to say, "wine in, secret out." Twelve most significantly refers to the permuations of Hashem which are a part of the secrets that Israel enjoys here at Elim.

Every path inevitably leads to a decision over which bend or turn in the road to take. An individual has the ultimate responsibility for his thoughts in terms of which ones to follow and which ones to pass over and through. Here we find Israel in the wilderness of Sin murmuring again. They have turned towards doubt once again losing their trust in Hashem. Even after they have been given Hashem's instructions following the miracle at Marah they still don't get it. The group mind gives in to their unrest and Moses is troubled once more. Now the gift of the Sabbath is given to Israel. Even with this gift and plentiful food there are those who refuse to listen. This points out the persistence of the ego driven mind set that refuses to let go of doubt. The admonition is given then by Hashem.

Ex: 16:28 'And the LORD said unto Moses: 'How long refuse ye to keep My commandments and My laws?'

What are these laws and commandments? Moses hasn't yet been to Sinai to receive them. Why would Hashem expect Israel to follow something that hasn't been given to them yet? The answer is that they have already been given in the most direct way possible by Israel's experience now of the countless miracles they have been witnesses to. Here is the dynamic taking place. Thought cleaves to thought in direct proportion to our intention. Intention is the direction of thought that joins like thoughts together. Israel (those thoughts that seek freedom and want to cleave to Hashem unifying with the Tree of Life) has experienced this unity over and over again and yet they seem as strangers to it having to be reminded each time by Moses their liberator, of the right way to go. Coming out of Elim they had a chance to cleave to Hashem and gain immortality but this wasn't to be so. As we shall see each time it is the group mind or the mind of yetzer hara that gains the upper hand as Israel approaches the ultimate freedom of self-determination. This self-determination is the ability to choose the Tree of Life reality over the chaos of the world of the ego.

Hashem wants Israel to remember both his commandments and the miracles that come from him.

Ex: 16:33 And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Take a jar, and put an omerful of manna therein, and lay it up before the LORD, to be kept throughout your generations.'

This passage here tells us that Hashem will always care us for with all of our needs met and our lives filled to overflowing. What is laid up before Hashem is our pathway to connection. That is the constant message that Moses the liberator is both shown and attempts to show Israel. Through connection with Hashem we act and become everything our heart desires. It is a reminder as well that Hashem forever remains available to Israel.

Israel journeys out of the wilderness of Sin and while camped at Rephidim complain once again of thirst. This seems reasonable enough. After all Moses is leading the people why hasn't he found water for them? Moses asks a perplexing question of Hashem.

Ex 17:4 'What shall I do unto this people? They are almost ready to stone me.'

By this time Moses should have figured out how to produce water in the desert. The rod that Hashem instructed him to use is there for a purpose. Moses is ever the reluctant leader. What does Moses want from this people? This is a problem. Moses always faces the possibility that he will be drawn inside of mass consciousness and lose his ability to lead Israel. The obvious answer is what Hashem tells Moses to do. Strike the rock and bring forth the water. (The rock is the earth or our body seen as Malchus and the water is the connection of consciousness via the Shechinah with Hashem) Israel has not been unified in their awareness of each let alone with Hashem. There are still to many discordant thoughts floating around that band together to form these doubts. Israel's thirst however, is a very real thing. It is their thirst for Hashem that causes their discontent. Israel or our thoughts that seek unity want to partake of Hashem at every moment and not be left in the wilderness of the ego mind. This is an ongoing problem that Moses as liberator must deal with.

Following the miracle at Massah, and Meribah Israel comes face to face with their greatest enemy, Amalek.

In Deut. 25:17-19 we read: “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.”

Amalek represents the antithesis of Israel's connection with Hashem. He shows up here to illustrate what happens when we repeatedly reject the fruits of Hashem that are given in response to our pleas for freedom. If we do not seek and cling to Hashem or to the higher wisdom of the Tree of Life our thoughts decay and find themselves bonding with the chaos of decay that seeks only annihilation. Then this chaos comes around to challenge our way to the Tree of life much life the flaming sword in Gan Eden challenges the seeker to choose the right way, the right thought in every encounter. When Moses holds his hands up symbolizing connection Israel triumphs. When Moses becomes tired and his hands are lowered, the connection with Hashem diminishes and Amalek appears to triumph.

The final verses of this portion conclude with:

Ex 17:14 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Write this for a memorial in the book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.'

Ex 17:16 And he said: 'The hand upon the throne of the LORD: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.'

Hashem tells us that the remembrance of Amalek will be blotted out and yet in the succeeding verse we are told that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. How can we unify these two verses that seem to contradict each other. Israel is called to remember that first evil thought must be uprooted and blotted out. Otherwise it will grow and cause chaos in the mind, which will in effect war against its own best interests. This hand upon the throne of Hashem is our hand, our choices in thoughts we entertain and focus upon. If we choose the right way then it is Hashem that will focus our minds and hearts keeping back the chaos of the ego. We need do nothing but to always seek this connection with Hashem. In a nutshell this entire Parsha comes down to maintaining and aspiring to our connection with Hashem. This is the focus indeed of Torah and of the process of Kabbalah that is the adventurer of Torah discovery her hidden paths and adorning her with new meanings to discuss after midnight amongst the holy assembly in Gan Eden.


Mark Siet

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