Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vayeira: Our Identity as the Perfect Offering to God

We have said that our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob epitomize the relationship between the Creator and Israel. We learn this relationship as we reflect on each episode and situation narrated in the Torah. We also said that in the awareness of God's ways and attributes we know Him. The zenith, the highest point of this knowledge is represented by the akedah, the offering of Isaac to God.

We learn in the Torah that our three patriarchs represent primordial qualities of consciousness, as well as specific aspects of our relationship with the Creator. Abraham means our covenant with Him, Isaac our permanent connection with Him, and Jacob (Israel) our expression of them in the material world, in order to fulfill the covenant in the awareness of our connection with God (see in this blog our commentaries on Parshat Vayeira: “Life as an Offering to the Creator” of October 17, 2010 and “Living in the Unity of God's Love” of November 6, 2011).

In this context, Isaac is the most important because he represents our eternal bond with the Creator. We as Israel conceive this bond in the total awareness that God is one and unique, that all that exists comes from Him, is sustained by Him, and belongs to Him. These principles are the foundation and the reason that led Abraham to bring up Isaac as an offering to the Owner of all. Both Abraham and Isaac shared this utmost awareness.

“(...) and the two of them went together.” (Genesis 22:6)

This awareness is the key to liberate our consciousness from its captivity under ego's rule. When we fully realize that God is the only reality that is, all fantasies and illusions we make out of the material world disappear.

Our sages call Isaac “the perfect offering” because it is unblemished, transparent, clear, wholehearted, complete, upright, total. These are the traits and qualities inherent to God's ways and attributes, which are the offering we elevate to the One who bestows them on us in order to live by, with and for them.

As we said earlier, we become these offerings when we fully realize that life and all its levels and dimensions don't belong to us but to our Creator. We come to this awareness when we truly can tell between the blessing of God's love as love in the material world, and the curse as ego's negative desires and illusions.

Once we enthrone love as the ruler and conductor of all aspects of life, ego's rule and dominion disappear. In other words, as soon as we realize that every aspect and dimension of what we call existence belong to the Creator, we realize that they also belong to His ways and attributes.

“(...) and you did not withhold your son, your only one, from Me.” (22:12)

Likewise, as we follow His ways, attributes and commandments, we rejoice in the delights of the awareness that we belong to Him. The name Isaac (which means I shall laugh/rejoice) encompasses the experience of this awareness, as his mother Sarah says.

“God has made joy for me; whoever hears will rejoice over me [on my behalf].” (21:6)

This is the primordial teaching in the meanings of the akedah, the offering of Isaac in which we rejoice when we bond with God's love through our love.

Love makes us good, wholehearted, complete, unblemished, total, upright, righteous, just, and everything that turns darkness into light, negative into positive, wrong into right, lack into abundance, depression into fulfillment, hate into solidarity, indifference into care, indolence into protection, cruelty into generosity, envy into sharing, avarice into plenitude, egotism into kindness.

Love is the catalyst, the fire that transmutes curses into blessings. Love is the perfect offering that unites us with the source of its goodness. Hence, we love in order to be with God's love. We love because God loves us in order to share with us His ways and attributes. Our fathers Abraham and Isaac realized this transcendental truth attained in their unconditional devotion to the Creator.

This is an essential part of their legacy for us, through which we assimilate that we are God's chosen because of this legacy. We too recognize that we belong to Him, and our reward is to rejoice in His love as our essence and true identity.

“And through your children shall be blessed all the nations of the world, because you hearkened to My voice.” (22:18)

This is who we are and what we have, the lot of our happiness. Love is our portion of the Torah we ask God every day to give us, because is our sustenance and means to know His love in His ways, attributes and commandments.

We recall this in our Jewish daily prayers.

“(...) give us our lot in Your Torah, and our hearts will eagerly follow Your commandments”, for our sages say that he who studies the Torah everyday “the ways of the world are his [the ways of the Torah]”.

