Friday, January 16, 2015

Enclosed By the Infinitely Frail; Permeated By the Immanently Elusive

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near                                                                                                                                                                                                --e.e.cummings

How often do we yearn to feel Divinity...How frustrating for the seeker of Light to constantly be praying to a Being that seems so far, so aloof, so unreachable...It seems clear that if we could only hold the Ineffable tangibly, our lives would change; if we could only experience His embrace, never would we let it loose; we would open our whole selves and devote our hearts to Him. 

When I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go...
                                                  --Song of Songs 3:4

But maybe we need to better learn how to search, where to search, how to touch, how to hold...

Tanya Chapter 48:

Contemplating on the greatness of the blessed En Sof (Infinite), the intelligent person will realize that as His name indicates, so is He— there is no end or limit or finitude at all to the light and vitality that diffuse from Him...Had the worlds descended from the light of the blessed En Sof without "contractions," but according to a gradual descent, from grade to grade by means of cause and effect— this world would not, in such case, have ever been created in its present form, in a finite and limited order...[And so, His light is radically contracted to the extent that] only an extremely minute portion of light and vitality illuminates and reaches the lower creatures in a revealed manner, as it were, pervading them and animating them so that they might receive existence ex nihilo, and be in a state of finitude and limitation. This constitutes an exceedingly contracted illumination, and it is considered as virtually nothing at all compared with the quality of the limitless and infinite illumination...[which] "encompasses" them from above and is called "sovev kol almin", the light that encompasses the worlds.

The meaning of this is not that it encircles and encompasses from above spatially, G-d forbid, for in spiritual matters the category of space is in no way applicable. But the meaning is that it "Encircles and encompasses from above" in comparison with the so-called "revealed" influence, for influence which is in the category of "revelation" in the worlds, is referred to as "investiture", being "clothed" within the worlds, for the influence that they receive is clothed and comprehended by them; whereas the influence which does not come within the category of "revelation," but remains in occultation and concealment and is not apprehended by the worlds, is not described as being "invested" but as "encircling and encompassing." Therefore, since the worlds belong in the order of the finite and limited, it follows that only an extremely minute and contracted reflection of the flow of the light of the blessed En Sof clothes and reveals itself in them in a revealed form, and this, only to animate them in a finite and limited state. But the principal light without contraction to such an extent, is called makif ("encircler") and sovev ("encompasser"), since its influence is not revealed within them, inasmuch as they belong in the order of the finite and the limited.

In other words, His infinite light is present-it does not just encompass us spatially- but it is not revealed to us, for it is too great to be revealed within our perception. Whereas His contracted, permeating light is revealed within us, becomes us, bringing us and all of reality into existence.

Yet we see not any Godly light at all. We do not feel His Presence in us, permeating us, animating us, just as we do not feel his infinite light that is beyond our perception. How then could the finite, contracted light be termed "revealed"?

Imagine, a ten-year-old child walking into an auditorium where Albert Einstein is lecturing on the theory of relativity. He might sit there for hours, but is utterly "encompassed" by the lecture; they "circle" the vessels of his cognition; none of the words "enter" his reality and he is unable to perceive Einstein's greatness at all.

Later on, Einstein might grace this child with a private tutoring session. He will then explain to the 10-year-old basic mathematics. The 10-year-old will grasp everything Einstein will say-indeed, he will not feel any transcendence at all. Einstein's words and explanations will be so "revealed" to him, that in this case as well, none of Einstein's greatness will be felt. 

But for an opposite reason...Einstein has now contracted himself to "manifest" as a ten-year-old.

Do you understand why we have a hard time holding on to God, why we do not feel embraced by His infinity, and permeated by His vivifying, finite light? Can we now appreciate how easy it is to do so?

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near                                                                                                                                                                                                --e.e.cummings

Bear in mind about the Creator that “the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3) and His Shechinah (finite, indwelling light) is constantly at your side...And think that you are looking at the Shechinah which is at your side as you are looking at physical objects...Always be joyful. Think and believe with perfect faith that the Shechinah is at your side and watches over you. You look at the Creator, blessed be He, and the Creator, blessed be He, looks at you. 
                                                       --The Ba'al Shem Tov, Tzava'at Harivash 137

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