November 7, 2015
by Rabbi Mendel Kessin
Synopsis is not necesarrily in Rabbi Kessin's own words
The only job and the only contribution of the Jewish people is representing, implementing, revealing the simple truth of all – God is one.
Is that it? Yet, that is it. But do we know what it means? Do we know what’s behind?
Physical and spiritual.
We live in the physical universe. The physical universe is the lowest plane of the created reality, the ground zero of the creation. There is the whole spectrum of the spiritual worlds “above” the physical. We know about them, we can intellectually comprehend them, but in our current state we are not given an ability to actually experience a spiritual world, even when it comes to the lowest spiritual planes.
However, we shouldn’t be misled by this limitation. It is our unfortunate limitation to perceive the spiritual on intellectual level only, it’s not the limitation of the spiritual per se. We perceive it as theory, it’s not tangible and lacking substance only in our eyes. But the truth is that the spiritual is not theoretical at all, it’s as real as it can get, and its substance is superior to the substance of the physical, and it’s much more tangible too.
Though we are lacking the “tools” to perceive the spiritual directly, we aren’t lacking curiosity. What would it be like to EXPERIENCE the spiritual? What’s up there, in the spiritual worlds? What’s the essential difference between the physical and the spiritual?
A spiritual world – on any level of the spiritual spectrum – reveals the presence of God. In contrast, the physical universe hides the presence of God.
A higher spiritual world reveals more God’s presence, while a lower spiritual world reveals less God’s presence. Consider a metaphor of a filter. A filter allows more or less of a substance to come through; the rest is blocked out and inaccessible.
As simple as it sounds, it’s not that simple at all. Let’s explain and clarify the meaning and the implications of God’s presence.
God’s presence implies certain attributes. The chief attribute of His presence is His Oneness. God is one, and there is no more. This Oneness is the simplest and the most foundational concept, and at the same time it presents an astounding complexity. The better we understand God’s Oneness, the better we can understand and imagine what it’s like up there, in the spiritual worlds.
Each of the following concepts reveals Oneness in a distinct light.
Oneness – beyond the obvious.
Cause. Oneness of causes. Each cause has a cause. A cause of a cause has a cause too. It goes on and on, until we reach the ultimate cause…
The ultimate cause is God. Spiritual worlds reveal in various degrees the Oneness of causes. Physical world conceals the ultimate cause, thus creating a convincing illusion of multiple independent causes.
The Error of the first man led to the reality of “By the sweat of your brow you will eat bread” – which means creation of an illusion that a man now becomes a cause of his own existence, and must extend efforts in order to live. Being at cause is not a punishment, rather the consequences of the Error – a man now has to break through a tougher illusion than the one he originally faced.
Force. Oneness of forces. All the forces stem and are fully controlled by God. Spiritual worlds reveal in various degrees the ultimate force behind the forces. Physical world conceals the ultimate force, thus creating a convincing illusion of multiple independent forces.
The Oneness of forces was demonstrated by God during the Exodus, when God openly revealed all the forces to be fully operational and controlled by Him directly (this also revealed how precious Jewish nation is in the eyes of God).
Energy. Oneness of energies. There are many types of energies in the creation. They are all powered by God, as there is only God’s energy in the creation. Spiritual worlds reveal in various degrees the ultimate energy powering all the other energies. Physical world conceals the ultimate energy, thus creating an illusion of various independent types and sources of energies.
Power. Oneness of powers. There are many sources of power in the creation. All the powers are fully and totally controlled by God, as there is no other power besides God. Spiritual worlds reveal in various degrees the ultimate power as the only power in existence. Physical world conceals the ultimate power, thus creating an illusion of independent interconnected powers.
Goal. Oneness of goals. Various phenomena and processes in the creation have various goals. Some goals are known to us, while others are not.
In truth there is one and only Goal in the whole creation. The Goal is created by God. This ultimate goal is projected unto all the phenomena, unto all the aspects, beings, and parts of the creation, thus setting respective sub-goals for phenomena, aspects, beings, and parts.
