Sunday, July 31, 2011

Parshat Devarim: Dwelling in God's Love

Every book of the Torah is important, as well as every word contained in them, and their messages are directed to all aspects and dimensions of our consciousness in order to understand, to grasp and to assimilate those messages. We know that some of the Commandments of the Torah are beyond our comprehension. This makes sense because God's Word as well as God's Love and His attributes ultimately are beyond our comprehension. We only "understand" and "feel" as long as our souls allow us to.

Our Sages say that the soul is to our body as the Creator is to the world, meaning that the soul makes us aware of Him in the body as God makes the world aware of His Presence. This means that the soul is the place of the body, and God is the place of the world; though the body nor the world are the place of the soul or the place of God. We understand this principle by making ourselves aware that our mission as individuals (bodies) and as collective (world) is to reveal God's Love as His Presence in our lives and in our surroundings, because He is our Essence, and our sustenance, and our life.

In the last book of the Torah, Devarim (Things, Sayings), there is a repetition of many of the Commandments already given and reiterated in the previous books, and also prophecies that have been fulfilled throughout our Jewish history. Let's reflect on some of these revisions: "The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying, 'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River." (Deuteronomy 1:6-7).

In this two verses we are reminded again that once we dwell long enough in God's Love, under His care, protection and guidance as the permanent awareness of His Presence in our lives, we must pour this awareness into all levels and dimensions of consciousness to be able to "settle" in the Promised Land, where we live in God's ways and attributes.

These levels and dimensions are the higher knowledge of loving kindness and its manifestations ("mountains"), of the emotions and passions ("plains"), of our instincts ("the lowland"), of the ways (south, north, east, west, up and down) where we direct our thoughts ("the sea"), of how we subjugate, control and direct our negative emotions ("the Canaanite nations), of how we consecrate our duties and deeds in life ("the Lebanon" as an additional symbol of the Tabernacle or Temple), and of the flow of our individual living identity ("rivers"), as the premises to live a life in the plenitude of Love's ways and attributes: "And they took some of the fruit of the land in their hand(s) and brought it down to us, brought us back word, and said, 'The land the Lord, our God, is giving us is good'." (1:25), for life in Love's ways and attributes is always good.

Again, we are also reminded to be bear in mind that our highest knowledge of the Creator (represented by Moses, our teacher) is indeed our true guide, but it needs the remaining positive traits and aspects of consciousness (the tribes of Israel) in order to fully accomplish our mission to reveal (for us and for the nations) God's Love in His Creation: "How can I bear your trouble, your burden, and your strife all by myself? Prepare for yourselves wise and understanding men, known among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you." (1:12-13).

This highest knowledge of God's Love as our Essence can elevate our entire consciousness to be able to reveal Him in our lives and in the world: "And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, 'Your eyes have seen all that the Lord, your God, has done to these two kings.' So will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you will pass. Do not fear them, for it is the Lord, your God, who is fighting for you." (3:21-22).

Here we learn that Joshua and Moses represent the same awareness for us as individuals and as a Nation. Once we are aware (we "see") that God's Love is our Creator, our life and our sustenance, we can also redirect our thoughts, emotions, passions and instincts, through which we pass when we manifest who we are and what we do. In this "passing through" we do not have to be afraid of falling into negative emotions and lower passions, because Love as the material manifestation of God's Love is paving the way, filling the roughness of our consciousness with its attributes. This is how God's Love "fights" for us when we make the choice to let Him lead our lives to live in His ways and attributes: His Promised Land to us.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Parshat Massei: The Journeys to God's Love

This portion recalls the journeys of the children of Israel since their Exodus from Egypt under the guidance of the Creator: "Moses recorded their starting points for their journeys (massei) according to the word of the Lord, and these were their journeys with their starting points." (Numbers 33:2). We have said that life itself is a journey in which we have many turning points. Our Sages teach: "Know from where you came, where you are going, and before whom you are destined to give a judgment [discernment] and accounting [to account for]." (Pirkei Avot 3:1). This is to be aware that we, as well as all Creation, come from God's Love. This includes our Essence and identity that are destined to guide us in His ways. Hence, with Love we discern life and the material world because to Love we are accounted for.

In the journeys of life we follow the words and deeds of Love's ways and attributes as the starting points to discern ego's fantasies and illusions in which we stumble, fall and must get up to continue learning God's ways. These are the illusions we have to clear from all levels and dimensions of consciousness in order to live in the Promised Land, which is life in the goodness of God's ways and attributes: "You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to occupy it." (Numbers 33:53). We are also reminded earlier: "And let the Land not vomit you out for having defiled it, as it vomited out the nation that preceded you." (Leviticus 18:28, 20:22).

