Sunday, May 27, 2012

Naso: Honoring our Faithfulness to God's Love

Let's reflect on the passages of this portion regarding the faithfulness between a married couple (Numbers 5:12-15).

Faithfulness is actually the foundation of any relationship, and also the foundation of the social establishment in which one lives. If there is no trust and reliability among people and their institutions, there is corruption, unrest and conflict.                                                   

No wonder the hefty budget devoted to law enforcement in most civilized countries. Faithfulness indeed has a price that we are willing to pay because from it depends what we trust, cherish, appreciate, value and love the most.

We pay to be safe and to receive goods and services we need in order to have peace and tranquility in our individual and collective environment. If we compel ourselves to pay for trust, confidence, faithfulness, loyalty and reliability in order to feel safe and secure in the material world, how much would we be willing to do in order to secure 
our relationship with God? How much does it cost to have Him close to us always in our lives? The price is faithfulness.

It takes something more to be close to God than paying taxes to rely on government services such as law enforcement and social security, because our relationship with Him is priceless, and beyond any social contracts. However, either we want it or not, our relationship with Him is bound to our relationship with each other in our surroundings.

“Tell the children of Israel: When a man or woman commits any of the sins against man to act treacherously against God (...)” (5:6).

We love each other because we love God. God's Love is our Essence and common bond with Him and with each other here in the material world. In this context Love is the faithfulness we have for each other because we know that if the ways and attributes of Love are not present, we are not safe, secured, protected or cared for.

Love is the foundation of our faithfulness in anything we want to be, to have, and to do. We are faithful to Love because we must have to be faithful with the Essence of who we are.

Under the consumer society we live in we have to pay for anything that makes us feel safe, secured and protected. We humans have created such darkness that we have to pay in order to stay away from the harm, perils and dangers that we have created! It's an irony that we create negative conditions and pay to stay away from them, and we do it for the sake of money.

We create addictions, distractions and unhealthy conditions and later pay to free ourselves from them. It's outrageous what ego's fantasies and illusions can create in order to keep us in darkness and negativity. Yet we seem to be more faithful to ego's materialistic desires than to Love's ways and attributes. We rather allow the negative current state of affairs and the consumer society's establishment to rule over us than allowing the positive qualities of Love as our Essence and true identity.

Let's reflect on the meanings of faithfulness the Torah points out when it mentions the respect and loyalty man owes to woman, and woman to man. As we already said, we owe faithfulness to each other as we owe faithfulness to our God. He commands us to be faithful with each other because it is about the same faithfulness He wants from us to Him.

In this context we must be faithful and loyal to the principles that define our Jewish identity. Otherwise, we cheat, deceit and betray ourselves. We most be aware that when one is unfaithful to his values and to whom he commits his loyalty, he is unfaithful to himself.

God wants us to be faithful for our own sake, not His. God's Love for us is our true reference, the real foundation of our consciousness. This means that as long as we are faithful to His ways and attributes as the guidelines and ground rules for what we are, have and do, we are faithful to ourselves. Faithfulness is really about us as individuals because that's the only way that we can commit to faithfulness, truthfulness and loyalty to others.

We cheat or betray others' trust and faithfulness when we change the “rules of the game” in our relationship with them. If our rules are solid and strong as the true foundation of our consciousness, they will remain solid and strong regardless the change of others' rules.

This is a practical way to say that Love does not cohabit with anything different than its ways and attributes. As long as we remain faithful, loyal and committed to Love's ways in what we are and do, we are faithful to our identity as the Torah defines it for us (see our commentaries on Parshat Naso: “Unity in Diversity” of May 15, 2010 and “Living in the Blessings of Divine love” of May 29, 2011).

In a higher level, in terms of man-woman relationship, let's be aware that both male and female contain polarities inherent to each other, and they form a unity. We have to evolve to the higher awareness that we are materially separated as male and female in order to be united for the sacred purpose called life and its multiple facets and dimensions.

