Tuesday, December 10, 2013

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by Aharon Rubin at Mystical Paths


Eye to the Infinite (revised) – A Torah Guide to Jewish Meditations: How to Increase Divine Awareness.

A Compendium of Meditations and Techniques, adapted from the Writings and Teachings of the Masters of Kabbalah and Jewish Theology.

The book & this post Copyright © 2013 (Aharon Rubin) – serialized on the Mystical Paths blog

Part Two: Introducing Jewish Meditation

Chapter One:An Overview

What is Jewish meditation?

Is there such a thing as a purely Jewish system of medita­tion? Per­haps medi­ta­tion is a bor­rowed con­cept, an alien disci­pline culled from other civili­sa­tions and foreign philoso­phies. Or perhaps its source is Mosaic but ar­chaic, a rare branch of Ju­da­ism, re­served for the elit­ist scholar, the ascetic re­cluse?
Nothing could be further from the truth. From Adam down till to­day, within the revela­tions, tradi­tions and teach­ings of Ju­da­ism pul­sates the unique heartbeat of Jewish medita­tion.[1] It is an eter­nal, transcendent rhythm, defying time and space. 
Through hisbodedus and his­bonenus, mental seclusion, medita­tion[2] and holy contem­plation, proph­ets re­ceived aware­ness, sages their in­sight and leaders their Di­vine in­spi­ra­tion.[3] The great­est prophet that ever lived, Moses, our Teacher and Law­giver, re­ceived Torah from Heaven with the high­est and pur­est form of prophecy yet at­tained, by vir­tue of his un­vary­ing clear aware­ness of G-d.[4] 
Though proph­ecy, as it was, has tempo­rarily ceased, its pathways blocked,[5] the meditative path to spiri­tual aware­ness is open to all who seek it.[6]
 
Next week: What exactly is meditation? Is meditation a Mitsvoh?

[1] Nefesh HaChaim, Gate 1, Chap 3. 
See Joshua 1:8 והגית בו יומם ולילה  - and you shall medi­tate in it day and night” – and Rashi ad loc. 
The Hebrew verb הגהhāgâ, which means murmuring or cooing, refers to a type of meditation through repetition [of a text]. (When the Torah was translated into Greek, the Septuagint, the Hebrew word hāgâ be­came melete, which subse­quently be­came meditatio in the Latin.)
[2] See Klei Yoqor, Shemos 3:1, “Most prophets came to prophecy while pasturing flock, be­cause prophecy needs hisbodedus [to be alone with oneself]. Through [constantly] see­ing the heavens, G-d’s handiwork, all thoughts become bound up with G-d’s Reality and Presence, till a spirit of G-d rests upon him….” See also Hamaspiq La’avodas HaShem (Rabbi Avrohom Ben HoRambam), Hisbodedus, page 178.
[3] Guide for the Perplexed, Chapter 51 at length. Also Dover Tsedek (Rabbi Tzad­dok Ha­Kohen MiLublin). 
For further treatment of this topic, see Meditation and the Bible, by Rabbi Aryeh Kap­lan (Shocken Books).
[4] See Guide for the Perplexed, Part 2, Chap. 36-39. Also Hamaspiq La’avodas HaShem (Rabbi Avrohom ben HoRambam), Hisbodedus, page 179.
[5] See Baba Basrah 12a/b
[6] Deut. 4:29.

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