God's Love does not dwell with anything different from His attributes. This is the most important principle we have to be mindful about in the choices we make every moment. We have to understand that "expulsion" not from God's Love but as the consequence of following ego's materialistic fantasies, and not His ways. If we choose to live with Love as our true identity, as the Promised Land where we all yearn to live as our Divine inheritance, we have to be worthy of Love's ways.

We are also reminded that our highest awareness of the Creator (the Levite priesthood) has to lead, guard and protect our connection with Him: "Command the children of Israel that they shall give to the Levites from their hereditary possession cities in which to dwell, and you shall give the Levites open spaces around the cities." (Numbers 35:2), because every essential aspect of consciousness (the children of Israel) must be guided under this highest awareness capable of redeeming and redirecting our life when we transgress God's ways.

This is the meaning of the cities of refuge (lit. absorption), the place in consciousness where we atone (transform) for our transgressions against what God calls sacred. This is why the cities of refuge are related to the unintentional murderer, the one who desecrates life by ending it. Again life, and human life in particular, is remarked as the most important manifestation of God's Creation, to the point that it is defined as image and likeness of the Creator. In this context, life and God's Love are closely related because His Love is the source of life.

The haftarah for this portion reiterates Love as the primordial likeness between the Creator and us, as His Creation, and denounces the materialistic illusions that separate us from Him: "So says the Lord: What wrong did your forefathers find in Me, that they distanced themselves from Me, and they went after futility and themselves became futile?" (Jeremiah 2:5), because in ego's illusions we live in futility and become futile, as the idols that we follow and in which we become: "Because My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the spring of living waters, to dig for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that do not hold water." (2:13).

Again we are reminded that goodness awaits us when we make the choice to return to God's ways and attributes: "If you return, O Israel, says the Lord, to Me, you shall return, and if you remove your detestable things from My Presence, you shall not wander. And you will swear, 'As the Lord lives,' in truth and in justice and in righteousness, nations will bless themselves with Him and boast about Him." (4:1-2)

Our Sages reaffirm the words of the Prophet: "The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of God, and acts of kindness." (Pirkei Avot 1:2) and they also say that "By three things is the world sustained: Torah, truth and peace." (1:18). These traits and qualities are all inherent to God's Love, and they are intertwined as Love's ways and attributes that shape our Essence and identity.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Parshat Matot: Love as the Foundation of Life

The previous three biblical portions (parshiot) are related because every event is the consequence of the preceding.

In Balak, the transgression of harlotry with the daughters of Moab had negative consequences which led the children of Israel to realize that the zeal of the permanent awareness of our closeness to God's love must be present always.

As we mentioned in our commentary on Pinchas, this zeal is fundamental to embrace God's ways and attributes as the means to free our consciousness from ego's materialistic desires, fantasies and illusions. This zeal is also the foundation of our loyalty, faithfulness and devotion as the vows we make in order to approach the material world with the truthfulness that love is.

Vows are the main subject presented in Matot to the people of Israel.

"Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes (matot) of the children of Israel (…)" (Numbers 30:2)

Again, the heads of the Tribes are pointed out as the most refined traits and qualities that enable us to conduct all dimensions of consciousness. Refinement is acquired through experience, by trial and error, by discerning true from false, good from evil. The following section of Matot precedes a crucial commandment.

"Take revenge for the children of Israel against the Midianites (…), afterwards you will be gathered to your people." (31:2)

It is given to Moses as the highest awareness of the Creator, because in this knowledge we can gather all our levels of consciousness in order to lead them in God's ways with which we dissipate the negative traits and trends that curse life. And this knowledge must be directed by Pinchas, the zeal of God's love.

"And Moses sent them (...) Pinchas the son of Elazar the priest (…)" (31:6)

We have said that Midian means strife, dispute as the result of poor clarity in our individual awareness of God's love in our life. In this sense strife is the antagonist of our zeal of love's attributes in our consciousness.

Our Sages also define strife as the root of separation and division, and in this sense both are ego's typical expressions to reaffirm its "independence" from the oneness that God's love is.

The war against Midian means to re-direct our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, conceptions, emotions, feelings, and passions into the unifying and harmonizing ways of God's love as our true essence and identity.

After we win this war led by our highest awareness and zeal of the greatest love of all, the entire Israel is gathered together with their natural leader, which is our individual and collective knowledge that God's love encompasses and pervades all His creation.

Our awareness of God is the one and only leader that takes us back to our true identity.

"Moses said to them, 'If you do this thing, if you arm yourselves for battle before the Lord, and your armed force crosses the Jordan before the Lord until He has driven out His enemies before Him" (32:20-21)

The message is clear, and the "if" means that it is up to us to battle the dark side of our consciousness with love as the "armed force" that we have before the Lord, because it comes from His love.

"And the [promised] land will be conquered before the Lord, (…) and this land will become your heritage before the Lord." (32:22)

Hence when life is led by love's ways and attributes, it becomes our promised land.

