Tuesday, January 05, 2016

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The “Spiritual World” Revisited

​   by Reb Gutman Locks

 

     A learned friend asked about my response to the Jew who was "seeing the spiritual world."

He asks: 

     Chassidus, Kabbalah, and Sephardim sometimes speak of spiritual entities, positive and negative forces, and positive and negative angels.  Even the song we sing on Shabbos night "Shalom Alechem" is referring to (we are taught) two spiritual entities that follow us home from synagogue.

     While belief in or any kind of interaction with such entities is not needed for any mitzvah or Torah Judaism, still, Jewish tradition (even Rashi) has clear references to such.

     So, how do we balance such references with your advice to ignore if we think see such things, modern psychology and mental illnesses which understand such things to be brain issues, senses and image processing of the brain that may indeed make us think we see things, and also the many non-Jewish religious and/or "magical" references to such?

My response:

A few points that should clarify my stark answer:

1.     Yes, there certainly are such entities as angels and spiritual force. The Torah speaks of such, so obviously they exist.

2.     Whenever such a lofty entity interacted in a revealed way with anyone, that interaction was needed in order to carry out some special wish of our Creator. Invariably, the Jew who received such a message became a prophet or prophetess, or someone who would be instrumental in helping Hashem's plan unfold.

3.     No one (that I know of anyway) in the world today has been so designated by Hashem to serve Him in this lofty way. The spiritual world is purposely hidden from us so we can continue on in our journey of directing our lives with our freewill. Anyone who thinks that he has been so chosen should definitely follow my advice of ignoring such "visions".

4.     Our spiritual endeavor should be to try to reveal Hashem's glorious Presence through fulfilling His Torah and mitzvahs. This is our most holy work. We should not be trying to see into the spiritual world, or communicate with spirits and angels and powers and such. Anyone who does such is, at best, fooling himself.

5.     A great person can be recognized by his or her humility. An arrogant self esteeming person is suffering from a personality defect as no one has the right to praise themselves. Read what King Dovid wrote about his life and he was the beloved of Hashem.

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