Thursday, May 17, 2007

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The Many Are One

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

A dvar Torah for parshat Bamidbar (Numbers).

When Moshe was told to count the assembly of Israel, he came up with 603,550. This was just the men from the age of twenty and older. So, including the women and children, we estimate that there must have been about three million Jews following Hashem through the wilderness.

This gives rise to an interesting question about the mystical aspects of life. Many times a day we make blessings on the food we eat and then again after we finish eating. One of the after-blessings ends with the words, “Baruch Chei HaOlamim.” Although most observant Jews make this blessing many times a day, rare is the one who can translate it.

Some common mistranslations include, “Blessed is He Who gives life forever,” “Blessed is the life that lives forever,” “Blessed is He Who gives life to the Universe,” and such. The proper translation is, “Blessed is the life of all the worlds.”

From the normal human perspective, we see that there is one world and many lives. This blessing turns that idea upside down. The blessing says that there are many worlds [for instance, this world and the world to come, the ten emanations (sefirot) are called worlds, the upper worlds, and such], but this blessing states that in all of these worlds, there is only one life!

How can this be? That there are many worlds is understandable, but how can it be that there is only one life?

Picture a room with no doors or windows and a missing roof. The room is standing in an open field on a bright day. Now place a solid roof on the room and stand inside the room. What do you see? Darkness.

Cut four small holes in the roof, one shaped like a circle, one like a square, one like a triangle and one like a Jewish star. Now standing in the room, what do you see? You see the sunlight streaming into the room through those four holes. You see those four shapes in the ceiling and on the floor, and if there is even a tiny bit of dust in the air, you will see four columns of light, each a different shape.

Now with your right hand point to the square light, and with your left hand point to the circle light. How many lights are you pointing to? Did you say, “two” - the square light and the circular light? If you did, you were wrong. There is only one light in the room. The sunlight is one. The beams are four.

Now place another roof a few feet under that roof and cut 600,000 holes in it. Make each hole a different shape and place a piece of thin cellophane over each hole. Make each piece of cellophane a different color. Now standing under that second roof, how many lights do you see? You see 600,000 beams, each a different shape and each a different color, but still there is only one light.

This is how one life fills all. The One life fills each beam according to that beam’s unique requirements, the Jews, the gentiles, the animals and the plants. Actually, there is a soul in all things, even in the inanimate.

Now what is the practical application of this information? We should love and respect each other because in truth we share one life.

And what is the nature of this one life? It is the Holy One Blessed be He, the One and Only Life in all the worlds (Baruch Chei HaOlamim).

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.

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