Wednesday, March 08, 2017

There is a Field, I’ll Meet You There

A poem from one of the greatest religious poets of all time, the 13th century Persian Sufi mystic, Rumi:

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn't make any sense."

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

חייב איניש לבסומי בפוריא עד דלא ידע בין ארור המן לברוך מרדכי

A person is obligated on Purim to become drunk and intoxicated until one does not know the difference between cursed is Mordechai and blessed is Mordechai.

On Purim, we need to go out beyond concepts of wrongdoing and rightdoing, beyond ideas, beyond language.

For on Purim, we need to arrive at a place of passionate and exclusive love for G-d, so much so that we cannot distinguish between G-d and anything else.

With this intense focus, we bear witness that there are no other options at all.

“Even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense”

Rumi is describing a mystical union, the ultimate envelopment within G-d (unio mystica), where there is no Other, no “each other”, no method of explanation, no distinction, but rather all that exists, is a complete melting into the All.

This quietistic mystical aspect of losing oneself in the Divine, has been shunned and concealed by most organized religions. There is a deep fear of the potential danger that can occur to a person who no longer has any sense of rules, or customs or even Self but instead has become completely united with G-d.

On Purim, this is exactly what we are called upon and obligated to do, to venture beyond all possibilities of descriptions, definitions, and distinctions, עד דלא ידע, and instead be enveloped within G-d Himself.

And there,

“There is a field, I’ll meet you there”

A שדה, a field.

The connotation of a “field” in Torah, is always a place of danger, wilderness, even chaos.
Esav is described as a “man of the field” (איש שדה) as opposed to his brother Yaakov,
(ישב אהלים ) who is recognized as a person who takes security and sanctuary in the protection of tents. Esav was from the world of wildness and chaos, while Yaakov dwelled within well-defined laws, borders, and boundaries. Esav yearned for the wildness of ecstatic revelation for he did not want to be limited by tents, laws and boundaries. He desired that powerful connection with G-d that requires no particulars. This was the reason why his father Yitzchak loved him more than Yaakov. Yitzchak was the attribute of gevurah, of severity, and he believed that through his love of Esav, he would be able to temper that wild ecstatic no holds barred relationship with G-d.

Yitzchak did not understand, however, that in this mundane world people can get lost in a self-gratifying perception, so much so that this ecstatic state becomes dangerous, impermanent and fleeting. In this world, we cannot maintain the level of complete loss of boundaries.

As it says in Deuteronomy 22: “כי בשדה מצאה...הנערה ", (in the field a man finds a woman who is engaged and rapes her), in this world our souls are only engaged to G-d, we have not consummated our love. Therefore, if we are in the “field” we are at risk of being raped by the forces of impurity that usurp the desire to connect. Therefore, Yaakov was correct in his wish to live in this world in the well-defined boundaries of “tents”, the clear-set limitations of halacha.

On Purim, this is not so. On the holiday of Purim, we do consummate with G-d; we are no longer merely engaged. In our intoxicated state, we become completely enveloped in G-d and therefore we can enter into the “field”.

As it is written in Song of Songs:

לכה דודי נצא השדה
Come, my love, let us go out into the field; and spend the night among the wildflowers.
Let us rise early and go to the vineyards; let us see whether the vine has budded, whether the vine-blossom has opened; there will I give you my love. (7:1)

The Targum explains that this field is referring to the exile of Esav (Edom), the exile of the red wine. For in this exile, there are times where we must go out into the fields of wildflowers and give G-d our greatest love. For the ultimate purpose of reality is to sanctify that field.

This is the deep explanation of the Kabbalistic custom one performs before greeting the Shabbos. In previous generations, individuals would physically go into the fields, but instead, in our day, Kabbalah says to declare each week, “Come to the fields to greet the bride.” It is the purpose of creation to come to the field of ultimate consummation and union with the Divine. It is our task to sanctify the holy unbridled chaos of the field and on Shabbos, which is a taste of the world to come, we can do so on a certain level.
Much more than this, however, can be accomplished on Purim. Then we are altogether other-worldly and euphoric, for on Purim, in our drunken state we no longer recognize any distinctions between ourselves and the Divine.

For the secret of wine, the secret of the vineyard in the verse from Song of Songs, is to come and melt into this holy chaos, this holy consummation with G-d.

When we speak of wine, we do not just mean the physical wine of grapes. The secrets of Torah, Kabbalah and Chassidus are also known as wine.

The Kabbalists themselves are referred to in the Zohar as the “cutters of the field”, the ones who turn the fields into gardens, the ones who venture into the fields in order to transform them.

For if we are able to turn these fields into gardens, when Mashiach comes, G-d will say “באתי לגני אחותי כלה”, “I have come to my garden, my sister, my bride. Let us drink the wine of this garden, for here you have turned the field into a garden.”

We will have transformed the world into a permanent place of consummation with HaShem

Purim is a taste right now of what that experience will be.

Purim is a time of no distinction between wrong and right, a time where the words “each other” do not make any sense, a time beyond Haman and Mordechai, where instead we go to the field and meet Him there.

Purim is a time where we can prepare for when the whole world will no longer be a field but a garden, where we will give G-d our love.

Let us prepare now for this consummation on Purim by getting drunk on the wine of Kabbalah and Chassidus, by becoming intoxicated on Eid Od Milvado, that all that exists is G-d. Let us dwell in that field, where the phrase “each other” does not make any sense, on the day of Purim, and then merit to come to the time where the whole year can be Purim, where we will unite completely with G-d. When we arrive at that time, G-d will then say to us, as Yitzchak said to Yaakov, when Yaakov was wearing the clothes of Esav, after he successfully harnessed the chaos of Esav, “See, the smell of my son like the smell of a field that G-d has blessed” (Bereishis 27:27)

May we meet in the field, where we are able to give our love to G-d, always.

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