Sunday, March 30, 2014
We have said that God decreed His Final Redemption since our Exodus from Egypt, hence our Prophets refer to it in past tense. We also mentioned that from this fact we easily deduce that depends on us, either to continue living in ego's fantasies and illusions or to find our total freedom in Love's ways and attributes. We have called Jerusalem the highest awareness of our permanent connection with the Creator.
The Prophet refers to Jerusalem as Ariel, the place where the ark of the Covenant rests in the inner chamber of the Temple. Also as the place where the Messianic Consciousness dwells, represented here by king David. God tells us that our higher awareness of Him has been at the service of material fantasies and illusions as the sins we accumulate. These are what make us lose account of the appointed holidays when we come to see our Creator, year after year in Jerusalem.
“Woe to Ariel, Ariel, city of the encampment of David! You accumulate [sins] year after year, until your holidays end. And I have sent distress to Ariel, and it has been lamentation and mourning, and it has been to Me as Ariel.” (Isaiah 29:1-2)
Time and again God reiterates His claim against us through our Prophets, reminding us that our separation from His ways and attributes is our distress, lamentation and mourning. God loves our bond and connection with Him, hence He calls it twice by its name, Ariel; and reminds us that it has been such as. Again we must realize what we have pointed out frequently in our blog: God doesn't punish us for us our transgressions, we do; for our choices have consequences. We reap what we sow.
“I have encamped against you like a ring, and I have siege against you a camp, and I have raised up bulwarks against you. You have been low, your voice has come from the ground; like a ghost from the ground has been your voice, and from the dust your speech whispers.” (29:3-4)
Our negative choices end up forcing us to return to our Essence and true identity, which are the positive qualities in the goodness of who we are. The lowest we fall, the deadliest we become as ghosts that don't make a difference wherever they may be.
“As small dust has been the multitude of those scattering you, and as chaff the multitude of powerful ones; it has happened at an instant, suddenly.” (29:5)
God calls the nations small dust, for they are not destined to prevail. The same goes for what they represent in our consciousness: negative trends as well as ego's fantasies and illusions. These are the traits that separate us from the goodness of Love's ways and attributes, causing our exile from the latter. These are the chaff that represents the power we give to negative trends, fantasies and illusions.
“By God, the Lord of hosts, you are visited, with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, hurricane and whirlwind, and flame of devouring fire. Like a dream, a vision of the night has been the multitude of all the nations who are warring against Ariel, all those who besiege her and beleaguer her and cause her distress.” (29:6-7)
God reaffirms His promise to rebuild our consciousness by removing what we won't need in the next stage we know as the Final Redemption. All we know as negative and destructive in life will be as in a dream, as if it has never existed. Jerusalem as our permanent connection with God will never have enemies.
“It will be as when the hungry man dreams and, behold, he is eating but he wakes up and his soul is empty; and as when the thirsty man dreams and, behold, he is drinking but he wakes up and, behold, he is weary and his soul craves drink. So is the multitude of all the nations who are warring against mount Zion.” (29:8)
Some of our contemporary Sages call Israel's opponents “virtual enemies”, based on these verses of Isaiah. Dust, chaff and dreams are those who appear as enemies or opponents of the goodness God makes prevail in the material world. The legacy of the Torah is God's Plan for His Creation -- echoed by our Prophets -- which is to make goodness prevail. The reason is quite simple. We come from the goodness of God's Love, therefore we are destined to be and manifest that from which we were created. That is our Essence and true identity.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
“Woe to the crown of haughtiness of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are smitten down with wine!” (Isaiah 28:1)
The Prophet time and again denounces ego's fantasies and illusions as the cause of our separation from God's ways and attributes. He referred previously to Ephraim as our Jewish rebelliousness and stubbornness to follow vain and futile pursuits that draw us down to addictions, obsessions, attachments and destructive patterns. Once again he brings us to metaphorical images of drunkards, withering flowers, and fatness as the excess we desire and pursue in material fantasies and illusions, triggered by our haughtiness. In spite of this, God reaffirms His promise to remove them all.
“Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, as a storm of hail, a tempest of destruction, as a storm of mighty waters overflowing, that cast down to the earth with strength.” (28:2)
God is our Creator and know our strengths and weaknesses at the moment of making the right choices. He gives us free will and also makes us aware of the consequences of our options, either positive or negative. Hence He expects us to learn from our decisions and their outcome. However, this learning process is not eternal or endless because it has a purpose for us, as part of God's Plan for His Creation.
The Torah and our Jewish Prophets announce a positive purpose for a positive end in humankind, regardless the predicament of negative trends in consciousness. This goodness for the sake of goodness will prevail, and the Creator made it clear through our Prophets. Isaiah presents allegories related to powerful cleansing waters to wipe out from our consciousness all that opposes Love's ways and attributes, for these are the sole references for the Final Redemption and the Messianic Era.
