Sunday, March 28, 2010


Every year, by direct Divine Commandment we commemorate the Exodus from Egypt with specific instructions to recall that extraordinary event for our children's learning and awareness of its significance. Interestingly, we recall that miraculous episode not only once a year but every single day in our Jewish daily prayers. And the reason is quite simple: every day we pronounce the same crying out to our Creator for Redemption made more than 3300 years ago as slaves in the land of Egypt.

In our daily prayers we make ourselves aware that God's Love delivers us from the dominion of our materialistic beliefs, ideologies, thoughts, emotions, passions and instincts (represented by the land of Egypt, and the Egyptian high officers and soldiers), and the ruling of ego's desires (Pharaoh). We cry out laud to our Creator, appealing to His abundant loving kindness, compassion and truth, when we are fed up, bored or unsatisfied by the emptiness of the illusions derived from materialism, and realize that there must be something more meaningful and transcending in life worthy enough to be experienced every every moment of our lives.

Also when the emotions and the body tell us that we are sick-and-tired to be sick-and-tired of the same "reality" in which negative patterns dominate the "order" imposed on our daily life, such as the way in which people do business, engage in politics and bureaucracy, corruption, destructive competitive practices based on pride, financial profit, prestige, to have power over others, et al. And, in a less mindful approach, when things get so worse that our emotions and body can't handle the negativity derived from a wrong attitude toward life.

In other words, this occurs when our intellect (the capacity to reason and conceive the interaction among each other and our environment), our beliefs (the ideas, conceptions and thoughts that make us approach life and the world), our emotions (the way our feelings and senses experience our beliefs), and our body can't relate anymore to the status quo, the state of affairs, the material reality we are surrounded by.

These causes that compel us to cry out to God were experienced by our ancestors in ancient Egypt, and are the same causes that we experience now and during centuries in between. These causes exist as long as we live exiled among the nations, those other lands similar to Egypt where we were dispersed after we chose to separate from our Creator. Our God didn't disperse us in exile from Him, because His Love does not disperse or separate. We did it and we do it every time we choose to live in the illusions of "foreign lands", and not in the truth of our own Promised Land which represents our consciousness of God's Love. As long as we live in this sublime awareness, we will never be separated or exiled.

Every year we recall the Exodus and teach our children why and how God's Love delivered us from the land of Egypt. We tell them that the miracle happened because our ancestors chose to return to their God, and He answered their call. Not only for their freedom but with the promise to make them His Chosen People in His Holy Land. And His promise was fulfilled.

Let's teach our children this is why every day we remember the Exodus from Egypt as a way to appeal to God's Love, to redeem us again from the illusions that separate us from Him, His ways and attributes. And let’s pray together to make this the Final Redemption, and again be One with Him.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Parshat Tzav: Keeping the Fire up

In the previous portion of the Torah, Vayikra, the different kind of offerings for the Tabernacle are described in detail, and in Tzav the attention is focused on the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest. As we mentioned in our commentary on Vayikra, the High Priest represents the highest level of consciousness through which we are able to communicate and relate to our Creator.

In Tzav, which is the imperative form of the Hebrew verb to command, there are clear indications for Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons (also his future descendants) to follow specific instructions from which one echoes among our Sages.

“And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning in it; it shall not be put out.”, (and later emphasized), “A constant fire shall burn upon the altar, it shall never go out.” (Leviticus 6:5-6)

Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1521-1593) explains in his commentary on the Torah that the fire burning in the Tabernacle is the Love for God that burns within every soul, and says that the task of the High Priest is to maintain permanently lit this fire, as God's Love is constantly present for us. It is a reciprocal Love in which we see in the altar both Divine and human fires blended together in one.

Again, we evoke our Sages on the High Priest's role.

“Be of the disciples of Aaron, a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.” (Pirkei Avot 1:12)

In its constant connection with God's Love, our higher consciousness is endowed to harmonize the lower aspects of our human traits, bringing them together to also achieve closeness to the Creator. This is the purpose of the sacrifices in the altar.

We experience constant, permanent awareness of God's Love as our Essence and identity when our higher awareness is guiding all levels of consciousness. Why God's Commandment to keep the fire of our Love for Him constantly burning is mentioned twice? There are many Commandments in the Torah that are repeated several times, and in their repetition there is an implicit warning: if we don't fulfill them, we separate from Him.

It is always our choice to separate from God's Love, but let's never forget that He never separates from us. The semantic root in Hebrew for commandment, mitzvah, also means connection and that reference is clearly related to God in the context of the Torah. We learn from parshat Tzav that we are solely responsible to empower our higher consciousness, the High Priest of our awareness of God, to maintain our closeness to Him.