If we act against our true essence and identity, we are simply acting against He who created us and sustains us.

"But, if you do not do so, behold, you will have sinned against the Lord, and be aware of your sin which will find you." (32:23)

Again, the choice is only ours. God's love is unconditional because He gave us free will to make up to us the choice between Love's ways and ego's illusions. Love is the choice of Israel as the chosen people to reveal the presence of the Creator in the world.

Our mission is to be light for the nations, as the ones who live with, from and by the love of God. This Love is mutual, as it is reminded by the prophet in the haftarah for this portion.

"Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of His grain; all who eat him shall be guilty, evil shall befall them, says the Lord." (Jeremiah 2:3)

God's love is the foundation to build on, to enhance and to elevate live for His sake, as the cause and effect of all that is.

If we don't see or experience this fundamental principle in our individual and collective consciousness, then our duty is to reinstate it by clearing the darkness that became cause and effect of all our miseries in the material world.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Parshat Pinchas: Our Zeal of God's Love

Our mystic sages explain that the highest awareness of our connection with God's love (represented by the Jewish high priesthood) is beyond comprehension because it transcends both the material and the spiritual realms.

In this highest awareness, our consciousness does not allow anything that questions or threats this connection. This level of perception implies the zeal that will never allow our separation from God's love.

"Pinchas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest has turned My anger away from the children of Israel by his zealously avenging Me among them, so that I did not destroy the children of Israel because of My zeal." (Numbers 25:11)

This zeal secures our connection with God, that is and always must be permanentIn this sense, the consequence of this permanent awareness is wholeness, completion, eternity, peace.

"Therefore, tell them, 'I hereby give him My covenant of peace.' And it shall be to him and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the children of Israel." (25:12)

Hence, in our constant awareness of God's love we transform (atone for) every level and dimension of our consciousness in order to create a space for Him to dwell among (in) us.

This transformation occurs when love directs our thoughts, emotions, feelings and actions. With and through love all kinds of strife and distress disappear.

"Distress the Medianites, and you shall smite them." (25:17)

"Because they distress you with their plots which they contrived against you in the incident of Peor (…)" (25:18)

Our daily dealings with material reality test the ways we approach every situation, and particularly the good traits that define who we are. These traits are the qualities with which we must always lead the best way we can.

Hence we have to care for them by enhancing them, and elevating them for the highest purpose we have in life, which is to fully reveal God's love in His creation including the dimensions of our consciousness and the world where we live in.

"Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel (…)" (26:2)

It's important to count, to distinguish and to cherish every single trait and quality that remain firm and strong in us to conquer the negative aspects (the nations of Canaan) that keep us away from our Promised Land.

This land is our life guided by God's ways and attributes. Hence, dedication and devotion in the way we care for ourselves and others, patience and perseverance to transform negative situations, joy and enthusiasm to be and do good, are among the positive qualities we have to expand in our awareness of God's love in the goodness our life (the Promised Land) is.

"To the large [tribe] you shall give a larger inheritance and to a smaller tribe you shall give a smaller inheritance, each person shall be given an inheritance according to his number." (26:54)

The last two long chapters of the portion (28 and 29) refer to our offerings to the Creator, daily and in the appointed times (festivals).

"Command the children of Israel and say to them: 'My offering, My food for My fire offerings, a spirit of satisfaction for Me, you shall take care to offer to Me at its appointed time'." (28:2)

And ending with, "These you shall offer up for the Lord on your festivals, besides your vows and voluntary offerings, for your burnt offerings, for your meal offerings, for your libations, and for your peace offerings." (29:39)

It is important to note that the episode of Pinchas with Zimri is juxtaposed to the offerings, because by constantly elevating every aspect of our consciousness to God's love, we are manifesting our zeal to always be close to Him.

Our sages reflect on the loneliness that we individually experience in our reaching out to God's love, and particularly when all levels of consciousness seem to abandon us in our aim to reveal His presence amid the darkness of the illusions in the material world. But the level we must keep always aware of our connection with the Creator (the high priesthood) and our zeal to protect it (Pinchas, Elijah the Prophet) must be permanent.

This is reminded in the haftarah for this portion.

"The word of the Lord came to him. And He said to him: 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' And he said: 'I have been zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant. They have torn down Your altars and they have killed Your prophets by the sword, and I have remained alone, and they seek my life to take it'." (I Kings 19:9-10)

No matter how strayed our good qualities may become, we must never lose the awareness that we were created by God's love, and that His love sustains us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Parshat Balak: Elevating our Consciousness to God's Love

"God said to Balaam, 'You shall not go with them! You shall not curse the people because they are blessed'." (Numbers 22:7)

The question we have to ask is what Balaam represents. Our sages call him Moses' counterpart among "the nations". In other words, what Moses represents for Israel, Balaam represents for "the nations". They also say that Laban, Balaam and the Evil one are the same.

