Saturday, February 24, 2018
“My voice unto the Lord calls, and He answers me from the mount of His sacredness, forever.” (Psalms 3:5)
This and the remaining verses to be quoted, reiterate what we have pointed out before. In, by and with sacredness we have to approach God, for that is the connecting link between Him and the Jewish people.
The emphasizing “forever” that we see frequently in the Psalms, is to be understood as something previously established for eternity. In sacredness God responds, bringing us to the eternity of His sacredness.
“And I, in Your abundant loving kindness, shall I come in Your house; I bow down toward the temple of Your sacredness in reverence of You.” (5:8)
King David evokes one of God’s attributes of compassion, “abundant in loving kindness” (Exodus 34:6-7) to approach Him in prayer.
This we understand also as an attribute that we must share with God in order to come to the place of His sacredness, to which we also must approach with reverence.
Here reverence means not in fear of God, but in acknowledgment of His unfathomable presence that makes us feel infinitesimally insignificant before Him.
This is not the first or the last occasion when King David invites us to adopt humbleness, for this also is one of the prerequisites to evoke God’s presence in prayer. Reverence here is an expression of utmost humility, as well as the bowing down to the magnificence of our Creator.
“Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; proclaim among the peoples His doings.” (9:12)
In the Jewish prayer book, we recite psalms to entreat God to hear our voice, and to grant us what we need every day to live according to His will. In this entreating prelude we approach Him by recognizing His works and constant marvels and miracles for us, in order to connect and partake of the blessings of His loving kindness and truth.
We also understand “praising” Him, not only by exalting and glorifying Him with words, but also by acting according to His ways and attributes; for we honor Him more by our actions than by our words. Thus we properly proclaim His works among the peoples, while being mindful that He dwells in the sacredness of Zion.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Trying to define or describe Jerusalem is the same futile endeavor to fathom the God of the Jews. The reason is quite simple, because Jerusalem and God belong to each other.
The “place” of God’s presence in the world is as sacred as He is, and the name of the city confirms this fact. Our Jewish oral tradition offers two essential meanings.
One tells us that there were two cities opposite to each other and separated by the valley of Josephat. These were Shalem and Yieru, that many centuries later were unified by King David. Hence the Psalmist is considered the founder of the city, who established it as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel.
The other version is that the city was originally named Shalom, “peace”, and after Abraham’s offering of his son Isaac, he renamed it “Yierushalem”. This one is usually translated in two complementary ways, “shall appear in peace” or “shall be seen in peace”, in reference to God. Both are in the future tense, because this was going to be the place that He chose for His Temple, the dwelling of His presence in the world.
In this sense Jerusalem and its Temple are inherent to each other, because God’s presence dwells in the same place. This definition is accurate to describe it as eternal and indivisible, which are also attributes of the God of the Jews.
In his book of Psalms, King David reflected on these premises with his profound spiritual insight and awareness of what this city means and represents as the capital of the Jewish people in particular, and for humankind in general.
The Psalmist revealed for us ways and attributes inherent in God and in Jerusalem, intended not as definitions of both, but as qualities that we find as bonds for each other. We will reflect and expand on these as we quote the verses in the psalms where King David refers to Jerusalem, Zion and the Temple as the same place.
The Jewish oral tradition does not offer specific meanings for Zion, but only as a synonym of Jerusalem and its Temple. Thus we understand and assimilate that Zionism is the fundamental and structural belief of Judaism in Jerusalem as the divinely chosen capital of Israel.
In this context Judaism is Zionism, and the Jews are inherently Zionists. This belief is the foundation to approach God’s presence in the world.
Let’s begin King David’s journey into Jerusalem, and let us by enlightened by God’s presence in the capital, the eternal head of Israel.
“And I have established My king upon Zion, the mount of My sacredness.”
The Hebrew Bible mentions quite often that God is sacred, as a reference to follow His ways, attributes and commandments.
“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be sacred, for the Lord your God is sacred’.” (Leviticus 19:1)
We understand sacredness not only as one of God’s attributes, but also as a precondition to be before His presence. Thus we realize sacredness as something we need to be and have in order to bond with our Creator. Hence Zion is the mount of His sacredness, where He establishes His king as the ruler who better understands and implements God’s will for His people.
