Jewish Transcendence Meditations
So far in this year 5779 on the Jewish calendar I’ve been framing my MMMs on the weekly Parsha, choosing a central theme in consciousness or transcendence.
Looking at different aspects of Parsha Toldot, one thing in particular stands out for me. When Jacob and Esau go to their father, Issac, and continually battle to receive their father’s blessing, Issac spoke about “the hands.”
We know that Jacob disguised himself as his hairy, older brother, Esau, in order to receive his blessing from Issac. Before bestowing his blessing, Issac mentioned that “the hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob.”
That simple statement is connected to a very deep, cosmic, historical, physical and metaphysical reality representing the Jew and the non-Jew throughout history. Meaning, when we, as Jews, are engaged in the spiritual work of the voice (the voice of Jacob) and to the extent we are engaged in that, the hands (the hands of Esau) cannot touch us.
But when we don’t engage in using our voice in prayer, engaging in the Holy Language, meditating on the thoughts and words of G-d, learning them, expressing them and teaching them… when we are not engaged with the words we are not being “word people,” and we can be smothered by the hand of evil.
That’s the metaphor brought out in this Parsha. Everything else is commentary. Not only in this Parsha, but in life. We have to understand that our legacy is this – “the voice is the voice of Jacob.” We have to understand that the blessings in this portion of Torah are about the material, physical things the world can provide us, and that’s part of our lives because we have a physical body which is part of our spirituality.
But, at the core, what we are meant to do when we are protected from the hands of Esau, is raise up the world. Our Sages, commenting on this dichotomy, indicate that it’s a sliding scale, meaning that when one rises the other falls.
To the extent that we use our voices to raise up the world, the other one falls. To the extent that we don’t use our voices to raise up the world, the other one gets strong and we fall.
We need to understand that the best way to approach this dichotomy is through questions, such as:
- How can we understand from this “hands vs voice” formula the proper way to engage with our evil inclination?
- How can we understand from this formula the battle of good and evil in the world?
- How can we understand from this formula the way to break through it all, and reach a place of enlightenment, of Mashiach?
- How can we understand from this formula how to purge away all of the blocks and obstructions in both our internal and external worlds?
- How can we get from this formula of the hands and the voice to a place of abundance? Abundance is a big part of the Parsha as well because it’s all about the blessings from their father who was fabulously wealthy, as were all our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
- How, by being voice people, can we do that?
- And how can we best use our voice? Is there a way we can get to the deeper truths, voices and Divinity inside ourselves by plugging into the “voice of Jacob.” Can we forge a path for going into the depth of all that?
This week’s Parsha is Vayera. It’s a continuation of the study of Abraham, and his Chessed and goodness to the world. It’s a study of extraordinary life.
Abraham has a tent somewhere in the desert, Beersheva I believe, that is open on all four sides, in all four directions, to anyone. Abraham wanted to promote the idea of giving love through hospitality. His motto was, “What is mine is yours.” And that was a life-changing, revolutionary motto in his day, and in our day, too.
Instead of taking, Abraham wanted to show that G-d is a G-d of giving, so G-d’s people should be people of giving. That’s the message, and everything about Abraham’s life is seen as extraordinary love and sharing, even the way he provided his hospitality. He did a little and he did a lot, because he came from this perspective of giving and loving.
Abraham even went to the city of Sodom to pray against its destruction. This would seem to make sense for a person of such stature, but his qualities of morality, goodness, giving and loving were completely the opposite of the characteristics of people in Sodom. He set up an institute of The Sons of Sodom because he wanted to love them as well, to get that message across and to pray for them. He even brought them into his home to demonstrate the theme of his life – loving people despite the consequences and despite possibly being the first man to do so.
Because it means people may take advantage of us, this is a hard concept to hear in the world now, when everybody is protective of themselves, to avoid vulnerability.
