Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The System

When looked at objectively Judaism, like many other religions and belief systems, is the most complete living meditation. It's true form is found in the hidden commitments, practices, rituals and prayers of Jewish people. Many of these are taken for granted, they are not properly understood, principally because we are presently unable to practice any of these ancient techniques in their entirety as they originated and were practiced. However, the world is changing and our lives with it and through discovery, awareness, sensitivity and knowledge we are slowly fitting the pieces back together to comprehend the reasons for many of the early mystical writings of the great prophets and sages that were laid down on stone, papyrus and wood discussing elevation in the spiritual world.

Judaism’s embedded system of meditation is an all encompassing life-long continuous upward spiral (a ladder) to reach higher levels of elevation in which prayers are made with more dedication, clarity and focus. This causes ones thoughts to rise in the higher worlds (even at an intellectual level) through which actions in the lower world (emotional level) can yield the desired objectives. Here efficiency depends on purity of mind and body. This practice is contained in the recipes for living ones life including the writings and teachings of Torah as expounded through Kabbalah, Gemara, Mishnah, Midrash, Kashrut and other significant works that document, in enormous detail, the way to achieve purity of purpose and spiritual enlightenment of the highest order.

The essence of Jewish mediation and prayer is contained in the simple explicit Name of G-d –י׳ה׳ו׳ה (YHVH). As alluded to earlier (, this Name is of the highest order and contains everything within it, beyond this is The Deity Himself which we are unable to fathom in any way regardless of how one tries. We already learned that the letters י(Yud), ה(Heh) and ו(Vav) are the only possible suffixes for the first and last letters of Torah – creating words meaning 'to me', 'to her', 'to him', 'in me', 'in her', 'in him'. It is written in Sefer Yetzirah that with these six letters G-d created all things – י׳ה׳ו׳ה יה (Yah Y’H’V’H)[1].

Conceptually the brain is part of the physical world and the mind is of the spiritual world. It is said that an angel[2] (as the archetype of the spiritual) can only carry one mission and can never share the same mission, likewise a thought emerges as a singularity and the mind can never deal with more than one thought at any instant. In order for man to reach the highest levels of effectiveness, integration of the physical and spiritual is required. This explains the reasons for the many continued physical rituals and practices that exist in Judaism and many other religions, they all form part of a greater system of meditation in which the physical and the spiritual converge to yield an elevated state of holiness. These practices all stem from the 620 positive and negative commandments included in Torah (Keter (Crown)) = 620.

Throughout the prayer books of the orthodox Jews are the concepts alluding to the importance of the Name of G-d. Some of these examples include; "…then was His Name proclaimed King; …blessed is His Name; …praised and glorified His great Name forever;…may the Name of the L-rd be blessed; …the L-rd is His Name; hallow and ascribe sovereignty to: …The Name of the Almighty G-d; …He endures and His Name endures; …and have in love brought us near, O our King, to Your great Name, that we may praise You, and proclaim Your Oneness and love Your Name; …on that day, The L-rd shall be One and His Name One". Each of these references serves as a reminder that the depth of His Name represents everything including all that we are (physically) and all that we experience (spiritually) and our steps toward holiness are made by first attaining an understanding of His Name.

All of the Sefirot (soul attributes) are reflected in His Explicit Name. In the Apex of the Yud is Keter (Crown), The Yud (י - Yud) is Chokmah (Wisdom), the first Heh (ה - Heh) is Binah (Understanding), the Vav (ו - Vav) represents the Six of Zer Anpin (emotional attributes - Chesed (Compassion), Gevurah (Strength), Tifferet (Beauty), Netzach (Victory), Hod (Humility) and Yesod (Foundation) – hence the value of Vav being = 6) with the last Heh being Malkhut (Kingship) - the seventh. In the physical world, specific interactions between the various attributes of the Sefirot can be realized by combining and considering the expansions of the names of G-d to unify the letters (or the energies represented by those letters) using the mystical secrets of Kabbalah and the meditative practices prescribed by it.

Every aspect of Jewish ritual that is deeply integrated into the fabric of a Jewish devotee enables a person to achieve a higher state of holiness. The constant reminder of G-d’s presence, through rituals, practices, prayer and meditation enable one to reach a place in the spiritual world, from their place in the physical world that is closer to G-d (perfection) where the light of His countenance can be experienced with increasing degrees of intensity. The worlds improving holistic knowledge of ancient Jewish practices increasingly clarifies their worthiness as an important people. Now the intricately woven pieces of all these practices can be bound together with our renewed knowledge of the words of Torah and their meanings, discovered from all the books that expound Torah, resulting in a vision of Judaism being a complete life commitment to a better world, through holiness, achieved using meditation and actualization.

For students of mediation there is no system more advanced and there will never be one that is as advanced and complete as the holistic system and practice of being Jewish.

[1] Sefer Yetzirah – Ariyeh Kaplan Pg 16, Pg 81
[2] Sefer Yetzirah – Ariyeh Kaplan Pg 60

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