Following Shabbat, we celebrate Shavuot - Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah. We have climbed the 49 levels reaching Binah on Shavuot. We "assembled the radio" during the seder on Pesach putting all the parts together by exactly following the 15-step plan the sages gave us, fine-tuned it during the counting of the Omer and now we start hearing sounds, voices. Almost like it was that day at Har Sinai, just a whole lot different. We didn't hear the sounds, we saw the sounds. That's reaching Binah baby. But somehow we lost the basic understanding and appreciation of what we really received at Har Sinai.
Law and Order
Whenever I hear these words I think of the award-winning series with the very memorable "dun-dunnnn" between the scenes. It was a heavy show, like anything that has to do with Law and Order, right? You think of words like judgment, legality, restriction, possible or even lifetime imprisonment, fines, reprimands, just plainly doing things wrong and getting into trouble. Dark and gloomy. Dun-dunnnn.
So why would G-d call it Life? A Light unto your feet. Why would He urge you to choose it rather than death? What is the disconnect here? We view G-d as the life-giver, but His Torah as legalistic. When did the Torah become legalistic, judgemental, archaic, restrictive and life imprisonment? The answer is, it didn't. There is nothing wrong with it. Also not the Oral Torah, for those who want to go that route. Debunking that is a topic for another day though.
Let's get back to Torah (that's Written and Oral). Debating that it is restrictive is the same way as an unborn baby saying it can do without the womb and the umbilical cord. Yes, the spiritual world is bigger and much more complicated than you think or can ever grasp to understand. It is a highly fine-tuned dynamic. Yes, you are still the center of that universe, the very reason for it being created, but that doesn't mean you understand it. Scientists praise the fact that earth and its atmosphere is so specifically and finely balanced, that if the creation algorithms would be a decimal or two out, we won't be able to exist. Us normal folk don't know all the ins and outs of it, but we know it's true. Yet our lack of understanding the science behind it is usually the reason why we are the cause of so much neglect and damage to the very world we live in. If our ignorance of the laws of nature is causing so much damage, how much more in the sensitively strung spiritual order of things. Nature in all its glory and intricacy is but a simplified outflow of the spirit world it represents.
Judaism tells us that the soul is in a certain sense, dumbed-down (or "capped" if you may), when we are born into this world. You can hardly access and move beyond your Nefesh, never mind touching the neshama level, and then we're not even talking about the Chaya and the Yechida. Yes, it's all you, but right now you are not consciously functioning "there". You first have to master the lower levels. That's why you're here. And what you do here, determines what happens next.
Somehow some people think they are living and reaching all those levels, that's arrogant ignorance. What, because you can meditate? Or because you think you're spiritual? Others again, are oblivious to the different levels of the soul and think this is as good as it gets. Independent of where you might appraise yourself, the Torah stands supreme on all these levels and we will soon experience it for what it really is, in its fullness, but only as we move into the Geula and the world to come.
Yes, dear friends, there is not just a 7,000 year. There is an 8,000, a 9,000 and a 10,000 year mark and then some. The sages go into detail about what will happen after 7,000 years and how our souls will evolve beyond time and space, but let's just first finish where we are at. This world. The Torah is not just a rulebook. It appears like that right now, because of where you are at. But when we transition into the next level, our soul capacity will be able to grasp the deeper true intrinsic value, which currently remains out of our reach as hidden mysteries.
What gets me is that the dominating narrative out there abuses the current ignorant status quo, telling you that you can bypass this integral part, telling you that the Torah has become archaic, done away with, or that it's been fulfilled somehow rendering it irrelevant. This deceptive narrative immobilizes you, keeping you from your active part in the process in this world, a key process necessary in enabling you to ultimately move beyond where you are at.
That is why at the time the People of Israel received the Torah in this world, we said: (נעשה ונשמע). We will do and we will hear. Not the other way round. Not, first, tell us what there is, and then we will decide if we want to enter into this covenant. Seeing if we're "spiritually compatible" before joining into this union.
No, we said we will do, and then we will hear why we are doing this. We know that we cannot understand the depths of the Torah. We will trust the Life-giver of the worlds that He knows what He is doing and that He gave us a life manual to help us navigate the laws of this world that He created. Yes, we have to pierce through the surface and do whatever we can to dive and delve into the depths of the Torah. Through this, we gain extraordinary understanding and knowledge in many things, which when done right, usually leaves us speechless and in awe. That's when you realize, that the more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing. You feel small. The Torah, approached correctly, leaves you humble and grateful.