But Abraham was teaching a different way, an extraordinary way of life. It was his whole purpose and ambition in life, and he set an example for us to follow. We need to find many ways to emulate Abraham’s extraordinary qualities, such as sharing love in the way we talk to people, deepening the love in our families, appreciating the depth of a mother’s love and the reality of love in people who aren’t currently capable of showing it.
In our hearts we need to have the foresight, the love and the faith to bring out the love in others. We need to be able to identify the point of love in another person, even if its deep inside them, and to the exclusion of all else be able to focus on that point of love within them. This is how we can turn another person’s life into a life of love.
That’s the challenge, and the topic of our MMM this week.
The topic of next week’s MMM is Messianic Consciousness, which is something I’m always talking about, one way or another. But I’d like to get a sharper focus on it right now, because the time is right.
So, let me divide this up into the sources, where they come from, and also how to acquire Messianic Consciousness. We’re in a time period right now, the Three Weeks, which is an ironic, paradoxical and vulnerable time period. The more we move into it, the darker it becomes, and the darker it becomes, the more vulnerable and the more rectified it becomes.
The more we mourn the Temple, the more we are happy about the process of rebuilding. And the more we wait for Moshiach to come, the more we bring him, from our waiting. In these time, Moshiach, in a counter-intuitive way, is coming right into our faces.
All those who chase Hashem and Moshiach will be chased by good things, and good things will catch them. This is a time to catch what we’re chasing after, one way or another.
This time period is also a transition time. In many ways, our present coming-out-of-exile time is like coming out of Egypt. But in one, specific way it’s not like coming out of Egypt because we don’t have to leave within 18 minutes, without time for the matzah to rise. This time it’s a slow process, as we’ve been told by our prophets. It’s happening slowly and gradually.
It’s a transition from a time of trying to fix up the world, to a time of knowing G-d, and from a time of duality to a time of oneness, from a time of constricted consciousness to a time of expanded consciousness.
It’s a time transition from G-d’s hiddenness to a time of discovering G-d is at the core of everything, and a time of being brought back into the Garden from which we were once cast out.
It’s a time of transition from a time of hierarchy to a time of complete, equal access to Hashem, world-wide, and a time of seeing how everything is connected to Torah.
It’s a time of transition from a hard heart to a time of a heart of flesh, and from a time of partiality to a time of wholeness, and from a time of not knowing G-d to a time of knowing G-d.
This is the time frame we’re in, meaning the Three Weeks, and it’s also the overall slowly-but-surely progression of the Messianic Era.
What do we do about it, and try to get on board? How do we expedite the situation?
We need to plug ourselves into this kind of consciousness. We do this by seeing how Hashem is working through us, not just for us, and to try to know his ways, including seeing and carrying both sides of paradox in our lives. That means having the ability to see something and also its opposite, knowing both can co-exist simultaneously.
And we need to see everything that’s happening as G-d’s goodness, even though it seems unfair and too difficult on the surface level. We need to move ourselves away from our patterns, as the Jews did when they jumped into the Red Sea, away from our patterns that are self-defeating and toward patterns that are open to miracles.
We need to try to be selfless, and to match our will with G-d’s will, allowing us to see in a much greater, more intimate way.
We need to try to see how our actions have an effect on everyone else, and to see the wholeness beyond the partialness.
We need to try to see our calling, both individually and as a generation, and to live inside of spiritual concepts.
We need to try to find a way to live without time restrictions and with a sense of timelessness instead, and without finite thinking, but with a sense of infinity instead.
We need to try to see the past, present and future through the eyes of Hashem. And, one way or another, we need to do this together with everyone else. This is how we usher ourselves into Messianic Consciousness, which we’re all headed into, one way or another.
I am going to call this week’s MMM – Speaking Our Way Into Consciousness.
I’ll tell you where this is coming from, and where we can take it to. It’s coming from the phrase, “uncircumcised lips,” in the Parasha, referring to Moses.
