Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Song of Songs: The Love Story of God and Israel (II)

Fear me not because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. The sons of my mother were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards. [Because] My vineyard, my own, I have not kept.(1:6)

Israel speaks to the foundations (the “sons of her mother”) of her true essence and identity as to what she must return, for darkness is not part of her.

Here we understand that the negative choices of ego's fantasies and illusions (including addictions, attachments, and obsessions) are temporary. These ultimately are necessary experiences in order to make us appreciate and value goodness as the transcending essence of Israel's identity.

Thus Israel, as the conscious self, speaks to her own transcending positive qualities as also scions of her mother. Here the mother is Jerusalem, the connecting point with God, from where Israel came to fulfill His will for the material world. Hence the sons of her mother, her brothers, represent ways and means to return to the Creator and bond permanently with Him.

This interpretation is similar to the opinion of the Yeffe Kol (a commentary on the Song of Songs by Rav Shmuel Yeffe Ashzenazi, b. in the XVI century), referring to the “sons of my mother” as Israel's prophets who urged her to return to God's ways in order to avoid exile and destruction.

In this view, our prophets also represent the highest awareness of the Jewish identity, as well as the positive guiding and directing principles in consciousness that maintain and safeguard our permanent connection with God. The latter reproach Israel by being angry (lit. “incensed”) with her for her negative choices and actions that took her into the darkness of exile among the nations. These as the playing fields of ego's fantasies and illusions.

Tell me, You whom my soul loved, where do You delight [graze], where You rest [Your flock] down at noon. For why should I be as one veiled by the flocks of Your companions?(1:7)

Israel asks God's love in her desire to return to His ways and attributes as the flock that He grazes. The first sentence suggests that the soul is the link to God. The past tense (“my soul loved”) indicates separation and yearning to love Him properly again. This proper way is about living by God's ways and attributes.

There is also a field where the grazing of the flock takes place, and it is God's place. In the awareness of His oneness, we realize that the Sabbath is God's place where He delights, and also the time of Israel's final redemption. The eternal place of rest in the total awareness of God's love.

If you know not, [you] fair among women, get you forth by the traces of the flock and feed your goat kids by the shepherds' dwellings!(1:8)

God answers Israel that following His flocks (His ways and attributes) is what needs to be done, and “feed” (inspire) our actions (goat's kids) as well as our children, sons and daughters, with the principles, values and guidelines (“shepherd tents”, “shepherds” and “tents”). Footsteps (“traces”) as the effects of our actions by the direction these take.

Thus we assimilate that wisdom, as the source from which intellect expresses itself, is also the source of the genuine expressions of love. Hence wisdom and love belong to each other, and are part of each other. There is no true love without wisdom, and there is no true wisdom without love.

In this context, love is a pure and untainted expression of wisdom, and its ways and attributes are conceived by the righteousness inherent to wisdom.

Wisdom implies an ethical conception and expression of love. This wisdom is acquired by a deep insight and discernment from intellect, and makes us understand God's love, and getting us close to Him.

Thus we understand that pure intellect is the expression of the soul in human consciousness. Thus we also understand that the soul is our permanent connection with God.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Song of Songs: The Love Story of God and Israel (I)

After a fourteen month hiatus, we return with our commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures with a Chassidic view on the Song of Songs by king Solomon. It's most relevant to remark that this is a poem full of metaphors and allegories with multidimensional meanings and messages.

However, its main purpose is to awaken Israel's love to God's love as one love destined to rule and make its goodness prevail in the material world. Thus we understand that its central message is for us to return to the goodness of love's ways and attributes as our essence and true identity, and common bond with the Creator of all.

We hope our commentary on the Song of Songs inspires all our readers get closer to their own love to reach out to God's love, and create a place in themselves for Him to dwell in the material world. Enjoy the ride!

The song of songs, that is Solomon's (the One whose peace belongs)” (Song of Songs 1:1)

This introduction says it all, for it states that indeed is God's song to praise His bond, connection and relationship with Israel. The One whose peace belongs, for peace is completion as the result of the bonding of our love and God's love. We also understand this completion as the purpose of God's promised final redemption for Israel.

In this premise we engage all levels of consciousness to assimilate the meanings of this song from its allegories and metaphors. We approach this poem simultaneously with our intellect, discernment, thought, emotion, feeling, passion and instinct, for it must be fully assimilated with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might.

It is thus for there is no other way to love our Creator. This poem is a love song in which we celebrate God's love for Israel, and Israel's love for God.