Mystic Sages conceive the harmonic union of both polarities as the whole purpose of God's Creation for us to fulfill.

For centuries we have fought against such purpose by generating confrontation and conflict among our two polarities. We have been blind to the clear evidence that in the union of both life is conceived, and with the constructive cooperation of both we elevate, enhance and consecrate life for a higher purpose than those of ego's negative fantasies and illusions. 

We are here in the material world to harmonize our male and female aspects of consciousness in order to consecrate life for the higher purpose of Love's ways and attributes. We accomplish this by being and doing such ways and attributes. There is no other way and there is no other purpose.

What we label as negative, harmful or destructive among our male and female polarities comes from our own negative approach. There is nothing negative in being a man or a woman, because we all share traits and qualities from both polarities. It does not make sense to stigmatize or undermine something that is part of us. Our dilemma is that so far we have not been able to harmonize them. 

We all are born with different proportions of both polarities, and it is our individual and collective duty to balance and harmonize them with the purpose of recreating life as the product of the male and female union. Since we are born we are destined to be united in order to maintain and expand life.

We do that by honoring, respecting and committing to each other's well being through Love's ways and attributes. Let's get truly acquainted with the male and female aspects of our human consciousness, by appreciating, respecting and honoring their traits and qualities as 
positive means to rectify the negative direction we have given them in the past. 

We need to know what we were made as men and women from the positive perspective that God's Love gives us as our true Essence and identity: Love. Let's be faithful to Love as the Essence that get us closer to each other with the purpose of being happy and content with each other, because God's Love created us to discover such purpose.

Once we clear the darkness we have created in the world with the Light of Love's ways and attributes, we realize the purpose of our true identity in the material world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Judah Macabee: Homophobe

In view of the recent stirred debates on gay marriages in the United States, I want to share an article by a dear friend of mine, Philip Lefkowitz, Rabbi of the congregation Agudat Achim in Chicago.

Dear haverim,

I am not trying to preach or impress you by my writing skills. I share the following as I believe that gay marriage is a "blessing and a curse" placed before us. A blessing because it affords us the opportunity to make American Jewry look at their own reflection in the mirror. A curse as, if we don't deal with it in a manner to change the mindset of American Jewry, it marks yet another step toward its collective demise.

Phil Lefkowitz

Judah Macabee: Homophobe

Plato said, “Homosexuality is regarded as shameful by Barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love; all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce.” and Plutarch said, “The noble lover of beauty engages in love wherever he sees excellence and splendid natural endowment without regard for any difference in physiological detail.”

Statistics evaluating American Jewish religious expression show that the Jewish observance most practiced in the United States is the lighting of Hanukkah candles. Hanukkah commemorates and celebrates the miraculous victory of Judah Macabee, his family and small group of followers who, repulsed by the decree from Antiochus IV to place a statue of Zeus in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem – the center of Monotheism –, mounted a guerrilla war against the Hellenized Syrian-Mesopotamian Empire then in control of ancient Israel.

Considering the support of so many Jews for gay marriage in America, one wonders how they can celebrate Hanukkah. For today many would label Judah, his family, the Hasmoneans, and their followers as homophobes. Yes, homophobes. Let me explain. The Jewish world of the Macabees was completely swallowed up by Hellenism. Assimilated by the Greek philosophy of life and its emphasis upon the worship of the physical, as opposed to spiritual development, young Jewish men began to work out in the nude on the courtyards of the Temple Mount. In an attempt to hide the “deformity” inflicted upon their well-toned “Grecian” physiques by their parents through the rite of circumcision, they would employ various techniques to disguise this Jewish “mutilation”. Of course, Greek names and life style had become the norm for the Jews of that time. Now there are those, in discussing the contemporary challenge presented by assimilation, who compare American Jewry to the Hellenized Jewish world of the Macabees.

