Skip to content

Parashat Ekev 5782 — 08/20/2022

Parashat Ekev 5782 — 08/20/2022

Beginning with Bereishit 5781 (17 October 2020) we embarked on a new format. We will be considering Rambam’s (Maimonides’) great philosophical work Moreh Nevukim (Guide for the Perplexed) in the light of the knowledge of Vedic Science as expounded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The individual essays will therefore not necessarily have anything to do with the weekly Torah portion, although certainly there will be plenty of references to the Torah, the rest of the Bible, and to the Rabbinic literature. For Bereishit we described the project. The next four parshiyyot, Noach through Chayei Sarah, laid out a foundational understanding of Vedic Science, to the degree I am capable of doing so. Beginning with Toledot we started examining Moreh Nevukim.

Devarim 7:12-11:25
So far Rambam has been considering words that denote action and/or movement. Since Gd is completely detached from the world of action, none of these terms can be taken literally with respect to Gd. With the current chapter (I:25) we turn to a concept that connotes greater stability, viz. to dwell:

Shakhon. It is known that the meaning of this verb is to dwell. Thus: And he was dwelling by the terebinths of Mamre; And it came to pass, while Israel dwelt. This is well known and generally accepted. Now dwelling signifies a permanent stay in a place of one’s abode. Accordingly, when a living being has his abode in a place, by which either a general or a particular place may be meant, it is said of him that he dwells in that place, even if he undoubtedly moves within it. This verb is also figuratively applied to things that are not living beings and in fact to everything that is permanent and is attached to another thing. Of all such things the term dwelling may be used, even in cases in which the thing to which they are attached is not a place and they themselves not living beings. Thus it says: Let a cloud dwell upon it. For there is no doubt that a cloud is not a living being, nor a day in any way a body [translator’s note: The reference is to Job 3:5 – let a cloud dwell upon it; let all that maketh black the day terrify it), being a portion of time. It is on account of this latter figurative sense that the verb is applied figuratively to Gd, may He be exalted – I mean to the permanence of His Indwelling or His providence in whatever place they may subsist in permanent fashion or toward whatever matter providence may be permanently directed. Thus it is said; And the glory of the Lord dwelt. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, And the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush. In every case in which this occurs with reference to Gd, it is used in the sense of the permanence of His Indwelling – I mean His created light – in a place, or the permanence of providence with regard to a certain matter. Each passage should be understood according to its context.

Perhaps the most famous derivative of the root shakhon is Shechinah, the Indwelling presence of Gd, the aspect of Gd as He appears to us in creation, Gd’s immanence. What does it mean to say that Gd “dwells” anywhere?

It would appear that dwelling is less of a problem than going or going out, because there doesn’t seem to be any change or movement involved. Of course, in common usage, dwelling is not a static thing, unless one sits motionless in one’s house, which is of course not possible. So within the static quality of dwelling there is still some activity, and this is a red flag for Rambam, as it indicates that Gd is changeable, when it is applied to Gd. Thus Rambam applies it to Gd’s Indwelling (Shechinah, appropriately) or Gd’s providence, both of which are “created” aspects of Gd.

I wonder if this actually solves Rambam’s dilemma, or if Rambam was pointing to something deeper. One the one hand, Rambam says that Gd is a Unity, not composed of parts and certainly not corporeal, and is immutable. On the other hand he needs to deal with the reality that all of Scripture is the story of Gd’s interaction with creation, and specifically human beings. This involves dealing with the world of change and movement. This is apparently paradoxical, and to bridge the gap between the unchanging Gd and Gd’s ever-changing creation, Rambam uses the ideas of an Indwelling presence of Gd within the creation (which he calls “His created light” in this passage) or Gd’s Word, or the “glory” of Gd. But I think that this merely kicks the can down the road, positing a changeable “aspect” of Gd’s, when we want to maintain that Gd is in fact not changeable.

What caught my eye in this regard is Rambam’s remark that “Accordingly, when a living being has his abode in a place, … it is said of him that he dwells in that place, even if he undoubtedly moves within it” (my bold). We have traced the development of one’s experience of the transcendent from Transcendental Consciousness through Unity Consciousness. As Vedic Science describes it. At first, we experience Pure Consciousness as completely transcendental to all activity and to all individuality. We experience the transcendent as completely silent. It dwells alone, by itself, as Balaam says of Israel, hen am l’vadad yishkon / it is a people that dwells alone. There is only the unbounded transcendent in this state – the created world is gone and only our Pure Consciousness remains.