The same goes for love because the ways of the world are love's. They also say that those who study the Torah [God's instruction and ways] increase peace in the world. Likewise, love increases peace in the word as we allow it to rule over all dimensions of life.

This is what others see in us when we become God's ways and attributes.

“Abimelech and Phicol his general said to Abraham, saying, 'God is with you in all that you do'.” (21:22)

This is thus, for when we walk in His ways we reveal His presence in the material world. This is the reason God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the bearers of His love for humankind and all His creation. This awareness has a time and space that occupy all dimensions of life and consciousness.

This time and space mean always and everywhere because this awareness transcends material reality. This is one of the reasons the covenant (through circumcision) is commanded by God to take place on the eighth day after we are born. In Judaism the eighth day symbolizes existence beyond time and space, free from all limitations we can conceive.

Let's be always aware that we elevate love as our true essence and identity to God's love. Both loves become one in a place and time in consciousness that are also eternal.

“And Abraham named that place, The Lord shall see, as it is said to this day: On the mountain, the Lord will be seen [will appear].” (22:14)

In this eternal place and time in consciousness God appears to us and we see Him. This takes place in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the temple mount of the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. The time is always now, and the place is always the temple of Jerusalem where we fulfill the total awareness of our permanent connection with the Creator. This is our total and complete freedom from material fantasies and illusions, and our true redemption.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lech Lecha: The Hebrew identity

Our patriarch Abraham is the epitome of the relation-ship between Israel and the Creator. He is the chosen one for the covenant of both parts, the seal of this pact. We must bear this in our minds, hearts and souls.

Abraham represents the higher consciousness that recognizes the oneness and uniqueness of God, the individual who rejects all kinds of idolatry as ego's fantasies and illusions. This higher consciousness knows that the one and only true reality is God, His ways, His will, and His attributes.

God chooses Abraham as Israel to seal the eternal covenant with which Israel proclaims and manifests God's presence in His creation. This is Abraham's inheritance and Israel's legacy to the world. This covenant delineates Israel's destiny in the material world, and determines our greatness as the Jewish people.

“And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2)

This is Israel's identity through which we realize that God is the greatest blessing, because all the blessings come from Him. In this awareness Israel is blessed, and becomes God's blessing to be manifest in the world.

We as Israel are the recipients and bearers of the blessing to reveal God's presence, to celebrate and rejoice in the realization that His love is our essence, and also our redemption from the illusions, mirages and fantasies that separate us from Him.

Love, as the material manifestation of God's love, is indeed our redeeming spirit because love is the primordial sustenance of our life. Our love is the blessing of God's love. Thus we realize that love does not cohabit with anything different from its ways, means, and attributes.

This means that the blessings don't share time or space with curses, because the goodness of love doesn't coexist with the badness of wickedness. This is how we understand God's words in this context.

“And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” (12:3)

Goodness as well as all the traits, qualities, aspects and dimensions of love's ways and attributes are the blessing in which everyone is blessed. What a privilege and honor to be the bearers of the blessing to reveal God's presence in the material world! We have heard that “privileges and honors imply obligations and responsibilities”.

We don't necessarily have to understand it as some-thing forced onto us to be and to have, but to assimilate it as an essential part of our identity. In this way, we flow with the blessing in what we discern, think, believe, feel, speak and act. This is the fundamental legacy of Abraham to us (see in this blog our commentary on Parshat Lech Lecha: “Walking before the Creator” of October 9, 2010).

Jewish oral tradition tells us that at an early age, Abraham became aware of the futility inherent in ego's materialistic desires out of a feeling or belief of lack in any of our consciousness' dimensions. He learned that such illusory approach to life is the creator of idols we follow and obey, falling down under their domain and servitude, making us ignore and even deny our essence and true identity.

In this sense, the prerequisite to know and embrace God is the rejection of ego's fantasies and illusions. This is how we understand what the Torah refers to as idolatry. Abraham's total rejection of idolatry led him to realize and recognize the Creator not only as the one and only God, but also the one and only reality by which we must live as the blessing He is for us and His creation.

