Sunday, March 18, 2012
Q & A
I find difficult to apply some of the principles of Kabbalah to daily life, the "seven emotions" in particular. Though they are separate entities, I understand that they are connected with each other. I don't get how they relate to each other, considering their differences. I can relate to their interaction as unity in diversity, yet such interaction is not quite clear to me.
Indeed, our mystic Sages define the seven emotions as contained within each other, meaning that loving kindness (chesed) encompasses severity, truth, victory, honor, foundation and sovereignty, in a dynamic way which makes understandable their interaction. You can see it as a developing process, and not as plain interaction. It works the same as the seven days of God's Creation: one day is the foundation for the next. In this context, loving kindness is the human projection of the Light in the first day, severity is the reflection of separation to establish order and direction, truth as result of productive forces or qualities previously separated and capable to yield life, victory as the reflection of Divine direction, honor as the fulfillment of life, foundation as the meaning of the human potential to reflect Divine direction, and sovereignty as full awareness of Divine domain on every dimension and level of Creation. Likewise, these seven emotions or qualities relate to each other as a developing process.
It is important to remark that loving kindness (here we rather call it Love) as the reflection of God's primordial Light, is the Divine emanation that sustains the whole “process”. Love generates and sustains its ways as order (severity or power to organize and establish), truth (the harmonious interaction of what has been divided or separated in order to generate more harmony), victory (as the result of preordained harmony), honor (as a consequence of harmony), foundation as full human awareness of harmony, capable to rule over all aspects and manifestations of Creation. In this sense, harmony is the purpose of Love. We realize that Love is the underlying Essence that gives meaning and transcendence to life in the material world, because Love encompasses and integrates all aspects of Creation, which includes our consciousness and its dimensions.
In other words, the hidden meaning of the interaction of the seven emotions defined by the Zohar is Love, because Love generates all of them and therefore commands over them. We just need to be aware of this. Be practical and down-to-earth regarding abstract or symbolic concepts, and don't get trapped in their apparent complexity. This means to approach life and your immediate reality with Love as the connecting, interacting and integrating Essence in the entire Creation. Approach yourself and all aspects of your consciousness with an affectionate attitude, and you will understand what is right and wrong, true and false, useful and useless, positive and negative. Make Love your harmonizing reference.
I am concerned and actually worried about the increasing antisemitism and hostility against Israel, and even more about the divisions among Jews under such circumstances. Are there any signs that lead us to be more optimistic about our future as a Nation and as the persecuted people that we are?
Antisemitism, Judeophobia and hostility against Jews and Israel are nothing new, as you probably know. 70 years ago it also happened, and more than six million of our people were murdered amid the indifference of the rest of the world. 50 years earlier thousands of us were also murdered, robbed, raped and dispossessed in pogroms. Decades earlier we were systematically excluded or segregated from most “civilized” countries. Prior to that and for many centuries, we were expelled, dispossessed, persecuted, tortured and murdered because of our identity and tradition.
There is no reason to believe that this predicament may end if we don't educate the world about who we really are as a people and as a Nation. We can't afford the luxury of assuming that non Jews are unprejudiced enough to accept us the way we are, which nowadays is not that much different than the rest of the world. They have an idea about who we are, and it is our obligation to correct such idea in order to let them know our version of the Jewish identity and not theirs. When they know our truth, they will respect, value and appreciate who we are. We have to tell them about every single contribution we have made to help this world become a better place for all.
We start with the Torah as our identity and end with our contributions to law, medicine, science, philosophy, politics, and the humanities, including our philanthropists. Above all, they must know that all these are the result of our Love for life and harmony among all human beings, because our identity is about God's Love for His Creation, as is its stated and commanded to us in His Torah. We all have not only the duty but the obligation to tell the world who we truly are free from their stereotypes, envy, hatred and intolerance. Our identity is not aimed to show them that we are better because the source of goodness is our identity, but to invite them to be like us and embrace life and its blessings as the proper way of life.
Don't be worried about how much others hate us, be concerned about who you are and educate others by your example, by being a Jew. Goodness is destined to prevail because goodness is the way of God's Creation. Sooner or later all humankind will embrace the blessings and not the curses, as we do when we get the full awareness of the meaning of being a Jew. The signals of the Redemption from our enemies are our goodness, our solidarity, and our contributions to have a better world. The more we give them for their betterment, the sooner they will be in our side. We just have to show them and tell them who we are.
Regarding our disunity among Jews, after all that has been said here, we rather start teaching among ourselves our identity in our tradition, and return together united as the people and the Nation the Torah instructs us to be. At the meantime we have to respond with courage and strength against those who want to destroy us, because there are many who rather die with their hatred than learn from the blessings of life. It is also our obligation to eradicate them from our midst for the sake of our lives and the lives of our offspring, and also for the sake of the world that we strive to improve. Our identity means everything to us, and let us be reminded by this blessing from our daily prayers:
“Grant peace everywhere, goodness and blessing, grace, loving kindness and mercy to us and to all Israel, Your people. Bless us, our Father, all of us as one with the Light of Your face; for by the Light of Your face You have given us, Lord our God, the Torah of life, and loving kindness and righteousness, and blessing and mercy, and life and peace; and may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel, at all times and in every hour with Your peace. Blessed are You, Lord, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.” and this is who we are.
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.