Moses mumbled and stammered before God, saying, essentially, “Who am I to be your spokesman?” He could barely get the words out, as a reflection of the Jewish people who were a nation of slaves at the time. They couldn’t even speak properly either.
They were grunting and moaning and screaming in their agony, and G-d heard these sounds they were making, and after 200 years of being restricted-consciousness slaves, they were unable to speak their truth, or any truth.
The Jewish people were all inside of Moses, and he was a reflection of them, so he was also limited in the same way. On of the main pathways into redemption was the ability for someone to speak their way to freedom.
The deeper, original idea here is that G-d spoke the world into being. The more we can hook up with and synchronize ourselves with the profound depth of speech, especially speech in Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, the more we are connected to the substance of what created the world – the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The more we connect with it, the more we can speak the world into being, as G-d does.
We can speak our lives into being, which is why the Breslover Hasidim shout out every word of the Hagaddah at the Passover Seder. It’s because they understand this principle of speaking yourself into freedom.
We know that the six weeks of Shovavim, which we’re in right now, involves rectifications. One of them is a rectification of sexuality, which is also a rectification of speaking. Our mystical Sages teach us that just as the sexual organ is a representative of the whole body, so too is our mouth. In a parallel way, our mouth is also a representative of our soul. That’s why they say the lips are uncircumcised, like the sexual organ may or may not be uncircumcised. It’s a parallel system.
Both the sexual organs and the mouth have the potential and potency to raise us up to higher levels of consciousness.
Speaking is an integral part of human beings, by contrast to animals. The more holy we speak, the more holy we create our world. The more truth that we speak, the more the truth surrounds us, the more integrity surrounds us. When our word is a word that can be trusted and relied on, and we weigh our words carefully, to say the right things, we will draw down consciousness to ourselves.
Even in our dreams may be real, to the extent we are speaking the truth.
These are some of the underlying principles of what it means to speak ourselves into consciousness.
There are so many ways to do it, such a Poetry Speak, Heart Speak, and of course, finding our own, personal voice to speak. We can Soul Speak, we can talk to G-d, and sometimes we can go so deep that within our own speaking we find that G-d will ride on our words and speak right back to us, which is the secret of what prophecy is all about.
We can MMM Speak, which means that we bring all these types of speaking together, as a channel for consciousness-speaking in a group.
We can Thank You Speak, which is gratitude that brings down consciousness. Talking Torah is also talking ourselves into consciousness. Prayer Speak is talking ourselves into consciousness. Turning prayer toward meditation, see it that way and choosing to focus on it that way is also speaking our way into consciousness.
Saying a word, like a mantra, such as Master of the Universe, which Rabbi Kaplan teaches, can also help us speak our way into consciousness and draw it down into our own lives.
These, and other ways we’ve yet to explore will be part and parcel of our MMM this week.
Where I’m going now with my next MMM, is following the same theme as last week, which is Transcendence. It’s will be about male/female relationship transcendence.
I’m choosing this topic now because:
- We’re beginning the book of Shemot, which is Exodus.
- We’re beginning the series of six Parshas, the first letter of which form the word SHOVAVIM, which speak to a period of time that serves as a rectification of the spilled seed of Adam, the first man, and includes the generations since Adam. Fixing the souls is at the heart of the male/female relationship.
- We’re living in a time now, certainly in the Western world, specifically America, when many celebrities of all kinds are being called out as sexual abusers. And the reverberations of this situation and international publicity are causing huge confusion, and even an identity crisis. What is a man? What is a woman? What’s a man/woman relationship, especially a physical relationship? There’s a great need to understand the male/female relationship in order to make is healthy, and something the people can feel good about, but how do you sanctify it? How do you elevate it?
Those are some of the ideas that have prompted me to go in this direction now. Of course, there’s a lot more, too much to cover in one weekly MMM. It would include the concept of being “in love,” compared to “loving,” and also the concept of bashert, meaning the right man or right woman. How do you discover your bashert, and how do you cultivate that relationship? How do you see it through G-d’s eyes and resonate with it? How do you even meet such a person, and how do you make it work once you’ve met?