As we experience Pure Consciousness repeatedly, our mind and our nervous system become conditioned to supporting the experience of Pure Consciousness along with waking, dreaming and sleeping states of consciousness. We know our Self to be unbounded and eternal, while the rest of the world remains locked in boundaries, ever-changing. This is Cosmic Consciousness. We experience that the unbounded Self interacts with the boundaries of the world, but this is really the same paradox that I believe Rambam is addressing – how that which is unchanging can “change” along with the finite, changeable creation?

I don’t think this paradox can be resolved on the level of Cosmic Consciousness, where it appears stark and experiential, and certainly not on the level of ordinary waking state of consciousness, where it’s mainly theoretical, as the transcendental side is not experienced much, if at all. On the level of Unity Consciousness however, we find that we have no paradox at all. From the perspective of Unity Consciousness the transcendent is the all-pervasive reality, and creation exists as the virtual, internal dynamics of the transcendent. It is no longer transcendental to creation, creation is the transcendent, appearing to move within itself, the way the ocean rises in waves without ever losing its status as the unchanging ocean. Gd can interact with creation because creation is nothing other than Gd.

Could Rambam be hinting at this point of view when he says that one can “dwell” in a place “even if he undoubtedly moves within it”? Gd dwells in His own unchanging nature, and creation undoubtedly moves within that nature. The changing and the unchanging coexist because they are one and the same.

At this point I feel the need to repeat a disclaimer I made when I began this project. We have a very unique and precious knowledge from the Vedic tradition as given to us by Maharishi. In its comprehensiveness and profundity, it can shed a fresh light on our understanding of life, religion, philosophy and science. I don’t presume to know what level of consciousness Rambam was on, or whether, in his writings, he wanted to hint at this level of reality. I certainly don’t want to try to put Maharishi’s words in Rambam’s mouth. My sole purpose here is to show that such a reading is consistent with what Rambam wrote and at the very least, can give us a deeper insight into the meaning of our Torah and the profundity of Jewish thought.


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Eikev

“Eikev” means “Because.” This parashah begins with Moses saying “… Because you will heed these ordinances and keep them and perform, that the Ld, your Gd, will keep for you the covenant that he swore to your forefathers.” (translation from  And this includes Blessing, Loving, Protecting, preventing illness, providing manna in the wilderness so that all will know that ”…man does not live by bread alone, but rather by, whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live.” (Deuteronomy, 8:3, translation).

Since everything comes forth from the mouth of Gd – all the diversity and stages of Creation were and are continually created from Gd’s words – this statement needs interpretation.

A good way to look at this is that Gd wants us to humbly open ourself to the Wholeness that is Gd and not to be lost in fragments like material bread.

This principle allows us to experience and act on all the commandments Gd has given in Torah – not just the Ten, but all 613.

Trying to obey them from the limited level of our individuality, would be hard and, at the moment, impossible since some of the commandments depend on the existence of the Temple. And yet Moses speaks Gd’s word to us in this parshah: obey and be blessed. disobey and be cursed?

Through humility, however, we open our heart to Wholeness, to all the streams, letters, words, stories, commandments that perpetually reside in Wholeness, Gd, One. We go beyond the limited interpretation of Gd’s Words and experience Gd within Them: we are not limited to the Bread of Gd’s Mouth but Experience the Wholeness within which each limited value of Gd Exists.

Moses says (Deuteronomy 11:20) “For if you shall diligently keep all this Commandment which I command you, to do it, to love the Lord, your Gd, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave to Him…then all be well, the Lord will drive out the nations before you and the land shall be yours.” (Kabbalistic Bible, edited by Yehuda Berg)

Putting Gd first, loving Gd, we are guided by His Love to walk in His Ways and our life is a life in harmony with Gd.

This harmony grows when we humbly prepare ourselves each day with whatever of Torah we can, whether it is letter or spirit, and innocently do our best to live a good life, a holy life, being practical, but not letting our concept of practical be limited to our own material needs, rather letting it serve the purpose of loving Gd, loving Wholeness, not being lost in detail, being charmed by detail only to the point that it serves the growth of Love of Gd, of Wholeness, in our life, and spreads it to all lives.

In this way the appropriate commandments and the appropriate obedience occur to us as they are needed in a joyful, effortless way so that our lives become a blessing and Gd’s Blessings come to us and through us to all around us.

We, in our congregation, do seem to be humble, joyful, loving, blessed so we seem to be substantially following Gd’s commandments as Moses presented them in time 3500 years ago and, as on the deep level of Wholeness, Moses is still presenting them to us, and Gd is still Blessing us and Giving us the simplicity to love, be Loved and to be restored to the Awareness that there is nothing but Wholeness, Gd, One, and we are This One, playing the game of hide-and-seek, playing the role of our individuality and of all individualities, including each of the 613 Commandments, all nations, all souls.

Baruch HaShem