Sunday, May 05, 2013

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Eye to the Infinite – The Soul

We are pleased to offer Eye to the Infinite, a Torah Guide to Jewish Mediations for Divine Awareness, in a weekly serialized form.

Eye to the Infinite – A Torah Guide to Jewish Meditations to Increase Divine Awareness. Copyright © 2013 by Aharon Rubin – serialized on the Mystical Paths blog with permission.

“Lift up your eyes and see” (Isaiah 40:26)

The sages teach that man is the pinnacle of crea­tion. He mirrors the Divine, surpassing the very high­est an­gels in ca­pacity and purpose[1]. Yet when com­pared to the forces of the universe, man ap­pears utterly in­sig­nifi­cant, his scope, strength and prowess, puny and lim­ited, even in­ade­quate, a mi­croscopic tittle in an immense universe of incalcula­ble knowl­edge. With all his fan­tastic ad­vances in technol­ogy and science, he still can­not repli­cate the prop­erties of the smallest insect[2]. Wherein then lies man’s superi­or­ity, his divin­ity no less?

Since G-d told Noach, “the awe of you will be upon all that lives on the earth” (Gen. 9:2), man instinc­tively un­der­stands that he is to be supe­rior; witness his almost surreal expecta­tion of domi­nance, his urge to supremacy, his race to rule. But what se­cret lies at the source of those compulsions, what myste­rious drive en­ergises his as­pi­rations, his forever striving forward, deter­mined and re­lentless, goaded by some in­cessant force, desperately needing to conquer, to become or attach to something larger and greater, thirsty for fulfil­ment, for a rai­son d’être, like the frag­ile, unfolding fronds of a delicate tree-sap­ling, seek­ing be­yond the dap­pled shad­ows, tapping the elu­sive daylight, craving the ephem­eral sunshine?

King David addresses these same enigmas in his book of Psalms (8:4-6) when he asks G-d, “When I see Your heav­ens, the works of Your Fingers, the moon and stars that You have estab­lished, (they cause me to ask,) what is man that You re­member him, or the son of man that You are mindful of him, that You have made him little less than Di­vine[3], and [with] Glory and Maj­esty have adorned him?

You give him dominion over the work of Your hands; You have placed everything beneath his feet. Flocks and cattle, all of them, and also the beasts of the field; the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, he trav­erses the ways of the seas”.

The divinely inspired Psalmist of Israel then ends his solilo­quy with a power­ful affirmation; an awesome assertion that is more than mere adulation and possibly pro­vides a key to the riddles of the cos­mos:

“O L-rd, our Master, how mighty is Your Name throughout the land” (ibid. 8:10).

This verse crypti­cally resolves the anom­aly of man. To understand how it does so, we will need to learn about man’s Divine soul, its relationship with the higher worlds that lie beyond the physical, and their eternal and innate connec­tion with the Tetra­gramat­ton, G-d’s holiest Name. So doing, we will gain insight into the Divine structure, the subject of the verse (Gen. 1:26[4]) “G-d cre­ated man in His form”, and begin to understand what that Divine form has to do with G-d’s subsequent injunction to man to “fill and sub­due the earth” (ibid.) and how that injunction is the pivotal foundation-stone of creation.

[1] Bereishis Rabboh 8:1, 78:1, Zohar, Vol. I, 22a, Sha’ar HaQedushah (Gates of Holiness) by Rabbi Chaim Vital.

[2] Nature, vol. 439, p.153. Compare Proverbs 6:6-8.

[3] See Malbim and Liqutei Torah (Ari HaQodosh) ad locum.

[4] It is interesting to note that the verse that describes the creation and foundation of man’s supremacy and uniqueness, his being created in the ‘tselem’ (‘image’) of G-d, is the twenty-sixth verse in the Torah, twenty-six being the numerical value of the Tetra­gramatton (discussed in later chapters).

…to be continued, G-d willing, next week.

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WARNING - The material presented in the Eye to the Infinite requires a basic standard of (Jewish) holiness in conduct and living as prescribed by the Torah (and described by the Mishna, Gemora and Shulchan Aruch). If you are dependent on medication for mental stability, or have thinking challenges, please consult with your physician before attempting meditative exercises described here.


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