We achieve this awareness by knowing His ways and attributes also as ours in what we are and do (see our commentary in this blog, Lech lecha: “The Blessings of our True Identity” of October 30, 2011).

This awareness is the inner land that He gives us to live eternally.

“For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your seed to eternity.” (13:15)

As we live this blessing we assimilate its endlessness, because His giver is endless and we don't have to fear the awe our consciousness experiences because the blessing is also our shield.

This shield not only guards us from ego's illusions, but it is also part of our identity because this shield identifies what we must become in this world.

“(...) the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, 'Fear not, Abram; I am a Shield for you; [therefore] your reward is exceedingly great'.” (15:1)

Here we understand this identity as a bond with God, because His ways and attributes are our guide and destiny to live and experience in this world. As we said before, these ways do not cohabit with any different to them, because they are paths of goodness, righteousness, fairness and justice. In this direction we find our abundance, prosperity, and happiness in excess.

“(…) and He said to him, 'I am the almighty God; walk before Me and be wholehearted [righteous]. And I will place My covenant between Me and between you, and I will multiply you very greatly'.” (17:1-2)

This first dialogue between God and Abraham also re-minds us to eliminate all that is useless in our consciousness, that which we do not need in our destiny to know the Creator and reveal His presence and glory in the world... that which obstructs our path to redeem ourselves from all evil through love's ways and attributes as our essence and true identity.

That is what the foreskin represents in our body and in our consciousness.

“And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be as the sign of a covenant between Me and between you.” (17:11)

With this we seal our pact to pursue, live and rejoice in God's ways.

“But you, Israel My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, whom I love, whom I grasped from the ends of the earth, and from its nobles I called you, and I said to you, 'You are My servant'; I chose you and I did not despise you.” (Isaiah 41:8-9)

In this awareness all fantasies, mirages and illusions of the material world dissipate because God's love strengthens our love to clear them all.

“Behold I have made you a new grooved threshing-sledge, with sharp points; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them fine, and you shall make hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, and a wind shall carry them off, and a tempest shall scatter them, and you shall rejoice with the Lord, with the holy one of Israel shall you praise yourself.” (41:15-16)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Noach: Transforming and Building with the Creator

Every character of the Torah represent an aspect of our consciousness. Either he o she be prominent or simple, each one reflects a trait or quality that shapes our life in every dimension of our individual and collective identity. We study the Torah in order to learn who we are as humans and as Jews through the characters, their stories and circumstances they lived since the Creation up until our times.

We say this because the consciousness that the Creator gave us encompasses a multifaceted array of dimensions that range from intellect to instinct, including discernment, emotions and feelings that manifest through thoughts, speech and actions. This is the way we come to discover and understand the elements or parts that comprise our consciousness, which lead us to be and do what we are and do.

There is an Adam and an Eve within each one of us, as well as a Garden of Eden, a Tree of Life, a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, a serpent that instigates a sense or feeling of lack that makes us desire to become gods of our individual approach to the material world, an Abel and a Cain, and situations that reflect particular aspects of our life. As we learn the book that defines our identity as humans and as Jews, we must discern about which characters or situations are more influential or less dominant in our own consciousness and individual reality.

God wants us to discover our true Essence and identity in the Torah He gave us, by learning what it teaches us. The Torah was given to us as the instruction through which we to conduct ourselves in the material world, and we do it by the lessons we learn from the characters and situations presented in the Torah's narration. We learn from them, their attributes and ways, to realize our individual traits that shape who we are and what we do.

In this process we not only learn about ourselves through others mentioned in the Torah, but also the ways and means through which God relates to His Creation and to us. In the case of Noach, we can learn from him the potential to build, the potential to transform, and the potential to destroy. These three potentials are also represented by his sons.

Noach had the potential to transform his decadent generations, ultimately destroyed in the Flood, but he chose not to do it. He had the potential to build on God's will to start a new world with a renewed humankind, and he became a working partner of the Creator by walking in His ways: “Noach was in his generations a man righteous and wholehearted, Noach walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9) and in this awareness we find grace in the Creator: “Noach found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (6:8).