It can’t be otherwise, for God’s sacredness requires both a sacred place to dwell in the world, and a sacred king to rule for the sake of sacredness. The point here is to understand it as a quality or qualities that exclude all that is alien to God’s ways, means and attributes.
Thus we assimilate that it is about goodness, and what is related to goodness as what makes us sacred and connected to the Creator.
The fact that the verses indicates “establishment” implies that all related to Zion and Jerusalem is meant to exist for eternity.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
“And further from these, my son, be warned. The making of many books has no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the whole matter let us hear, ‘Revere [lit. fear] God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man; for every work God brings into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether good or bad’.”
King Solomon ends his enlightening message as the one who congregates to unite his people, Israel, that he calls here his “son” to be guided by God’s will.
No matter how much we learn from the world and its nature, as well as from the knowledge found or amassed by human consciousness about life, most of this knowledge becomes a tiresome burden.
Kohelet’s essential message is reiterated by making us aware that what truly matters in life is goodness as the ruling principle in God’s creation, which is the purpose of all the commandments in His Torah. This is the foundation of the Jewish identity.
In goodness nothing escapes from its ethical frame, because is based on the ruling principle of cause and effect, which is the “judgment” that justifies goodness. Hence all our actions, good or bad, depend on this principle.
From this we finally are able to assimilate that goodness is the cause and also the effect of itself. As we integrate this principle in our consciousness, the Creator will respond with His final redemption as the Psalmist assures.
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace unto His people and to His loving ones; and let them not turn back to folly. Surely His redemption is nigh them who revere Him, so that glory may dwell in our land.” (Psalms 85:9)
In this awareness goodness is our truth and it will be united with the compassion of God’s goodness.
“Compassion and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs out of the earth and righteousness has looked down from heaven. Also the Lord will give that which is good and our land shall yield her produce. Righteousness shall go before Him and shall make His footsteps a way.” (Ibid. 85:11-14)
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne, compassion and truth go before You.” (Ibid. 89:15)
Sunday, February 4, 2018
“In the day that keepers of the house tremble, and men of strength have bowed themselves, and grinders have ceased, because they have become few. And the watchers at the windows have become dim, and the doors shall be shut in the street. When the sound of the grinding is low and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of song shall be brought low. Yes, they shall be afraid of heights, and terrors will be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets.” (Ecclesiastes 12:2-5)
These verses refer to evil in its darkest hour, when there is no hope to be redeemed from its ways, traits and trends that seem to seize goodness from human consciousness as the “house” where the “keepers” tremble.
These keepers and watchers along with the “strength” to “grind” become scarce when goodness must be defended in order to make it prevail against evil.
The joy in the hearts as the song of the positive traits and trends (“daughters”) become low and dim, as life at the end of its journey in the grave. The altitude required for the right attitude also become as low as the ground.
“While that the silver cord is not removed, and the golden bowl broken, and the pitcher broken by the fountain, and the wheel broken at the well. And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the soul returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, said the Kohelet, all is vanity!” (12:6-8)
Once death arrives as a consequence of living in the emptiness of futility under the sun, is appropriate to say that all is vanity. Ego’s fantasies and illusions seem to reign in the material world, aimed to take away the lifeline of the soul that God has given us to know Him in His ways and attributes as the source of all that is good, for in goodness we begin to know the Creator of all.
“And further, because the Kohelet was wise, he still taught the people knowledge, and gave ear, and sought out, he made right many similes. The Kohelet sought to find out pleasing words written by the upright words of truth. Words of the wise are as goads, and as fences planted by the masters of collections, they have been given by one Shepherd.” (12:7-11)
This is the wisdom as the knowledge of God that the Kohelet, King Solomon, taught to help us find the joy in the “right many smiles” of goodness, for in the one Shepherd that the Creator is, we find the pleasing “upright words of truth”.
These are the goads and fences planted by the positive ways, means, and attributes of goodness, given by God as the qualities that sooner than later will collect their fruits in the field of life in this world.
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.