As the quotes from Plato and Plutarch demonstrate, not only was homosexuality widely engaged in by Hellenistic societies, but aslo embraced by the Hellenized Jews in the time of the Macabees, and it was lauded as a valuable element in the development of a “sophisticated” society. As Plato states, it is the Barbarian and the dictator that seek to stifle homosexual expression. Plutarch reminds us all of the fascination the Hellenists had for the physical body, arbitrarily equating love with sexual expression, by engaging with individuals of “special natural endowment”, either male or female, in stark contrast to Judaism which views love as a manifestation far more transcending than a temporary physical encounter.

The Macabees, the Hassidim of their age, were those who as a minority maintained Jewish observance and values in the face of a Jewish world possessed by an alien culture and pagan beliefs. The Macabees, unlike Plato, were repulsed by the rampant and open sexual promiscuity among the Jewry of their days, which included homosexuality, seeing it as leading to the destruction of the great Temple of Jewish thought and spiritual purity exemplified by the observance of the Torah and its Commandments. And when the fortress of Judaism was breached, when the Temple was defiled and rededicated as a pagan shrine to Zeus, in spite of their small numbers the Macabees realized that there was no alternative but to take to the hills and fight to the death for their Jewish beliefs with the call to arms: “Whoever is for the L-rd follow me!”

We live in a confused Jewish world where that which is rejected by Judaism is now an expression of Jewish values, as represented by the recent remark of the President of the National Jewish Democratic Council that gay marriage is a step forward in the important endeavor of Tikun Olam, the bringing of balance and perfection to the physical world through G-d’s Commandments. How could this have happened? May I suggest that we live with faulty Jewish mathematics? One of the major equations used in Jewish life today states: A Jewish position on a given issue equals the opinion of the majority of Jews. 

If we truly believe this equation, if we believe that Jewish views are determined by the majority of Jews, then as the title of this article states, there is no doubt that Judah Macabee was a homophobe. For, was he not battling and risking his life and the life of his followers against a superior and well armed force to reinstate the values of Judaism in Jewish society? Unlike the majority of the Jews of his day who echoed the sentiments of Plato and Plutarch, he saw in the expression of sexuality beyond the sacred bond of marriage between man and woman, a violation of G-d’s Divine law. He would give no quarter to such immoral behavior. He was what nowadays some would call a fanatic, a veritable “Bible thumper” in his day. And yet, we Jews embrace the victory of the Macabees, their rise to both Kingship and Priesthood, their restoring the values of G-d, as something to celebrate: Hanukkah as the Jewish celebration embraced by more Jews than any other in our religious lexicon.

In 1885 the leaders of the Reform Movement met in Pittsburgh to define their sense of Judaism. They issued the “Pittsburgh Platform” now understood as the encapsulation of classical Reform Judaism. In part it states: “Second- We recognize in the Bible the record of the consecration of the Jewish people to its mission as priests of the one true God, and value it as the most potent instrument of religious and moral instruction. Third- (…) today we accept as binding only the moral laws, and maintain only such ceremonies as to elevate and sanctify our lives, but reject all such as not adapted to the views and habits of modern civilization.” By endorsing gay marriage most American Jews have parted company with this liberal expression of Judaism.

As classical Reform Judaism declares that “record of the consecration of the Jewish people to its mission as priests of the one true God”, that “most potent instrument of religious and moral instruction”, in today’s terms that ancient yet eternal Jewish “Rules for Radicals”, the Bible teaches us in the book of Leviticus that, “If a man lies with a man as with a woman both of them have committed an abomination.”, “You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.” 

In the book of Isaiah we read, “It is too light a thing for you [Jews] to be My servants, to establish the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the scions of Israel; and I shall submit you as a light unto the nations, to be My redemption until the end of the Earth. (...) I the L-ord have called unto you in righteousness, and have taken hold of your hand, and submitted you as the people's Covenant, as a light unto the nations. (...) And unto your light, nations shall walk, and kings unto the brightness of your rising”.