We have said that Moses represents Israel's highest awareness of the Creator. In the same context Balaam represents not only the lowest awareness of God but also the lowest traits and negative attributes that deny His presence in His creation.

That is why one king of the Canaanite nations (
Balak) asked Balaam to curse Israel, because the lowest emotions, passions and instincts ("the nations") do not recognize God's love as the creator and sustainer of all, neither love's redeeming essence. Hence, Israel as the bearer of this sublime awareness, becomes the permanent enemy of the nations.

"Balaam answered and said to Balak's servants, 'Even if Balak gives me a house full of silver and gold, I cannot do anything small or great that would transgress the word of the Lord, my God." (22:18)

Even the lowest awareness of God's love can't acknowledge ego's materialistic illusions. This means that all levels of consciousness (higher and lower) ultimately recognize that all creation comes from God, and is directed by Him.

"How can I curse whom God has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the Lord has not been angered? (23:8)

Ultimately, the lowest levels of human consciousness yearn to live and die in love's ways and attributes, the ways the children of Israel are destined to follow and manifest as the light for the nations (“To be light for the nations.” [Isaiah 42:6, 49:6]). This means to be the light of the world.

"Who counted the dust of Jacob or the number of a fourth of Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his [Israel's qualities]." (Numbers 23:10)

Even the lower aspects and expressions recognize the goodness of love manifest by the positive aspects of human consciousness (represented by Israel) the Creator wants us to live by.

"He does not look at evil in Jacob, and has seen no perversity in Israel. The Lord his God is with him, and he has the King's friendship." (23:21)

This "friendship" is our permanent connection with God's love.

In this sense, there is no place for ego's self-centered and manipulative agenda.

"For there is no divination in Jacob and no soothsaying in Israel." (23:23)

Ego's materialistic fantasies and illusions do not dwell with God's ways and attributes. When we live under God's will, all illusions disappear because we come to the awareness that His love sustains all, including our own illusions.

In this awareness we have to reveal God's love concealed by illusions and regain Him as our Redeemer from them.

"Behold, one people that rise like a lioness, and raise itself like a lion. It does not lie down until it eats its prey and drinks the blood of the slain." (23:24)

Hence Israel's mission is to elevate all aspects of consciousness to the ways of God's love. This includes turning the lower traits into vibrant and uplifting ways to proclaim and manifest His glory, which is His revealed presence in the material world.

This is the metaphoric meaning of Israel's strength (lioness/lion) to transform through love the lower aspects of consciousness (our "animal" nature [the prey] and its soul [its blood]) to fulfill our destiny as God's will.

Our awareness of God's love is the transforming power for us to turn darkness into light.

"God, who has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness He shall consume the nations [the negative aspects of our consciousness] which are his adversaries [Israel's], bare their bones and dip His arrows." (24:8)

In this way, Israel's destiny is achieved.

"Edom shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph." (24:18)

Though this victory can't be achieved if we turn to ego's illusions of glamor, pride, sophistication and their fantasies.

"Israel settled in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of the Moabites." (25:1)

"Israel became attached to Baal Peor, and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel." (25:3)

As we have pointed out in this blog, the "anger" of God's love is just the anger we experience when we live the emptiness of our separation from Him after we choose to follow our lower emotions, passions and instincts instead of His ways and attributes.

"The Lord said to Moses, 'Take all the leaders of the people and hang them before the Lord, facing the sun, and then the flaring anger of the Lord will be removed from Israel'." (25:4)

Once we think, feel, and act with the highest traits and qualities of our consciousness (“the leaders of Israel”) and attach them to the permanent awareness of God's love and in His light ("facing the sun") we indeed return to His love.

In this sense, when our highest traits (“the leaders of Israel”) fall into the lowest passions (idolatry), they must be elevated (“hang them”) in order to let love become our true identity, and be able to live in consonance with God's will. This as the opposite to living with the "flaring anger" we suffer when we separate from Him.

In this awareness there is no anger, envy, lust, indolence, greed, cruelty and negative traits we experience as the result of the sense of lack that causes them.

The haftarah for this portion reaffirms the transmuting power of God's love with which all illusions disappear.

"And I will destroy sorcery from your graven images, and your monuments from your midst. And you shall no longer prostrate yourself to your handiwork. And I will uproot your Asherim [the inhabitants of the land as an allegory to ego's negative desires] from your midst, and I will destroy your enemies." (Micah 5:11-13)

The Creator also reminds us that His love sustains us and redeems us.

"O My people that I have made, and how have I wearied you? Respond against Me. For I brought you out from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam." (6:3-4)


"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what the Lord demands from you is to do justice, to love loving kindness. And to walk in humbleness with your God." (6:8)

From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.