Bashert is a Yiddish word which is loosely translated as “meant to be.” It applies not only in a male/female relationship, but to each of us in relationship with our home, our career, our calling, to everything. And our bashert relationships many be in need of healing, which we want to understand and cultivateies
Kabbalah teaches us a lot about the male/female relationship. One of the primary analogies of spirituality in Kabbalah is the male/female relationship. What does it take to arouse them, and to have a unification? What are the parameters of that unification? What are the various levels on which it’s happening?
Kabbalah gives us insights into higher levels of unification, which are progressively higher and higher, and through which a couple may become one. And the lower levels are where you find more and more divisiveness. That’s where a couple is not connecting at all.
We need to understand the guiding principles and have the tools to help us come to a unification in progressively higher levels of oneness, which contrasts dramatically with what we see in the world now. People getting married, staying married, staying loyal to each other… these are very important, real issues now. They can’t all be addressed in one weekly MMM, but we can get started.
Prior to the beginning of the Eqyptian exile, the Jewish people worked as slaves. It’s said that the more they were oppressed, the more they were fruitful and multiplied. This phenomenon may be a clue to the relationship between people experiencing pressure and anxiety and being fruitful and multiplying. We need to study this as well, to understand the deeper levels of the male/female relationship, not just a psychological understanding, but how a person’s spouse can be a messenger of G-d to us, and how to work with that in our own lives.
This is the tip of the iceberg on the topic, but it’s the basic direction I’m going in the weekly MMM.
I’m going to share different aspects of transcendence in my upcoming MMM sessions now. I’ve rediscovered that I’m a transcender, and this week I want to focus on timelessness, or transcending time.
Why now? In the Parshas, we see that Yaakov, Jacob, goes down to Egypt and said that he “began to live.” Our mystical Sages say, and also in the Talmud it’s written that Yaakov never died. He was timeless. He lived, and of course we know he died, because there are verses in Torah telling us so. But on another level there’s a part of Yaakov that never died.
It behooves us to explore that, because Yaakov is us and we are Yaakov. That’s what the patriarchs and matriarchs are all about. It’s not just a Bible story for us to enjoy quaint lessons from. In reality, they are inside of us and we have to understand that Yaakov never died because it affects our consciousness.
This is the direction I’m going in my MMM sessions – how to stay alive on many, many different levels. One of those levels is reached by understanding how to stay alive by transcending time.
Time is entropy. Time is death. Time ticks away, from a beginning to an end. When you get beyond time, there is no time. There is no end and no beginning.
So, that’s the direction I’m headed now. And we’ll start with an understanding of what time is. Time is basically rectification, Kabbalistically, in our present world right now we are in the world of time. We see G-d is running the world through a time-oriented facet.
As long as there’s more to fix, as long as we’re in this world to fix up unfinished business, it will be measured by time. Our concept of time becomes transcended to the extent that everything is Perfect AS-IS, and everything is whole as-is, and the direction we are headed.
To get to those places of timelessness, there are a lot of different possibilities. One of them is just to be aware, to be real and to embrace the idea of eternity; it’s the notion that what we do now will reverberate forever. It’s understanding that every thought, word and feeling we have now goes on forever.
When we relate to our thoughts, words and actions in that way, we step into timelessness. We relate to it daily.
Timelessness can be acquired by hooking up into our essence. When a musician hooks up into essence, you never get tired of their music. Whenever a great poet does it, contrasted to a great Biblical poet like King David, we see that King David’s psalms go on forever. His poetry has eternal, lasting value. That same psalm has been recited for the last 3000 years, and it never gets old. It will continue to be recited into the future as well. “The song remains the same…” as goes the song sung by Led Zeppelin. It never grows old.