Something to think about.

Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz - Congregation Agudat Achim of Chicago.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bamidbar: Before the Divine Presence

The Torah makes evident that the Creator guides and directs our steps when we choose to embrace His ways and attributes. It is also evident that He also directs all His Creation, and we realize this when we look at this world and the Universe.

As we have said before, this is indeed what agnostics call “intelligent design” though with God's Love as its cause, because all that exists is sustained by Him. This realization becomes even more evident for Israel in our relationship with God. He has been with us ever since He took our forefathers out of the house of slavery in Egypt, and dwelt with them in the desert (Bamidbar). 

Another census of the children of Israel takes place in this portion and let's recall that the counting (lit. rising of the heads) is fundamental to understand the primordial way in which the Creator relates to us: He counts us because we count for Him, because He loves us. He knows our names as He also knows each part of His Creation.

God loves His Creation and chose the children of Israel to proclaim and establish this transcendental Truth in the material world. What is God's Love? We can't conceive Him, neither His Essence, His Love or anything that is from Him and emanates from Him, but we can see His Creation (what is visible and tangible to us) and learn through His Torah how He relates to it. We know that He loves His Creation because He sustains it, and this means that He counts it as He counts the children of Israel.

This is how we deduce and conclude that His ways are His Love's ways, and Love is also the way we relate to Him because it is our common bond with Him. In this new census we learn that each individual member of the Jewish people is unique and special, and there are no preferences or privileges, simply because God's Love is not conditioned by the way we are individually. He wants us to be different and diverse, with traits and qualities that make us the way we are as individuals.

We have said countless times that Judaism does not create discriminating differences, levels, casts, categories or ranks among human beings, though this approach is typical of the other nations. However, we must admit that most of us Jews don't live according to the ways the Torah tells us.

As human beings we have the most enviable identity of all in the world, but most of us do not embrace such identity as the Torah defines it. It is ironic that the Creator counts each and all of us as His people, and we don't reciprocate His Love by counting Him in what we are, have and do.

We learn in this particular census that God wants each one of us counted to live in His Torah and His Commandments. As He knows us individually with our particular qualities and potential, He wants to give us our portion of His Torah, our portion of His Love for us to transform the darkness in the world into the radiant place in which He may dwell among us.

God makes us aware of His Love when He gave us the Torah, the means to know His ways and attributes which are manifest in our consciousness as Love's way and attributes. 

We enthrone Love as the ways, means, traits and qualities that must guide and conduct all levels and dimensions of consciousness, thus we reveal and proclaim God's Presence and Kingdom on Earth. He counts us to tell us that He loves us, and by knowing His Love we know that it is our Essence and true identity.

We are able to love each other because God loves us. We have said in previous commentaries in this blog (Parshat Bemidbar: “In the desert” of May 8, 2010 and “Uniting our Consciousness in God's Love” of May 22, 2011) that the Tribes of Israel represent particular traits and qualities destined to be united in their mission to create a place in this world for the Creator to dwell among (in) us.

The Tribes encompass all the potential goodness that we can become and manifest in all aspects of life, and by being and doing this we fulfill the identity and destiny that the Creator wants for us, as He tells us in the Torah.

We all count before God, from the most talented, powerful and capable to the lowliest, weakest and limited among us, because regardless of our human condition each one of us has a part in God's plan.

We may find this approach hard to understand when we follow the non Jewish mentality that human beings are divided by levels, classes, categories, etc. in which slavery, exploitation, oppression, subjugation, despotism and discrimination are plainly justified.

This approach is not shared in Judaism because the Torah commands us and destines us to love each other, and cooperate with each other for the common goal of fulfilling God's will for us, which is to make His ways and attributes prevail in human consciousness.

This is the legacy of the Torah for the world, and the main contribution of the Jewish people to humankind. This is what the Redemption and the Messianic era in Judaism are all about.