“The crown of haughtiness of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot. And the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as the first-ripe fig before the summer, which when one looks upon it, while it is yet in his hand he eats it up.” (28:3-4)
As we have mentioned in previous commentaries on this matter, the “end of times” and “the day of the Lord” relate to the end of our current dualist consciousness -- pending between negative and positive --, and the beginning of a unified and harmonized consciousness through which our only interest will be the knowledge of the Creator. These strong wiping waters are the fully revealed ways and attributes God wants us to manifest in every level and dimension of life. Our material fantasies and illusions will disappear as fast as ripened fruit when it time has come to fall from the tree.
“In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the remnant of His people.” (28:5)
Once the Creator reveals His Presence in us, it will be the transcending moment when we will become totally aware of our Essence and true identity as Jews. We will meet the indescribable beauty of the permanent connection with our Creator, and our destiny as His people. In the following verses (28:6-14) the Prophet continues reminding us the effects of our separation from His ways and attributes. God in His eternal Love announces the Final Redemption, in spite of our marriage to negative trends and ego's fantasies and illusions. This is our covenant with death as the field where truth does not exist.
“Because ye have said: 'We have made a covenant with death, and with the nether-world are we at agreement; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood have we hid ourselves'.” (28:15)
God exposes the iniquities and destruction we inflict on our own consciousness, derived from lies with which we live and conduct our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, emotions, passions and instincts. As we live by and for lies and falsehood, we make them our only references and purpose, turning them into addictions, attachments, habits, and obsessions. They become the house where we dwell and where we hide from the transcending truth of Love's ways and attributes, in which we find our real freedom and Redemption.
“And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place. And your covenant with death shall be annulled and your agreement with the nether-world shall not stand; when the scouring scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” (25:17-18)
God's justice and righteousness are the ethical foundations of His Love for all His Creation. These comprise the truth He wants to make prevail in the world by sweeping away the lies of negative trends in consciousness. Living in the truth of all that is good is the automatic annulment our marriage to the nothingness of ego's fantasies and illusions. Goodness comes from God: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His loving kindness endures forever.” (Psalms 118:1), hence goodness and loving kindness are His guidelines and ground rules. These are the expressions of His wisdom, from which we are made and are destined to be, have and manifest.
“This also comes forth from the Lord of hosts: Wonderful is His counsel, and great His wisdom.” (25:29)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
We have indicated frequently that our mystic Sages refer to “cities” as values, principles and beliefs by which we conduct ourselves in life. In this particular verse the Prophet may refer to a general principle, or to a particular one. In a general context, he speaks about the outcome of abandoning a strong belief or principle (as an essential part of our consciousness), and let ego's fantasies and illusions to take over and devour the goodness and the expressions of goodness inherent to such principle or belief.
“For the fortified city is solitary, a habitation abandoned and forsaken, like the wilderness; there the calf feeds, and there he lies down, and has consumed the branches thereof.” (Isaiah 27:10)
The Prophet usually refers to the “fortified city” as Jerusalem, which represents our connection and bond with God, that we have abandoned and forsaken. We have turned it into a wilderness, an empty place where ego's control and negative trends do as they please, and destroy the goodness in ourselves.
“The withering of its branch is broken of; women are coming to set it on fire. For it is not a people of understanding, therefore its Maker does not have compassion upon it, and its Former does not favor it.” (27:11)
Isaiah refers to ego's fantasies and illusions, as well as negative trends, also as withering branches. For there is no true life in them, only illusions far from Love's ways and attributes. Here the Prophet makes his first reference to the Feminine Principle in Creation as the means to transform and redirect consciousness toward goodness for the purpose of goodness. Women represent the human expression of Love's ways and attributes, and fire as the transforming power of Love. There is no understanding in ego's agenda, nor in negative trends. We are already aware that God created them in order for us to have free will, and to choose the goodness of Love's ways over ego's fantasies and illusions. Hence God does not condone or favor the latter.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord beats off [His fruit] from the branch of the river [Euphrates] unto the stream of Egypt, and ye are gathered one by one, O sons of Israel.” (27:12)
God separates us from the rivers and streams of the egocentric mentality symbolized by Pharaoh and Egypt, which also represent the negative tendencies of ego's fantasies and illusions, derived from false beliefs or feelings of lack. God will beat us off one by one from envy, lust, pride, wrath, indolence, indifference and cruelty. He will bring us back to our Essence and true identity as the sons of Israel, His fruit destined to be and manifest the goodness from which all Creation comes forth.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great horn shall be blown; and they shall come that were lost in the land of Assyria, and they that were dispersed in the land of Egypt; and they shall worship the Lord at the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” (27:13)
Let's remind ourselves that Assyria represents the foreign nations where Ephraim and nine more Tribes of Israel assimilated into. All the Jews who “disappeared” or were “lost” through assimilation among other nations, -- or “dispersed” into the negative trends in consciousness (Egypt) or false beliefs -- will be gathered one by one.