Indeed we are blessed as we live in God's ways, and our life become graceful when we realize that He is the blessing. Noach had also the potential to destroy, and fell in the disgrace of negative fantasies and illusions out of ego's materialistic desires. We can easily enter the realm of materialistic fantasies when we drink too much of ego's desires and get trapped in their illusions. These are the idols we become after we abandon Love's ways, means, and attributes. This happens when we let ego's illusions lead all levels of consciousness, instead of letting Love's ways guide and conduct all aspects of our lives (see in this blog our commentary on Parshat Noach: “Idolatry as corruption, Love as life” of October 2, 2010).

Let's be aware that there is an Adam, an Eve, a Cain, an Abel, as well as a Noach in our discernment, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts. The point is for us to choose their positive potentials to transform and build all aspects of life under the inspiration and guidance of Love as the material manifestation of God's Love for us and His Creation.

Our Sages teach that Noach was the new father of humankind in a new world aimed to become partners with God's plans for His Creation. This is actually His will and our destiny, which begins by revealing His Presence in and around us. This is how we build a space for Him to dwell in the material world. We start by removing that which is unnecessary in all levels of consciousness, what the Torah refers to as the idols representing negative beliefs, ideas, ideologies, thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts. These are the destructive potentials we all have in our consciousness. We remove them or transform them through free will, after we experience the blessings and goodness of Love's attributes, and the curses and iniquities of ego's negative desires.

We reiterate once again that evil is only a reference in order to choose Love, and not a choice to live under the dominion of negative fantasies and illusions. Ego's false ideas and feelings of lack are the ones that make us believe that the only way to feel complete is by becoming the gods of our lives. In this ego trip we deny anything that can potentially be out of our control. “Control freaks” are the best epitomes of ego's rule in our consciousness, because they can't conceive anything they can't control. Fanaticism, Fundamentalism, Fascism, Nazism, and Totalitarian mentality are plain control freaks. These kind of approach to life wants to subtract, constrain, reduce and limit what God created as exactly the opposite in human consciousness. God created us with freedom and free will amid an extremely diverse and multidimensional approach to life and His Creation, where there are no limits except for the limitations we may want to impose in what we discern, think, feel, sense, and experience (see in this blog our commentary on Noach: “Life as Diversity” of October 23, 2011).

Let's be aware that everything we believe of feel as lack in what we are, have and do, are the limitations we impose on our consciousness, and all of them are the false gods and idols we believe and follow. These are fantasies and illusions we must remove in order to clear the endless space and time where the infinite abundance of God wants us to dwell within us. We learn from the Torah that He created us in His image and likeness, which means that we have the potentials to live in the goodness of His Love which we find, experience, rejoice and delight in Love's ways and attributes in our human consciousness.

The Torah is God's instruction for us in order to become aware of our freedom and free will to choose the potentials to transform and build with God's Love as our Essence and identity, and Love as their material manifestation destined to lead all aspects and dimensions of life.

Let's discover and embrace the goodness and positive potentials of the characters and episodes that the Torah presents for us to define, shape and manifest as our Jewish identity, and our permanent connection with the Creator.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bereshit: The Light is Good

“And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated between the light and between the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)

Light is the principle and the reference of God's creation because through light we perceive, conceive, understand and assimilate every trait, dimension and aspect of creation. In the absence of light we simply can't live in the true and real essence of all that is outside and within us.

Light as a metaphor reveals to us the nature of darkness, that which conceals light. In this sense, actually all is light we perceive either fully revealed or concealed in the darkness. Hence it is up to us to reveal light, and this choice is indeed the main one God teaches us, as we read in the Torah how He made His creation.

Light is the first lesson the Creator of all wants us to learn and embrace as the fundamental principle we must implement in all dimensions of consciousness. We say this because, as we already mentioned, it is clear that light is the principle and the reference to reveal and discover the real essence of God's creation which includes each one of us.