I know it's been 6,000 years, but don't get ahead of yourself. Yes, the baby will be born, leaving its small restrictive world. Yes, we will get to the Geula, but first, take responsibility and ownership in this world. There are laws to ensure a fine-tuned order. No person of sane mind will jump off a highrise building. The law of gravity is a great teacher. So why do we think we can handle the spiritual world differently, something that we have hardly any knowledge of? If you think you do, then friend, you are gravely mistaken. The sages tell us that we will instantly die of fear if we suddenly become aware of what is actually happening around us in the spiritual world at any given time. So you know something about angels and demons...
If heights or dangerous areas pose a serious risk and possible loss of life, who would not put up a railing at a staircase, or a balcony? Would anybody stand on top of the Empire State building if there weren't well-enforced railings?
That's what fences do, they don't only keep you safe, they give you the courage to explore!
Perhaps it is time to be truthful to ourselves. Maybe that's where everything went wrong in the first place. Hey, maybe some ignoramus told you that you are a very spiritual person because you have moved beyond the letter of the law, or you think last night's indigestion was a spiritual experience of some sort and the mold on your wall needs to be exorcised.
It's time to stop "playing spiritual", be humble and reset our thinking on what spirituality actuallly is. It takes humility, courage and endurance to attain, incorporate and internalize the Torah. Humility to admit and embrace that this is where we're at, capped in the lower levels and responsible to make the most of it. Courage, to actually observe and pratice what is currently given to us. It's easy to say that the Torah is archaic or done away with. No challenge there. It keeps you safely on the sidelines of the Divine Arena where actual Torah life is happening. To acutally practice Torah, now that's something else entirely.
"Only be strong and very courageous, to observe and to do according to all the Law, which Moses My servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then you shall be successful in your ways, and then you shall deal wisely and skilled." Joshua 1: 7-8
The Wrong Way Round:
Once we've humbly acknowledged and accepted this dynamic, becoming the carriers and guardians of the Torah, something amazing happens.
After being given to Moshe Rabbeinu for the second time, Hashem commands Moshe to keep the Luchot haBrit in a very special container called the Ark of the Covenant. It's actually three arks in one. One of gold, one of wood, and again one of gold. It's not three layers, it's three arks. As we know the Ark of the Covenant was a conduit of the chashmal that we saw at Har Sinai. Chasmal (electricity) as we know it today, is a very simplified form of the true Chashmal of the Merkava that Yechezkiel also saw. The Ark connected to this Chashmal repelled all the dangers in the desert away from the People of Israel. It is called midbar, wilderness. The wild west fades in comparison to what the people faced in the wilderness. Massive scorpions and snakes and other horrific creatures.
And so the Ark traveled in front of the people. Can you imagine when the sons of Kohath from the Tribe of Levi had to carry it, most of it pure heavy gold, shlepping through the wilderness. And still, we learn that it was quite easy because if you become a true carrier of the Torah in all its facets, something supernatural happens. The Ark carries you.
And that is where actual spirituality kicks in, the real deal.
Most of us have it the wrong way round. In all our "spirituality" we struggle with this heavy burden of Torah and serving G-d. One of the online definitions of the wrong way round is as follows:
DEFINITIONS1. with one part or side in the position where the other part or side should be.
You are positioning yourself where something else or Someone else should be. Being superfluously spiritual, we usually try to do G-d's work, and boy is that a burden. It's our ignorance of true spirituality that makes everything good become a burden. Nobody ever said you have to do G-d's part. You need to guard and practice G-d's given commands. G-d will do the rest, like running the world, even if that means He allows fools to think they can bypass His laws and reset His world. He either incorporates them through their own devices, or He laughs at their plans. So stop stepping into G-d's domain. You were assigned to the lower levels, for now. Humble yourself, and He will lift you up.
If you do in simple faith and humility what you are suppose to do, then the very thing you do, carries you, repelling the dangers before you, and opening up a way for you in the most impossible environments.
Wishing you a meaningful Chag Shavuot Sameah!