We will fulfill this mission as our destiny, and we begin transforming the negative aspects of consciousness by directing them into God's ways and attributes. We begin by eradicating ego's fantasies and illusions as the idols that separate us from Love as our Essence and true identity.

Once we are aware of God's Love as the source that creates and sustain our lives as well as all His Creation, we must choose to embrace His ways.

In this realization we become aware that He has been and always will be our sole Redeemer.

“And I will remove the names of the baalim [idols] from her [Jerusalem, as our consciousness of Love through our highest awareness of God's Love] mouth, and they shall no longer be mentioned by their name [the idols shall no longer be followed]. And I will make on that day a Covenant with the beasts of the field, and with the fowl of the sky, and with the creeping things of the earth; and the bow, the sword, and war I will break off the earth; and I will let them lie down safely. And I will betroth you to Me forever, and I will betroth you with righteousness and with justice, and with loving kindness, and with compassion. And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19-22).

We know Him through His ways and attributes, and we come to realize this as long as we follow them also as our ways.

The Psalmist reminds us about this.

“Know Him in all your ways, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bechukotai: Our Relationship with the Creator

In previous commentaries in our blog about this portion (Parshat Bechukotai: “Following Love's Ways” on May 2, 2010 and “Choosing Love” on May 15, 2011) we underscored that we are an emanation of God's Love and, such as, Love is our common bond with the Creator. Through this bond we relate to Him and His Creation which is also an emanation of His Love.

The Creator makes this principle clear to Israel in this portion and in other chapters of His Torah.

If you walk in My statutes and keep My Commandments and perform them (...)” (Leviticus 26:3)

The first ten verses that follow up in Bechukotai (26:4-14) contain some of the blessings we enjoy when God's ways and attributes guide and direct all aspects of our consciousness.

I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit.

We understand “our” rains also as God's Love manifest in the potential goodness that we can express in our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts, including speech and actions as the means to convey Love as our Essence and bond with God.

The natural consequence of this is the goodness that life, which is also the Land, yields as its produce. We have a fruitful and productive life when we work and play in the fields of God's Love.

Our Sages refer to trees as metaphors for knowledge, and the Torah as the most important tree of all with which we sweeten the bitter waters (the negative aspects of material reality as a reflection of the negative aspects of consciousness). Trees also represent beliefs that, if conceived and manifest in Love's ways and attributes, always bear good outcomes.

Your threshing will last until the vintage, and the vintage will last until the sowing; you will eat your food to satiety, and you will live in security in your Land.

This explains the transcendence of Love as its own cause and effect, as long as we make it prevail in what we are, have and do. In this permanent awareness we experience and trust Love's attributes as the ways and means to live in goodness as our intended destiny.

We experience and enjoy the greatest security ever in this destiny as God's purpose for us in the material world. We have said many times that peace, abundance, prosperity, happiness, and all positive traits and qualities are the ways, means, attributes and effects of Love. As we live by, in, with and for them there is nothing that can be against us, because in them there is no room for opposite attributes.

In this broader sense we understand the principle that Love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes, because these are directed by their inherent ethics.

And I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten [you]; I will remove wild beasts from the Land, and no army will pass through your Land (...)

The righteousness of Love does not allow anything negative as the effect of its ways and attributes.

Wickedness and negative traits are the wild beasts that threaten Love's qualities and, no matter how harmful they might be, Love always prevails and transcends as our true Essence and identity.

This is why we call here “fantasies and illusions” ego's negative desires, because that is what they are. They all are temporary and never transcend in our lives, but let's be mindful about negativity as a reference and not a choice for us.

Some people experience sadness, depression, frustration, anger, rage, greed, lust, cruelty, indolence and other negative traits as permanent residents in all levels of their consciousness, and indeed they make them “transcend” in their lives by becoming addicted to them. They truly are part of their lives and are mainly their references and choices to relate with others and their surroundings.