A great calling from our Creator will be heard in all corners of the world, a calling to our hearts. Those who hear it will be aroused to return to our Essence and true identity as the goodness we yearn for to live, enjoy and delight ourselves. Again, let's be aware that the gathering place is our permanent bond and connection with God, at the holy mountain that is in Jerusalem.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
God created all that exists, including what we can't perceive or grasp with our consciousness. Through its narrative, the Torah reveals to us matters that only concern to the Creator, particularly in the book of Genesis. Some of our Sages, including Maimonides, warn us about trying to understand mysteries such as the Creation, simply because these are beyond our grasp. This warning serves two purposes. One is to teach us that God is undefinable along with the how He directs His Creation. The other is to teach us humbleness, for we must assimilate the fact that our consciousness is limited by the fact that we are also limited by dimensions we perceive within the frames of time and space in the material world.
The Torah tells us God's mysteries as well as the ways and attributes with which He relates to His Creation. Hence we realize the ethics of goodness God teaches us, and also wants us to make prevail in all facets and aspects of life. Everything that God created -- what agnostics call “intelligent design” -- works according to the ethical principle derived from cause and effect. As we have indicated in previous commentaries, we are bound to learn from the consequences of our actions. Thus we understand every passage of the Torah and messages of our Prophets, including the mysterious ones such as the leviathan.
“In that day the Lord with His sword, the sharp and the great and the strong will charge on leviathan, a fleeing serpent. And on leviathan, a crooked serpent; and He has slain the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1)
We understand that the “hand”, “back”, “finger”, “breath“ or “eyes” of God, -- as well as His “sword” -- represent some of His ways and attributes. In the case of this verse, the Prophet refers to “the day of the Lord” or “the end of times” as the time when He fully reveals the Final Redemption and the Messianic Era. Isaiah mentions traits such as sharp, great and strong also as qualities that define capacity and power (“great and strong”), willingness and determination (“sharp”). We need these traits and qualities to charge them on the core or root of that which denies and rejects our total freedom from negative trends in our consciousness. That which the Prophet refers to as the leviathan.
It's quite evident that we need God's help to defeat the negative tendencies in our consciousness. The fact that He created them, and promises to remove them doesn't mean that we have to sit and wait until it happens. We must initiate this process by being willful, willing and determined to abandon ego's fantasies and illusions, and to embrace Love's ways and attributes.
Evil and wickedness have their slant and crooked ways as snakes do. Hence our mystic Sages refers to ego as a serpent or dragon, and in this particular verse the Prophet reveals that God will redirect ego as the vital driving force in human consciousness completely towards Love's ways and attributes. God slays “the dragon that is in the sea”, and the sea represents consciousness as the water where our thoughts, ideas, feelings, emotions, passions and instincts dwell together. Each in their own dimension.
“In that day you will sing of her: 'A vineyard of foaming wine!'. I the Lord do guard it, I water it every moment; lest Mine anger visit it, I guard it night and day. Fury is not in Me, would that I were as the briers and thorns in flame! I would with one step burn it altogether.” (27:2-4)
Once the negative trends are removed, we all sing about our permanent connection with God calling her a fruitful vineyard or sparkling wine. We will finally harvest the fruits of the goodness in our consciousness we call here Love's ways and attributes. We will realize Love as its cause and effect in all we think, feel, speak and do. In our conscious permanent bond with God, we will be nurtured constantly to be and do His ways and attributes in order to fulfill our final destiny as we enter this new stage called the Messianic Consciousness. We will remove the briers and thorns of negative trends with the fire of Love as our material expression of God's Love. This is our destiny as God's vineyard. The Prophet has said it earlier: “The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines He delights in.” (5:7).
“Or else let him [Jacob/Israel] take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; yea, let him make peace with Me. In days to come shall Jacob take root, Israel shall blossom and bud; and the face of the world shall be filled with fruitage.” (27:5-6)
This sweet Divine Redemption is addressed to God's people as an invitation for us to initiate the permanent awareness of our connection to Him. The strength of our Love is God's Love. In this bond we realize that peace is the culmination of our connection with God, as completion, wholeness, totality. Love is our common bond with God though which we achieve Oneness with Him. In this realization we are established, we blossom and we are fruitful. Thus we fill the world with the goodness of Love's ways and attributes, making them the cause and effect of God's Plan for His Creation.
“Has He smitten him as He smote those that smote him? Or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that were slain by Him? In full measure, when You sent her away, You contend with her; He has removed her [leviathan] with His rough blast in the day of the east wind.” (27:7-8)
God reminds us that He has never treated Israel as the nations have treated us. Nor God has treated us as He has treated the nations. This is to tell us that He removes the serpent for Israel to finally fulfill our destiny to reveal God's Presence in the world as the goodness of Love's ways and attributes as the material manifestation of God's Love.