We can measure our own creative works by measuring their timelessness, too. We are trying to create things that are timeless by connecting up to our essence. Any time we connect to essence we connect to G-d and to limitlessness. When we bring limitlessness into the realm of time, then time melts away. That’s when we are situated above time. As they say, time flies when you’re having a good time. When you’re having a good time you’re connecting to G-d and to endlessness. In many ways, it goes by in a flash.
Jacob was working for his bride, Rachel, whom he loved. Seven years passed in a way that showed time had no meaning at that time in history.
We need to find a way to disconnect with what we understand time to be in order to achieve timelessness. When we do that, we do it through G-dliness and through essence, and also through understanding the connectivity of everything. When something is measured by time it means you’re only seeing one, particular time zone, and not what happened before or is happening beyond this time zone.
To the extent that you think in a more wholistic way, beyond a particular time zone, then you are able to expand time. You can make time disappear.
That’s what I think the essence the mystical thinking about time is all about. It’s to go over time. We don’t really move in a linear way through time, we jump around. A timeline has no real relevance for us, not prior to or following after the present moment.
During a calendar year we revisit the same Parshas and the same holidays, in an elliptical way. We are not just going around in circles because we are going deeper and deeper each time around. We see new things we didn’t see before when revisiting the same places. That’s because, until we grasp all the gusto and all the essence available in a particular time zone we aren’t able to transcend its limitations. We can go beyond it once we experience its essence.
So, that’s who we are and what spiritual time is all about. We are moving from an era of humanity, of a time-oriented period, to an above-time-oriented period. We get a taste of this every Shabbat. Shabbat takes us to the place where we try to train ourselves to not think about time, or think about tomorrow. We have many laws, halachot, constraining us from thinking about what’s happened before and what will happen afterwards. It’s about being “here and now,” in the present.
That trains us to move from the time-boundedness of this world to the unboundedness of the next world.
Keeping in line with the series I started before the High Holy Days, this week I’d like to talk about MMM itself, what it is and why I do it.
I want to explore it, this consciousness I call MMM, which stands for Mystical Musical Meditations. This, I think, is a new artform, genre, type of teaching and experiential meditation. It’s a type of full self-expression that naturally evolved in my own life, through various presentations with individuals and with groups internationally.
It’s basically an expression of Allness. I sit there with a guitar and play, using up to 15 poems per week as a springboard to get across my weekly theme. It’s using everything that I know. It’s channeling a higher consciousness and allowing G-d to come through.
The MMM is based on mystical, Kabbalistic Jewish teachings, following a consistent theme and usually connected to the weekly Torah portion. But instead of an intellectual approach, it provides an experiential approach to learning. My MMM is my experience of these topics.
To present my unique “take” on a topic, I get myself into a sacred space and I recite poetry to give voice to the topic. I use music because music automatically elevates words. Words, poems, prose, teachings are elevated to a level that the soul can internalize and download more easily. Sometimes I speak in a spontaneous way, like hip hop or rap, and that’s how I’m able to get across a more authentic message.
The thoughts in my mind, my heart and my soul can be received in a fun, effortless way. I am also as much a part of the audience as everyone else present.
If G-d allows me to be a conduit for it, I want these expressions to be Messianic in consciousness, something expressing the energy of King David in those times when his harp would wake him up at midnight, the nights when he created the Psalms. They were composed with Ruach Ha Kodesh, The Holy Spirit. I want to partake of that same King David energy, too.
And I want to partake of a wider intelligence than most of us normally use to express ourselves. We are only using a small percentage of our emotional, creative and intellectual intelligence.
I want the mitzvoth and the Torah teachings to be about consciousness, not just something we understand with the left brain, but something we feel with the heart, and embrace with our right brain and our whole body and soul.
What jazz does to music I want MMM to do to Torah. Jazz takes a message and expresses it in free form, spontaneous art. Whatever comes out just comes out in different rhythms and dialogue.