Let Him kiss me with kisses of His mouth, for better are Your loves than wine.” (1:2)

Kissing denotes not only closeness but intimacy. There is an apparent redundancy in the first part of the verse. Although kissing is done with the mouth, Israel asks more than one of God's kisses. This request suggests some kind of multiplicity that also implies multidimensional and transcending qualities inherent only to God.

God's love is unfathomable as God Himself. Israel is aware of this, hence she asks God more than a singular or particular aspect of His love. Not just His kisses of loving kindness, or just His kisses of compassion, or just His kisses of truth, or just His kisses of forgiveness, or just His kisses of righteousness, among His ways and attributes. Israel's yearning for God's love embraces His eternal, infinite and transcending essence.

In the second sentence of the verse, Israel speaks about her God to the idolatrous nations, pointing out to them Who her God is and why she loves Him. Israel desires Him as the unfathomable Creator and Master of endless worlds and dimensions.

He does great unfathomable works, and endless marvelous things.” (Job 9:10).

The God of Israel is not limited to just providing material needs, for His power is all encompassing beyond human comprehension or understanding.

After this defining statement of Israel about her God, she turns to Him and utters her deepest desire to bond with Him in all dimensions of His love and power.

For fragrance Your oils are good. Oil poured out [is] Your name, therefore maidens [servers] love You!” (Song of Songs 1:3)

Our sages relate oil to several traits or qualities. Oil is fuel for fire in order to light up and dissipate darkness. Israel is usually compared to oil, while the nations are compared to water. Fire can't come out of water, but it does out of oil.

The anointment of the Jewish high priests and kings was made with olive oil. This anointment ritually represents the enlightenment of consciousness necessary to execute God's will for Israel, and from Israel to the world.

In this context, God's oils are enlightening traits and qualities with a divine purpose in human life and the material world. The verse suggests not only oil texture but also fragrance or scents, referred as qualities of goodness.

So far we have allegories related to kisses, wine, oils and fragrance. All these not only inherently good coming from God's love, but to serve a purpose in human consciousness in order to expand this goodness into the world.

In this verse “maidens” represent aspects and levels of consciousness at the service of a higher purpose in life. These are good traits and positive trends that identify themselves with the goodness of God's ways and attributes.

Draw me after You [and we will] run together. The King has brought me into His chambers, we do joy and rejoice in You. We mention Your loves [which are better] than wine. Uprightly they love You!” (1:4)

This verse makes reference to the Divine final redemption of Israel and humankind. We have mentioned often in our commentaries on the Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy in this blog, that the final redemption begins with Israel and is led by Israel for the benefit of the nations.

Israel asks God to be drawn to Him in allusion to the dawn of the Messianic era. The final redemption comes by God's will in the time and circumstances He considers proper. As God initiates the process, Israel is first drawn to Him in order to haste together the final redemption.

This process begins with the complete consummation of God and Israel's covenant, allegorically referred as the marriage of husband and wife. The fulfillment and completion of this covenant takes place in the Temple of Jerusalem, where God and Israel are united spiritually.

In this culmination Israel later rejoices in God along with the nations into the final redemption. Together all will rejoice in the delights (the “wine”) of God's love. The nations finally will truly love God through righteousness and positive traits and trends, away from their current negative and destructive ways.

Dark am and beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem; as tents of Kedar, as curtains of Solomon.” (1:5)

The “daughters of Jerusalem” are wrongfully interpreted as the nations, for they indeed represent positive traits and trends that sprout from the highest level of consciousness (Jerusalem) where we achieve our permanent connection with God's love.

If the nations represent negative traits and trends in consciousness, they have no relation with Jerusalem as the connecting point between God and our highest awareness of Him. Jerusalem, by definition, is the sacred point where only good expressions (“daughters”) come out of God's love.

In this context, Israel as the “conscious self” in the Jewish identity, admits her “darkness” to the daughters of Jerusalem as her own positive traits. This darkness is the effect of Israel's negative choices throughout her history. At the same time, she promises to rectify her transgressions and return to her true essence and identity which possess the keys to her own redemption.

She comes from living in the tents of Kedar (negative traits and trends) to dwell in the holy of hollies, the inner chamber of the Temple of Jerusalem, referred as the hanging curtains of the place of the One whose peace belongs.

Israel concedes that instead of dwelling in the light and love of God's ways and attributes, she has been sullied as those who live in the darkness of lower levels and negative traits in consciousness, triggered by ego's materialistic fantasies and illusions.

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.