This is what the daily news refer to as wars, crimes, conflicts, robberies, assaults, rapes, kidnappings, scams, embezzlement, fraud, cheating, intimidation, racism, xenophobia, and even things that may sound positive as rebellions, revolutions and uprisings.

These are not positive as long as they are driven by negative motivations. What would be positive in the so called “Arab spring” if behind it there are the nefarious purposes of Islamic fundamentalism? As long as they are motivated by their hatred and total disrespect for human dignity and integrity, they remain puppets of the delusional nature of ego's negative fantasies. Love does not coexists with such a thing!

The purpose and destiny of Love as our true identity is to protect us from the potential harm of the negative aspects of consciousness. As long as Love guides and directs all dimensions of consciousness, nothing can harm us because Love is our strength and armor.

You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

We experienced these words in our wars in 1967 and 1973, when the small army of Israel defeated the combined armies of several Arab nations.

We prevailed and will prevail because we honor the destiny that the Creator wants for Israel, and the first eleven verses of this Torah portion clearly illustrates our destiny, because it is the cause and effect of our Covenant with God.

I will turn towards you, and I will make you fruitful and increase you, and I will set up My Covenant with you.

God reminds us again that His Love, from which our Love is nurtured, sustains us in the goodness we harvest when we walk in His ways.

These previous verses are the premise for God's permanent Presence in our lives.

And I will place My dwelling in your midst, and My Spirit will not reject you (...)”

As we have said many times, His dwelling is the Sanctuary (the Temple of Jerusalem) which is also built by Him in the highest levels of our consciousness, and from it we realize the full and complete awareness of our connection with Him. In this awareness we indeed know that He dwells in us.

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.”

We must understand that this connection is the purpose and destiny that He wants for us as His people, and the ultimate reason of our freedom from the materialistic aspects of human consciousness.

“I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt from being slaves to them; and I broke the pegs of your yoke and led you upright.”

Only the greatest Love of all, God's Love, liberates us from what does not allow us to live and enjoy Love's ways and attributes as the means to remove the burdens of ego's fantasies and illusions, and walk upright in the endless freedom and happiness that God's Love gives us as our true Essence, identity and destiny.

The rest of the portion are the negative outcomes that we suffer after choosing ego's fantasies and illusions instead of Love's ways and attributes. As we separate from our true Essence, we enter the realm of the negative aspects of consciousness.

The Torah reminds us constantly about the blessings and the curses for us to choose, and the choice is ours. Let's choose the blessings.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Parshat Behar: Serving the Love of God

The Torah defines the Jewish identity as the people who are destined to serve the Creator. The entire Torah is about our individual and collective service to Him, and the messages in Behar make a special emphasis in the practical aspects of this service, because we honor God by serving Him the way He wants.

We have said many times and will continue reiterating that the service of God is the service of Love. We serve Him by being and doing His ways and attributes which emanate from His Love, the source of our true Essence and identity.

By, through, and with Love we fulfill God's will for us, and we do it in the ways and means of His ways and attributes. This is how we care and protect each other, and the way to love each other.

“And you shall not wrong, one man his fellow Jew, and you shall revere your God, for I am the Lord, your God.” (Leviticus 25:17)

God loves us in the same way.

We learn to love each other as the way to build, elevate and enhance all aspects and dimensions of consciousness in order to expand the goodness of Love in what we are, have and do. Again we repeat that Love is its cause and effect, for the only purpose of Love is Love. Hence Love does not cohabit with anything different form its ways and attributes. We are not supposed to do wrong to each other because the Creator doesn't do wrong to us.

In this context we are responsible to each other, accountable to each other, and liable for each other. We are entitled to protect each other and dignify each other. This is our obligation and the reason to fight anything that attempts against our individual and collective dignity and integrity. For the sake of Love, and in the name of Love as our Essence and identity, we must honor its ways, means and attributes and repel and defeat their opposites.