I want each MMM to awaken exactly what each person listening needs to hear. This can only happen if I go deep into myself and partake within myself whatever a person needs to hear.
I want the music to turn into poetry and the poetry into music, where the words are stripped away into pure energy, on a level where both the higher and the lower self are touched. The fun-loving side of me, the Dennis the Menace within me, and all my memories… I want the MMM to purge whatever is going on in my life at the time.
But I want it to be a selfless giving as well, in a way that can really change people. I want each MMM to be part of the ultimate expression of who I am, giving voice to the greater part of each of us that needs to be expressed. It’s the essential part of ourselves, all of us.
G-d willing, I’m hoping to raise crops of other MMM people who share their own wisdom in their own groups, wherever they are located.
I’d like to make some MMM musical albums, outside of the traditional music industry, that represent the convergence of everything I do with other people, with myself and with G-d. I want to change consciousness with the whole project.
The MMM theme for the week of Parsha Eikev is connection. Here’s a list of the things I want to share in my connection-themed MMM:
- The whole concept of connection or connecting, in Kabbalistic literature, is the juxtaposition of two Sephirotic aspects, one of which is always the source of all activation, movement and vitality. Everything is either a connection or a disconnection. Connections in Kabbalah are called “chasadim,” and disconnections are referred to as “gevurot.”
These are the universal activators of life, opposite of each other. Chasadim connect, and they are associated with water, and gevurot disconnect, and they are associated with fire. Many more parallel aspects exist, but I won’t deal with them right now.
- Another source of connection is the unification of the broken vessels of the world. Right now, we are in a 45-day period of time, from Tisha B’Av until the 25th of Elul, the day commemorating the creation of the world. Forty-five is the Kabbalistic code name for Tikkun, or rectification.
Connecting, then, is rectifying. And disconnecting is breaking, which is the opposite of rectifying.
- A Messianic consciousness source for connecting can be seen by understanding that a human being is a microcosm, created in the image of G-d. A microcosm is a brilliant mechanism of connection, and interconnection. Man as a microcosm, or a small world, is connected with the past, the present and the future. We are connected with all people in the world, all consciousnesses of the world, and with all aspects of life, if we know how to press the right buttons to connect.
- A Garden of Eden source for connecting comes from the Fall from the Garden. While the Fall created disconnection and duality, such as light and dark, life and death, anything and it’s opposite. The connecting aspect, the way we get back into the Garden, is by getting into the oneness. This is what will happen when we get into the Messianic period.
- A Cycle of Life source for connecting comes from time, which does not exist in a vacuum, but in brilliant interconnections. For example, the weekdays are connected with the Sabbath, which is connected with the next weekdays. Rosh Hashana, the New Year, is connected to the whole year, in fact there’s an intimate connection. Our lives are connected to the post life; it’s all going to be reflected in that way. Our present life is connected to our past life and our future life as well.
These are Cycle of Life connections. The more we connect them, the more we can tap into the healing potential of making connections, which is what it’s all about.
- A Bashert source for connecting is available in our relationships. Bashert means “meant for each other,” and it comes from historical connections we’ve had with each other, root soul connections. When we discover those connections and actualize them, then we can live in a win-win relationship, or a bliss-bliss relationship where we are completely receptive to each other.
You could say we complete each other, we are each other’s soulmate or soul sibling, and we turn the “me” into a “we.” That’s the greater possibility for connecting in relationships.
- A Me/Myself source for connecting is often called, “finding your calling.” We find our calling in life with what we most resonate with when we’re “in the zone.” Or, we find the most difficult thing in our lives and endeavor to take care of it. We can project how we will take care of it by finding our inner voice and by going down a path towards actualizing ourselves. That’s what we call, “connecting to myself.”
- A Faith in G-d source for connecting is when we have faith and trust in G-d, and when we see G-d’s hand at work 24/7, in everything we do in life. It’s available by connecting our will to G-d’s will, with our entire heart and soul and might.
