Sunday, August 15, 2010

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Fearing G-d, Not So Much

by Reb Akiva @ the path of the mystical blog

“Souls of a lowly nature and origin, coming from the lower levels of the ten sephirot of asiyah, cannot discover G-dliness by contemplation except with difficulty and forcefulness…” (Likutei Amarim 42)

As each generation has moved farther from Har Sinai, the levels of the soul have come from lower levels – lower and lower descending through the ranks of sephirot within levels of sephirot.  As we say during Sefiras HaOmer describing the sephirah of the day “Gevurah she’b’Chesed”, gevurah within the level of chesed, each of these graduations is further graduated – for example netzach of gevurah of chesed, for levels of the souls connection or root. (For more on this see Sha’ar HaGilgulim by the Ari.)  Different levels also relate to the different spiritual worlds.

We are taught by the tzaddikim and told by the mekubalim that we are at the lowest of levels in our time.  The 49th level does not necessarily mean the Jewish people have sunk to a low level of observance, but their natural connection above is on a much lower level.  At such a level worldly involvement becomes more natural and spiritual involvement much more challenging.  Physical achievements become easy, spiritual achievements take major effort.

Nevertheless, with forceful effort – when his thought greatly exerts itself with much vigor, toil and intense concentration, immersing in contemplation of the greatness of G-d for a considerable time, there will certainly come to him the ‘lower fear of G-d’.

The lower fear of G-d is recognition of the Creator with fear of punishment.  As the Creator of the world is clearly so immense and powerful, clearly His will must be followed or the consequences can be unpleasant.

The higher fear is awe, trembling at the greatness of G-d and unable to even consider going in a way that would contradict such greatness.

We live in a time where the higher level fear is unusual and very difficult to achieve.  We suffer for it’s lack.

1 comments:

Crazy Smade said...

And for those for whom existence in the Creator's Creation has become a source of constant punishment - regardless of one's charity and good deeds?

It's difficult for a child to fear punishment, when the belt comes out for each and every action. Bad deeds are punished. Misdeeds are punished. Even good deeds are punished. Fear gives way to resignation, depression and apathy.

One of my former co-workers seriously believed that the Earth was Gehinnom, a prison planet - sort of a twist on the Gnostic notion that humanity is perpetually being re-imprisoned in "meat suits" on planet earth by the Archons of the Demiurge. For him, life had become little more than a prison sentence with few if any perks.

And the World's System is designed to keep everyone caged with our wings clipped. And when a superior soul and/or a child prodigy does appear on the world stage, like 14 year old, Moshe Raziel Sharify, and said neshamah dares to garner support and stretch forth its wings ... the Establishment is quick to shoot him down.

Security, belonging, self-esteem, self-actualization and transcendence comprise the hierarchy of humans needs. Sadly, the World's System seems designed to prevent the masses from achieving these and since HaShem orchestrates the Multiverse ... how can one fear HaKodesh Baruch Hu when existence has become an abyss?

I'm sorry, but Rabbi Brody's "Special Forces Training" metaphor falls flat when one's hands and feet are constantly being bound and re-bound by the vicisitudes of life.

Even Houdini wasn't on-stage and/or in jail 24/7. And how many of us have his knowledge and skill-level? Not many, because the World's System and the Establishment that runs it just won't allow it.

Why have wings if not to fly?

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