The spiritual worlds in various degrees reveal the ultimate Goal and a sub-goals of all the phenomena, aspects, beings, and parts. The physical world conceals the ultimate goal and its sub-goals in the creation, and we are left to guesswork to figure out what the goals are. Our guesswork leaves us without realization of the ultimate Goal assigned to the creation as a whole, and only gives us a few distorted contradictory concepts which don’t even loosely resemble the true sub-goals, let alone the ultimate Goal of the creation.
The revelation of truth would be astounding: everything in existence is directed towards to ultimate Goal, with no exception, with no deviation.
Definition of a rich man as a one who is happy with his lot by a large extent refers to the Oneness of goals: each human being is given precisely all the means necessary to actualize his potential, i.e. to reach his goal which is a sub-goal of the ultimate Goal. Worth repeating: each human being is given EVERYTHING which is needed in order to succeed. What is everything? ALL the resources, ALL the opportunities, ALL the means. What is success? The perfection associated with ultimate correction of a soul, the ultimate correction of the creation, bringing the creation closer to the world to come, preparing the place in the world to come. Nobody lacks anything – in the deepest, ultimate, true sense.
Source. Oneness of sources. The spiritual worlds in various degrees reveal that everything in existence emanates from God, there is no an independent source of anything. Physical universe conceals the Source of existence and we are facing multitudes of sources, or a lack of any sources – depending on a point of view.
Control. Oneness of control. Spiritual worlds in various degrees reveal that God has full and total control over literally everything. Nothing can be controlled by any means. Physical world conceals the true control, thus creating a convincing illusion of an ability to control things. We find ways to control the various phenomena, and it seems to us that we have control in our hands, indeed. What a mistake!
Harmony. There is nothing extra in the creation, and there is nothing lacking. There are no contradictions. There is a perfect harmony among ALL the phenomena, aspects, beings, and parts, on all the levels. Spiritual worlds in various degrees reveal an astounding harmony in the creation, while the physical world conceals it by a large degree. Though science discovers more and more harmony in the physical universe, it’s still too far from the real harmony, and we still observe fierce competition between wills and forces.
Outcome. Oneness of outcomes. All the roads lead to the predetermined destination. Yes, we have absolute freedom of choice. Yes, each of us can end up at a different destination, depending on our we exercise our free will. However, God puts all the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that all the creation comes to the destination He prepared. In a similar fashion, due to free will there is no a predetermined destination for each individual Jew, but the nation of Israel as a whole will surely complete the job of taking the creation to the next world, to the prepared destination, even though there are 600,000 souls, and each one is exercising its own free will!
Events and history. We may observe some trends in history of the humankind, in the history of a nation, in the history of a human being, but overall a history on any level is full of random, independent, contradictory fragments. Nothing makes much sense.
Spiritual worlds to various degrees reveal that the history is one powerful flow of interconnected events and processes, leading from the origins to the prepared pre-designed pre-determined destination, with no event, small or big, on any scale, which deviates or misdirects the flow. It’s AWESOME view – yet, we are temporarily blocked from accessing it.
“Nachamu Nachamu Ami” is usually translated as “Comfort and be consoled, my people” – however, this translation is not precise. The correct translation should be “Comfort comfort my people”, or “Be consoled be consoled my people”. The words come from one of the greatest prophets, and the meaning is as follows.
At the end of the history we arrive to the great and happy destination. We can relax and enjoy. However, what about all the history that led to this point? All the untold suffering, pain, struggle, nonsense?! What was all THAT?!
Hence double consolation: from the destination we will not only look forward, we will also look back. And we will clearly see how each event, each detail, each pain, everything, literally everything was essential and absolutely necessary to bring out the result, to arrive to the amazing, dazzling, happy destination – even a small deviation would take the world off the path.
It’s like somebody released from the prison after 20 years being there. Yes, I am free, thank you very much, but why was I jailed for 20 years for the crime I never committed?! And I am shown the deeper truth, seeing so clearly as day why I ended up in prison, and how each second in prison contributed to the final release and happiness.