We are here in this world to be and do God's ways and attributes. In order to fulfill this Divine destiny we have to constantly embrace Him with the most ardent Love, like a fire that never extinguishes. Let's never forget that this fire, His and ours, is the unbreakable bond that nurtures and sustains us.

“It is their portion, which I have given to them from My fire.” (Leviticus 6:10)

This Divine fire is God's Love.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Parshat Vayikra: Doing the Sacred

We started the month of Nissan with the reading of the third book of the Torah, Vayikra, also known as Leviticus. Although the last portion of the book of Exodus, Pekudei, refers to the completion of the construction of the Mishkan [Tabernacle], Vayikra continues with the sacrifices to be offered to God in the holy place where His Presence rests. The Latin term for “sacrifice” is made out of two words that mean “doing the sacred”.

In Hebrew the word used in the Torah is korban, usually translated as offering, and in a deeper meaning denotes what has to be returned to its Creator. Other Sages say that it derives from the semantic root karov which means being near. They suggest that it means to be close to the Creator.

This offering, understood as a return to be close to Him, occurs in a way of elevation because the Creator belongs to a higher place. This elevation takes place when the offering is burnt and transformed into smoke that reaches up to Heaven.

The first portion of Leviticus is also called vayikra, which according to Rashi is an affectionate way in which God calls on to Moses to give instructions to the People of Israel in their Tent of Meeting about how they will bring their offerings to Him. As we said, these offerings are the sacred things to do in order to maintain the closest connection between ourselves and the Creator.

Mystic and Chassidic Sages explain that the animals that God indicates, including their blood and fat, refer to human traits such as passion (blood), pleasure (fat), emotional excitement (sheep and goats); taking what is not given to us, eating or consuming without discernment, and dumping everywhere without caring for others (pigeons) and egotistic, controlling and oppressive behavior (ox, bulls and bullocks).

The act of sacrificing these animals by burning them in the altar of the Tabernacle does not mean the actual elimination or destruction of the human traits they represent. Let's reexamine the message of this Torah portion, and take a closer look to the essential elements involved in the sacrifices requested from Israel by God.

First of all, the place where those offerings take place, the Mishkan. It represents the highest level of our consciousness where our Soul actually dwells permanently. It is the place where we are eternally connected with our Creator, and from where we communicate and relate to Him.

It is there where the Creator dwells among us, therefore the most sacred dimension of our material consciousness.

“And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and [the Tent of Meeting] shall be sanctified by My Glory. And I will dwell among [in] the children of Israel, and I will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among [in] them. I am the Lord their God.” (Exodus 29:43, 45-46)

Second of all, the burning fire that according to our Sages came from Heaven. This holy fire was always burning in the Mishkan, and God also requested a material fire that blended with His. In this sense, Divine fire is the essential catalyst with which our human thoughts, emotions, feelings and passions are elevated (refined) and “returned” to God.

We refine them in order to redirect them according to His will, and what He wants us to be and do. This heavenly fire is nothing more and nothing less than God's Love, from which everything is created, nurtured and sustained. This is the same fire that welcomes us when we are humbled after taking off our shoes to step in His holy ground.

This is the fire that purifies and leads in the right direction our basic nature, our basic needs and instincts, according to God's will.

The different kind of offerings have the goal to bring us back to God, after we lost our true purpose in this world and fell into the illusions that our basic nature take us to. The High Priest is the one who guides us all the time in this Tabernacle. He is the higher consciousness always present when we are attuned to God's will. He is the one who elevates our basic traits in order to put the Yoke of Heaven on our ego: the yoke of real peace and pure joy that balance our emotions.

The yoke of true care and respect for our fellow man in all of our actions. By doing so we are truly fulfilling God's will, and also His promise to dwell among (in) us.

Let's rededicate our lives to the Love of God by dwelling with Him in the Tabernacle that is the highest and purest level of our awareness. From there, His Love harmonically guides all aspects of our consciousness in our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts.

Also let's remind ourselves that, in order to rebuild that sacred place where God promised to dwell with us, first we have to rebuild Jerusalem, our consciousness of His Love. We pray for this three times every day, and let's not forget that we have to start this reconstruction now.

The Chassidic tradition teaches us that in Sinai the Divine Redemption came from Above to below; and the Final Redemption in our current times will come from below to Above. This means that with our basic, lower nature we have to reach up to Heaven, and be guided by God's Love to redeem ourselves from ego's fantasies and illusions, and be One again with God.

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.