Here are some little snippets of some things we know Passover is really all about.
The obvious, underlying theme is getting out of Egypt. And we all need to ask ourselves, “what do I need to do in order to get out of my own Egypt?” We say it every day because we need to do it every day. But Passover is the annual celebration and rectification of all that, so here are some of the different directions we can take in trying to connect.
First, we have to connect to the historical story of getting out of Egypt, to understand our own, personal story, and to emulate the way G-d handled the situation. We’re trying to emulate G-d’s way of getting the Israelites out of Eqypt. We study the Creator’s plan to see what elements we see in our own challenge:
We understand how important freedom is, and that we are a people who represent the importance, the centrality to life, that human beings are free. From the Egypt story, we learn that we are free to serve G-d, and anything short of that, being subservient to another human being, is substandard living. That’s one thing we’re learning from Passover – to be free to be a servant to G-d.
It’s almost like an oxymoron… We are free to serve, but we’re serving G-d. So. that’s an ultimate kind of freedom.
One of the tickets to getting out of Egypt, maybe the most important one, is emunah, it’s belief. It’s embracing the fact that G-d’s running the show, and it’s all for the best, and everything’s going to work out. The more we embrace that, the more miracles come to us.
The beginning of the process is primal screaming, not even words, but wordless grunts and groans and screams that are coming from the deepest, gutsy place where words are coming from. That’s how our slave ancestors started their process.
The goal of the process, in the end, is geulah, it’s redemption. It’s to get out of exile and everything that exile represents on an actual, an international and a personal level. Getting out of exile is the ultimate act of being free. Exile is being out of sync with myself and disconnected with my reality, and freedom is being connected with my essence, with who I am. I’m in sync with myself, with all the different parts of myself, with my heart and mind, with trusting the process, and with bonding where I am now with where I am allowing myself to grow. It’s being in a state of Da’at consciousness.
It’s “speaking myself out,” with poetry, with prayer, with prose, with Torah, with conversation, and with anything and everything in the higher realm of what speaking is meant to do to get myself out of exile. All these things are getting out of exile, which is the status quo throughout history for our people, and we’re constantly working to get out, to get beyond it.
The Pesach model we’re using to get out of Egypt is a model which displays a huge leap of consciousness that received on that first night and day of the first Passover. And then it left us, it was “easy come, easy go,” and we have to work through a whole, 49-day Omer period to get it back incrementally. Since we’re working on it, and it’s not just a freebie gift, we acquire it. The ultimate goal of the whole thing is to go to mount Sinai. It’s to get the Torah. It’s to have direct interface with G-d, as an entire people. That’s what this whole thing is preparing for.
Part of getting out of Egypt for us is knowing how to be born. We were born as a people then, and we’re born as individuals when we work to get ourselves out of Egypt now. Being born is a very important process, because everything else comes after the birth, after the beginning.
We were born out of Egypt in an “above time” fashion, and we have to birth ourselves in all new beginnings, in an “above time” and “above space” way.
Part of getting out of Egypt is knowing that G-d is running the show. All ten plagues in Egypt were displaying full-on promise that G-d is running every detail and aspect of reality. He sort of came out from, “behind the curtain,” to show us that, as a one-time event in history, to let us know that he’s really running the show on all levels of reality, higher, middle and lower.
Coming out of Egypt is being a servant of G-d, but it’s also being a witness, one who testifies that G-d is found in this aspect of life, where G-d is normally not found. Part of coming out of Egypt is expanded consciousness, which is where we will live in Messianic times, when we will live mindfully and consciousness-fully, that’s the place we’re going to. That’s what gets us out of Egypt, that’s what gets us out of a slave mentality.