We have to stop totalitarian, despotic, denigrating, exploiting and oppressing beliefs and ideologies from our midst, because this is our responsibility, duty and obligation, not God's. We can't blame Him for what we create and inflict in our material reality. If we have cruelty, wickedness, negativity, et al, is because we adopted them, not God. This is the price to pay after creating the wrong thoughts, emotions, feelings and passions, and putting them into action.

We already know that evil and negativity are only references for us to exercise free will, and they are not choices. Hence we are obligated to avoid them in all levels of consciousness and choose Love's ways and attributes as the right choices. We are obligated to eradicate evil from human consciousness, and that includes fascism, racism, totalitarianism and fundamentalism in all their forms and ways.

Eradicating negativity as a choice is the beginning to truly love ourselves, and by extension to love others. Let's be loving enough and mindful enough to realize that ego's fantasies and materialistic desires trigger our separation from Love as our true Essence, and also from our individual and collective well being.

We live secured and protected in Love's ways and attributes, because they comprise the Land, with is also the higher consciousness that God's Love gives us to reveal His Presence in the world.

“You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them, then you will live on the Land securely.” (25:18)

 As long as we do it...

“(...) the Land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and live upon it securely.” (25:19)

Trading or replacing our higher consciousness with something different is inconceivable because this awareness emanates from the Creator, and is sustained by Him.

“The Land shall not be sold permanently, for the Land belongs to Me, for you are strangers and residents with Me.” (25:23)

Indeed we are passers-by in the material world. Nothing belongs to us, including Love as the Essence and identity that God gives us to know Him and to reveal Him in who we are.

“Therefore, throughout the Land of your possession, you shall give redemption for the Land.” (25:24)

Through Love's qualities and traits as the Land that God gives us, we redeem ourselves from the fantasies and illusions of the material world, that which ego wants to make real (only in ego's dreams!), and we also must redeem the goodness of Love from the burdens of the material world.

The following verses indicate the dynamics and practicality of Love in our consciousness as the means to make Love prevail in our midst.

“If your brother becomes destitute and his hand falters beside you, you shall support him [whether] a convert or a resident, so that he can live with you. (…) and you shall revere Your God, and let your brother live with you.” (25:35-36)

We honor and revere our God when we share our individual lot of Love with those whose awareness of Love is diminished, in order to help them increase their lot.

The Love that God gives us as our higher consciousness is destined to be manifest in all aspects, levels and dimensions of our lives. As we said, this is the way He wants us to serve Him and this is why He chose us from among the nations.

“I am the Lord your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be a God to you.” (25:38)

In other words, He redeemed us from the house of slavery in order for us to dwell in His ways and attributes; and, as long as we do that, He is our God.

The Creator is God to us because He delivered us from the land of Egypt to give us the Land of Israel. Only in this context we can understand that we are His servants,

“For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants, whom I took out of the land of Egypt. [For] I am the Lord, your God.” (25:55)

In this awareness there is no room for ego's fantasies and illusions as negative addictions and attachments in our consciousness.

“You shall not make idols for yourselves, nor shall you set up a statue or a monument for yourselves. And in your Land you shall not place a pavement stone on which to prostrate yourselves, for I am the Lord, your God.” (26:1)

As we have repeated, Love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes. The principle of this awareness is reaffirmed in the last verse of Behar, in which the unity with the Creator in His Shabbat and His Temple is the premise to fully experience the meaning of living in His ways and attributes, as the source of our true Essence and identity.

“You shall keep My Shabbats and revere My Sanctuary. [For] I am the Lord.” (26:2)

The service of God is our identity and destiny, and in this awareness we settle in our country because such is our Land.

“And You gave them this Land which You swore to their fathers to give them, a Land flowing with milk and honey.” (Jeremiah 32:22)

This Land is the sweetness of God's Love. (Other aspects of this portion of the Torah are addressed in this blog's Parshat Behar: “Shabbat” of May 1, 2010 and “The Place of Divine Love” of May 8, 2011).

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.