It’s almost impossible to believe now, but this revelation is true on the level of the history of the humankind as a whole, and it’s also true on the level of each Jew, each human being, each and every being! We will really see it all – very soon. It will be The Movie of the movies, but it will be much more than a movie – we will EXPERIENCE it all, beyond time…
When Yakov and Yosef met – Yosef cries, while Yakov says krias shema. Why krias shema?
It was the moment of truth for Yakov. He suddenly see that retroactively the whole life combines into one magnificent picture – everything, all the suffering, losses, failures – ALL suddenly makes so much sense…
A game of an individual fragment differs, but all the fragments are combined in a magnificent picture, and the whole picture is astounding, and it was designed by God a while ago, in fact it was designed beyond time, and the whole picture will be presented to us by the end of the history, when the physical world will be transformed, and we will be shocked by what we observe and experience then, and it will be presented to us on many levels – on a level of the whole world, on the level of a nation, on the level of every human being…
Being. We observe multitudes of beings. In fact, even spiritual universes contain multitudes of beings. However, the spiritual universes in various degrees reveal the ultimate truth: there is nothing and nobody besides God; God is the only being; nothing and nobody else exists.
Physical universe conceals this fact, and beings are perceived as independent. Independence is an attribute of the physical universe.
Spiritual worlds reveal in various degrees the existential Oneness in such a way that it’s clear as day that each being exists in relative terms, in its own frame of reference, yet it doesn’t exist in a true sense of existence per se.
However, only the highest spiritual world reveals the existential Oneness fully, and thus in that world nothing exists at all – only dazzling light of God’s presence. Nobody can “touch” this world – by definition, as you would immediately cease to exist.
All the worlds below the highest world present the duality of being. Existence and non-existence are miraculously merged together; a relative being and an absolute being co-exist. Each created entity manifests two aspects of being – non-existence and existence. Non-existence refers to a non-existent self and thus hints on the only existent being – God; thus any other “independent” being doesn’t really exist, impressing on an entity an aspect of non-existence.
Physical world shuts this perception off, blocking the perception of true absolute being effectively, and we observe many things, we mistakenly perceive beings to exist independently, on their own.
The giving Torah on Sinai effectively demonstrated to us the Oneness of being – we all actually experienced it on the level of greatest prophets!
Self. Spiritual worlds in various degrees reveal that each “I” has two aspects to it: “I”, and “non-I”. I sense my own self in certain degree, and at the same time I sense that I don’t exist, that it’s God Who brings my non-existent self into relative being, by creating a frame of reference for my self to be. Thus I do exist and I don’t exist at the same time.
I exist in the Oneness of God; I exist in a certain sense, but the highest truth is that I don’t exist, that only God exists, and my “I” is not real on the ultimate scale. But it’s only at the highest spiritual plane my “I” would cease to exist altogether – while on the lower levels it does and does not exist at the same time.
“I” am in the context of God, in the context of His Oneness. The physical world conceals the ultimate context of God’s Oneness. Here I exist independently and can only comprehend the context of God’s Oneness intellectually, in theory. It’s hidden from my experiential insight, from my direct perception.
I am temporarily cutoff from the higher levels of my soul which do have access to the truth inaccessible to me in my current state of being. So “self” is present in the spiritual worlds too, but is experienced VERY differently. We can understand and we can explain this “difference”, but we can’t imagine and can’t experience it – it’s that different.
EXPERIENCING self and EXPERIENCING God at the same time, or – in other words – experiencing self in the strong context of God and His Oneness – is exactly what awaits us at the end of our journey (or rather in the begging of our Journey).
In this world there are phenomena which reinforce the independent self tremendously – pleasure, achievement / productivity, possessions, wealth / money.
God is one. God is One. God is The One. God is The Only One. There is nothing and nobody besides God. This is the simplest and most foundational truth. But we are in physical universe, and in the physical universe the simplest and the easiest truth miraculously becomes the most revolutionary and the most complex and the most unbelievable concept of all…