Passover, in Hebrew, is Pesach, which means. “mouth speaks,” and we’re supposed to do that. The ultimate, human expression of G-dliness is through the mouth. And the more we attach ourselves to G-d by speaking out the Haggadah on the night of Pesach, and any Holy speaking, the more we speak our way into consciousness and out of Egypt, out of the narrow straights of our lives.
We’re mean to understand, from this whole Egyptian saga, that everything is a miracle. Those were “open miracles,” but we understand from the 10 Plagues and the Red Sea, and all that magnificent stuff, that the hidden stuff is also miraculous. Breathing is a miracle, and things coming together and going my way… we need to pay attention to them. It’s all miraculous. There are no rules, no hard-and-fast, status quo rules of nature, when you start looking at the world through the glasses of miracles.
All of these things point to getting out of Egypt and all of things things are going to fortify us, hopefully, for the rest of our year.
This is about Parsha Terumah. I found a common denominator (as I’m always searching for one that reflects personal growth opportunities) in Parsha Terumah, and it’s called The Lion In Me. In other words, My Inner Strengths. I found ways to reveal hidden, inner strengths inside of me and inside of everyone.
First of all, Parsha Terumah is my father’s yartzeit. And my father’s name was Yaakov Aryeh, which is Jacob the Lion, and I found my father in me, which is the lion in me. That’s sort of an esthetic, poetic part of the Parsha for me, but also a very real part of it, too.
Also, this is the beginning of the month of Adar, which brings Purim, and Purim is all about inner strength. We are usually not aware of our inner strength and Adar is a month of G-d hiding himself from us, so we find ourselves discovering and reviewing our inner strengths. That’s a big part of the mysterious month of Adar, which looks like the opposite but shows us that out of nowhere the good guy wins the battle in the end. This is also part of the Lion In Me.
As of this week, we have finished the last of the Shovavim period, which is a period of rectification of the spilled seed of Adam, a theme found in all the parshas of that period. We are rectifying and thereby reconnecting with our souls, and discovering inner strengths in that way. We are going to start the harvest of the six-week period we’re finishing up right now, and next week as well.
In Parsha Terumah, G-d talks about the Holy Temple in a very interesting way. He says, “I am going to dwell in them,” not “in it.” That means us, his people. The Holy Temple is inside of us, and those strengths need to be discovered inside ourselves. Once we have this perspective, it opens up a whole new way of seeing life.
So, everything that’s brought in this parsha reveals the inner, Holy Temple parts of us. For example, Betzalel, the one who physically created the Temple, had the ability to see the entire universe. He could see the creative ones and zeros of the universe-creation system, just as someone might see the creation of a computer system. He could see the roots of it all in a micro-cosmic way. We have access to this perspective, too, if we choose to plug into it.
In the Temple we have the Cherubim, standing on the Holy Ark, which is the Torah part of ourselves. The Cherubim represent the prophesy, and the place between them, as they face each other, is the place where all prophesy and all wisdom came from. It’s a very inter-included, transcendent place of inner strength inside of ourselves. It’s the focal point for the interface, from which all aspects of our world interface with the higher world.
That’s an incredible strength to rediscover inside of ourselves.
And we have the menorah, the candelabra made of pure gold, holding the burning candle stick which serves as a seat for the soul. The wick holds up the soul. It helps us find our soul and lights it up for us so we can feel it.
And we have the middle bar which holds together the whole construction of the sanctuary, the Temple, which extends from one end to the other. This parallels our will, our ratzon, which extends from the highest aspect of ourselves all the way down to the lowest. When we discover and reveal that ratzon, then nothing stands in our way.
We have an all-encompassing healing going on, which happens in the court surrounding the Tabernacle and in the Tabernacle itself, in the hangings and all they represented. The courtyard represents the body, which encompasses and surrounds the inner organs, as well as the all-encompassing, surrounding entities. So, we have the ability to rediscover and reveal the body/soul connection, and the body’s physicality inside ourselves.
There are also many more levels of inner strength that we can access and explore within ourselves.