Sunday, June 10, 2012
The Talmud' speaks of a Rebi Chanina ben Dosa, a miracle worker from the time of the Second Jewish Temple. Story after story is told of the miracles he performed or of miracles that were performed for him. Reflecting on these stories one can't help but ask oneself; wouldn't it be nice to be able to perform miracles at will as well?
The truth is he was not the only one from his time period who could. According to tradition, the greatest Rabbis of that generation could perform miracles at will. It was the time of the great Rebi Akiva and Rebi Meir Bo'ol HoNeis - Master of Miracles - to name two. They were a perfect example of the famous principle, "A righteous person wills and Hashem fuIfills." The Talmud even speaks of times when someone who died was revived soon after, as if in the normal course of events.
However, after learning some Kabbalah, which reveals the spiritual infrastructure and material of reality, the question is no longer, how did they perform miracles; but, why can't we perform them as well?
The most obvious answer is: Because they were far more righteous and on a much higher spiritual level than we are. We do not merit the kind of Heavenly help they enjoyed to perform their supernatural feats.
Without a doubt, that is true. But it is also over-simplistic, because it makes a faulty assumption: the physical world is a fixed reality that can only be changed through physical means, or miraculously; that Hashem does this for us by "breaking" the rules inherent in Creation. Apparently, that is one of the privileges of being Hashem: the physical world melts before His will.
However, as science is beginning to discover, the physical world is not so static. At the basis of everything in physical existence is energy which in itself is not physical, but spiritual. Scientists don't even understand what energy is, though they use the term freely as if referring to something as basic and discernable as air.
However, what is just beginning to dawn on the world of science has been accepted fact in the realm of Kabbalah as long as we have known it, for at least 3,324 years. For, a central tenet of Kabbalah is that the basis of all of physical Creation is a completely spiritual light called Ohr Ain Sof - the Never Ending Light.
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, more commonly known as the Arizal, explains that prior to any hint of Creation - even the completely spiritual aspects there was only Ohr Ain Sof (It represented the will of Hashem to reveal Himself to created beings. Though that would be only at the end of a long and complex period of Divine creating, Man would be the crowning touch on the Creation-process on Day Six. But, it was with him in mind that Hashem created everything else - physically and spiritually - during the previous five days.
Thus, as physical as all of Creation appears to be, and as spiritually void as it seems to be able to become, the truth is, the Ohr Ain Sof permeates everything at all times. Absolutely nothing can exist, even evil, if the Ohr Ain Sof is not at its core. If the Ohr Ain Sof were to be removed from something in Creation, it would immediately and completely disappear.
Thus, even the term, Yaish M'ayin - something from nothing - which is used to describe the leap from a completely spiritual level of existence to the physical one, is not an entirely accurate one. It implies that at some point the light went from being totally spiritual to something physical. In truth, the core light – the Ohr Ain Sof, the source of ALL energy in existence – remains completely spiritual, like a soul within a body.
What happened instead is that, as the Ohr Ain Sof moved further away from its Source, it became layered with other less spiritual levels of light, like clothing worn by a person. The more layers added, the more physical the outward manifestation of the light became, and in this sense, the Creation Story is an account of the adding of layers of light to make Creation increasingly more physical. The story seems to flow horizontally along a timeline when in fact it is about light descending vertically.
Thus, everything in existence is a function of spiritual light, including people, something that was perfectly apparent in the Garden of Eden prior to the sin. For, prior to the eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the skin of man was Ketonet Ohr - Clothing of Light (ALEF-Vov-Raish). As a result of the sin additional layers of less spiritual light were added to man - Ketonet Ohr - Clothing of Skin (pronounced the same way but spelled differently: AYIN-Vov-Raish) , causing his "physicalization."
The advantage is this: unlike a concrete, physicality, one made of spiritual light can be manipulated at will, which is what the Rabbis of the Second Temple era were able to do. Being experts in Kabbalah it was clear to them that Nature is more allusion than fact; they were not fooled by what their eyes perceived: an incredible sense of solidity and permanence projected by the physical world. The question for them was not, "why can we walk through walls?" but rather, "why can't others as well?"
The answer to this question is an issue of free will, as it says, "The secrets of Hashem to those who fear Him" (Tehillim 25:14): one must earn the right to know Torah on its deepest levels. And there can be no greater secret than the nature of the physical world and how to spiritually manipulate it.
It also says, "All is in the hands of Heaven except for fear Heaven" (Brochot 33b), implying that it was for this that man was created, and that the only area in life that our free-will impacts is in the building up of fear of Hashem, the key to the secrets of Hashem. Thus, regarding this the Talmud states that someone who knows much Torah but lacks fear of Hashem is like one who has the key to the outer chamber - Torah in general - but lacks the key to the inner one - the secrets of Creation to which the verse refers, and to which Torah is meant to lead a person (Shabbat 30b).
However, there is also a tradition that, at the End-of-Days, it will be a special time, and that some of the rules that may have applied to previous generations will be waived in the final one. Time may simply run out, and as the Talmud explains redemption may no longer be a function of merit, but of need and at which time Heaven will "subsidize" what is lacking to bring it about (Sanhedrin 97b).
As physics begins to reveal what Kabbalah has always known, that time may be now.
Additional note: We do have the ability to cause things to happen that may seem beyond our physical world. What I have mentioned about prayer causing energies to flow is a prime example. Healing the sick, causing positive events to occur are within our capability, but require much effort and proper attitude to succeed. Unfortunately, improper language and negativity cause thing to go wrong in our lives and the world. That, we seem to be much more proficient at accomplishing. Our growth in our Yiddishkeit and living our daily lives according to the Torah and the Will of Hashem produces great and very positive results. It doesn't take long to see these results and to learn what happiness in this world can be. Go for it.
Posted by The Absolute Truth at 9:55 AM