Light unfolds and leads to understanding, wisdom and knowledge, guiding our discernment to “clarity” about something in order to “clarify” its reason and purpose in life. Thus we understand that light is good, because it is the foundation to tell the difference between goodness and that which either conceals, denies, rejects or even fight goodness.

This is how we understand light as the opposite of darkness. Light as discernment becomes the premise and reference to tell the difference between what is clear as positive, and what is dark as negative.

“Light shall shine on your ways.” (Job 22:28)

In a practical approach, light indeed is the truth we are destined to pursue and enthrone in all aspects of consciousness, and this truth is what the Creator teaches us to pursue as the reference and the choice we destined to become.

In this sense light is the reason of God's creation, and light is the purpose of life because is the blessing of life. We are blessed when the light is in us, with us, and for us.

Let's be fully aware that light is the first and foremost principle of God's creation that precedes the rest of His creation. God created us out of His light to teach us that we are light in order to be light and live in light, and the sole purpose of darkness is for us to realize what light is.

God's love created us with free will, which re-quires something different than light in order to recognize and appreciate it. This is what we mean when we say that darkness, evil and negativity are references and not choices, because the real choice is light as goodness and positive qualities.

Hence it makes perfect sense that God calls the light good, and it also makes perfect sense for us to pursue the light as the goodness we see and experience in love's ways and attributes, because these are contained in the goodness of God's light which is also God's love in its abstract divine form.

As God shapes His creation we learn how He relates to it, and this defines for us His ways and attributes we must embrace in our consciousness. This is the meaning of being created in His image and likeness, because these are the ways He reveals Himself to us. Therefore our essence and identity are defined as the image and likeness He states twice in the Torah.

“And God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness' (…) And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

This is sweetly reaffirmed by infusing His own essence, His breath, within us.

“And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living soul.” (2:7)

God is the source of all life, and this is our greatest blessing, because He is the blessing.

“And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (...)” (1:28)

This commandment reveals that we, as His creatures endowed with life coming from Him, are also endowed to generate life. Then the purpose of life is to create life and expand life (see in this blog our commentaries on parshat Bereshit: “Let there be Light!” of September 26, 2010 and “In the Beginning” of October 26, 2011).

Through life we fill the earth as the field of the material reality we are also commanded to subdue in all its aspects and expressions. Let's be aware that the material world has particular qualities that make it different from other dimensions of God's creation.

God built the material world with rules different from non-material worlds, and under those rules we are commanded to fill the earth and subdue it.

In a deeper meaning, we are bound to the forces of nature and levels of consciousness that comprise intellect, mind, thought, emotions, feelings and instinct, that we are commanded and destined to subdue for the purpose of life under the guidance of our Creator.

“Now the Lord God took the man, and He placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and to guard it.” (2:15)

Human life has a divine purpose in which we have to work in order to fulfill such purpose.

“And God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good, and it was evening and it was morning, the sixth day.” (1:31)

Life as well as the entire creation is in-deed very good, and because of this we have to guard it, we have to protect it. Goodness is something that we have to work on and guard on. In this context, the garden of Eden represents the “very good” qualities of life in our consciousness, which we must build and protect as the goodness of light revealed to us in the material world.

We read this first portion of the Torah, and in its verses we see the goodness of God and the goodness of His works. We realize that the cause of God's creation is goodness for the purpose of goodness, as an expression of His love for the purpose of love. This is the identity God creates for us to be good in order to honor being His image and likeness.

God tells us in His Torah that we come from Him, from His light, from His love, and from His essence He breathed into us to make us live and experience the goodness of His creation. This is who we are, and what we are destined to experience and fulfill.

God's love has a purpose, and love as its material manifestation also has a purpose, which is to know God and reveal His presence concealed in the darkness we are commanded and destined to dissipate with the light we are made of.

Instead of falling down under the illusions of darkness and remain trapped in them, let's awake to the awareness of light and love as our true essence and identity.

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.