“Therefore by this shall the iniquity of Jacob be expiated, and this is all the fruit of taking away his sin: when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalk stones that are beaten in pieces, so that the shrines and images shall rise no more.” (27:9)
God will remove the cause of all our iniquities. By doing this, God indeed is the One who atones for our transgressions. Thus we individually realize the cause of our sins as the idols we created as reflections of ego's fantasies and illusions. These are the shrines and images that will be no more. Thus we realize that Love will always prevail.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
We must conceive life in the material world as a learning experience from the reality we create based on what we understand, believe, feel and do. We indeed live according to the ways we perceive our surroundings. God created the world, and its laws we call Nature. These laws function by the immutable principle of cause and effect, and we are compelled to live according to it. We have said frequently that free will works within the frame of cause and effect, and discernment also functions in the same context. Thus we understand that we learn from experience in order to set up the conditions out of what we have learned.
In this context we realize that all we have in the world, besides Nature and its laws, has been and is the result of our own creation. It means that we are responsible for what we create, not God. This is the reason He gave us free will, so we are held accountable for what we discern, think, feel, speak and do. In this sense we have to pay attention to the laws of Nature as the expressions of the principle of cause and effect. This is the fundamental context of life in the material world, hence it implies a learning process with the specific goal of pursuing a result, either be positive or negative.
The Torah and our Sages teach us that we as Jews are also bound by cause and effect. However, the laws of Nature act for us according to our connection to God. In other words, as long as we keep our relationship with Him according to His ways and attributes, Nature works for us separate from the principle of cause and effect. Thus we understand the Plagues in Egypt, the split of the Red Sea, dwelling in the desert for 40 years, the manna, etc. As long as we assimilate this as Jews, we have a particular purpose in life along with the Creator. Hence we are truly alive when we reveal His Presence in the material world. Thus life will also reveal its real purpose beyond Nature and its laws.
“The dead live not, the shades rise not; to that end have You punished and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. You have added to the nation, O Lord; You have added to the nation, and You have been glorified. You rejected all the ends of the earth. Lord, in their trouble they turned to You, silently they poured out a prayer when You reproached them.” (Isaiah 26:14-16)
The Prophet is referring to the nations as people who live detached from the Creator. This detachment leads to live without the purpose He wants for His Creation, which is goodness for the sake of goodness. Living without goodness means we are dead. The dead don't live and the darkness doesn't rise. Thus we understand that the choices we make away from the goodness of Love's ways and attributes lead us to the futility and vanity of ego's fantasies and illusions. In these we are dead compared to living in goodness for the purpose of goodness. God doesn't punish us for the negative choices we make. We punish ourselves by them. God in His Torah and through His Prophets reminds us that He is the Source of the goodness we are made of, and living away from goodness is our own punishment.
By choosing the nation for His Covenant, God added blessings to Israel. In return, Israel has glorified Him. God also rejected the ends of the earth as the places (nations) that represent traits and qualities opposite to His ways and attributes. As we dwell in the nations (or as part of them), we live by and for their predicament. This is the exile from our Promised Land, and from the nations we call out to God for our return to Him. Our return to our Land is our return to Him. This is the way we glorify Him, by recognizing that God is the goodness from where we come and to where we return. Thus we understand that in trouble among the nations we cry out to God, and in silent inner prayer we ask Him to take us back to His ways and attributes. Prayer to recognition, prayer to honor, prayer to Redemption.
“Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; so have we been at Your Presence, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind. We have not wrought any deliverance in the land, and [the wicked] who dwell on the world did not fall.” (26:17-18)
The prayer continues to reflect the pains we experience as we realize the consequences of our estrangement from God. We have said that our Final Redemption comes as we leave behind the negative trends in consciousness. While we live in their cause and effect we don't find our way out, our deliverance in the land, our freedom in all facets and dimensions of life.
“Your dead shall live, My dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust, for your dew is as the dew of Light, and the earth shall bring to life the shades. Come, My people, enter into your inner chambers, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself for a little moment, until the indignation pass over.” (26:19-20)
God reaffirms His Final Redemption for Israel, calling His “dead bodies” those who are dead by their estrangement from His ways. He will revive them from their graves with a new dew of Light. God will bring Light to darkness, and turn its shades into life. He calls us to enter the inner chambers of our consciousness where He dwells within us, and leave out all that doesn't belong to His ways and attributes. As we shelter our awareness in the permanent bond with Him, all that doesn't belong will pass over. Negative trends and ego's fantasies and illusions are the indignation that will pass after God removes them completely.
“For, behold, the Lord comes forth out of His place to visit upon the inhabitants of the earth their iniquity. The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (26:21)
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.