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Shabbat Chol haMoed Pesach 5783 — 04/08/2023

Shabbat Chol haMoed Pesach 5783 — 04/08/2023

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.

One of the conundrums that philosophy has grappled with is the apparent contradiction between human free will and Gd’s infinite knowledge (and therefore foreknowledge of what “free will” choices we will make). If Gd knows everything, He knows how I will choose, and therefore, apparently, my choice is not free. If there is something, of which I am not aware, but of which Gd presumably is aware, that constrains my choice, then I don’t have free will, whatever I may think.

Rambam famously answers this question by explaining that Gd’s knowledge is not like our knowledge. Our knowledge is of outer things – the objective, created world. Our knowledge is something other than what we are. Gd’s knowledge is not separate from Himself – it is pure, inner knowledge which transcends time, space and causality. Gd knows everything at all time. From our perspective it would seem that all of history, from the greatest cosmic flows to the “beating of a butterfly’s wing” are not only predetermined, but a fixed time-space structure as if encased in a giant piece of amber. This would be, I think, a gross underestimation of Gd, and in fact would not only deny our free will, but it would deny Gd’s free will as well.

Just about a year ago, for Parashat Tzav of 5782, we discussed a novel approach to the Law of Least Action, developed by Richard Feynman. I won’t reproduce the entire argument here, as it is a bit long, but the bottom line is that in order for us to see nature taking the path of least action, nature actually has to be taking all paths simultaneously. The fact that we see the universe evolving along only the path of least action is just an artifact of our limited ability to perceive. In reality, and reality is Gd’s point of view, nature is always doing everything that it is logically possible to do, all the time, simultaneously. Far from a static, frozen space-time structure, the universe is an unbounded ocean of all possibilities, with none excluded and no one of them precluding any other of them.

Gd’s knowledge is comprehensive, since all this dynamism is Gd’s own internal dynamics, and Gd is completely free to manifest Himself to Himself in any way He wishes. We are created in Gd’s image, and this means that we have consciousness, creativity and free will as well, albeit on a lower level than our creator. Part of the reason that we are so constrained is that we have stress in our system that prevents us from perceiving reality correctly and acting accordingly. In religious terms we say that sin (action that is not in accord with the evolutionary direction of natural law, or Gd’s Will) causes a stopping up of the heart (atimut halev) and this stopping up acts as a wall or barrier between us and Gd. And the antidote for sin, which frees up the heart to flow in waves of devotion to Gd and to other people, is teshuvah, return to Gd / the transcendent, which we can accomplish through Vedic Science and its associated technologies.

The Pesach Seder is a re-enactment of our leaving Egypt, but on a deeper level it is also the re-enactment of the process of teshuvah and its concomitant opening of the heart, clarifying of perception and correcting of action. It culminates with Gd’s revealing Himself on Mt. Sinai at Shavuot. Unfortunately, a one-time experience of Gd’s revelation was not enough to establish awareness of Gd permanently in the people’s awareness. Teshuvah must be an ongoing process, engaged in with regularity, to produce the desired result to be maintained constantly.

The Mishnah (Pirke Avot II:4) tells us Make His Will like your will, so that He will make thy will like His Will. Once Pure Consciousness is fully established in the awareness, all our actions stem from this Pure Consciousness, and are therefore in accord with natural law / Gd’s Will. We have, as it were, gained cosmic free will at the expense of our individual free will. Of course, as our awareness becomes cosmic, this is not perceived as a loss. We have used our individual free will to transcend it and achieve real freedom.

May we all experience the ultimate redemption of the world speedily in our day!

Chag kasher v’same’ach!


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Shabbat Chol haMo’ed Pesach

As we approach the concluding day of Pesach (Passover), we read about the splitting of the Red Sea”. Water often symbolizes Consciousness; in this case we have a progression: Leaving Egypt (Mitzraim: Restrictions), our ancestors entered Midbar (Wilderness, Transcendent) and now they are crossing Yam Suf (usually called in English, the Red Sea, but perhaps better translated as “Sea of Reeds”), symbolizing the liveliness within the Transcendent that serves as a link between Midbar (Transcendent) and Canaan (Synchronicity, the Promised Land). The need to split the sea indicates that the link is clogged and since the clog is at a very deep level, within the Transcendent, it requires a power at a still deeper level to unclog it. In fact, it requires Gd, who is beyond all levels—all levels exist in Gd; all levels are Expressions of Gd.

In our lives the message is clear: to free ourselves of the suffering that comes from living a life completely within limits, within restrictions, we need to experience their unlimited source, the Transcendent. To do this we need to find within ourself a quality of leadership and dedication, a Moses, that is connected to Wholeness, to Gd.

Although many of us have a flash of this leadership, this connection, for most of us some outside guidance is needed to make the flashes a full, consistent deepening experience.

Our religion can do this but for our religion to be an actual working religion, not just sounds and theory, we need a guide, someone who has traversed our religion’s range and experienced fulfillment, teshuvah, return to Gd, return to One.

Not so many such people seem to be around and finding them is not so easy. So we do our best to find people who are wiser than we are who can guide us to make progress in finding more wisdom within ourselves and finding people who are somewhat wiser than that and then, if we are fortunate, deserving someone appears who can guide us all the way. Perhaps that someone is intuition within ourself, perhaps someone outside, perhaps a combination.

Step by step, we learn to become more attuned to life, to Gd’s Will, to transcend limitations and to de-clog the link between the Transcendence and the Full Experience of One, the Synchronicity that is Canaan, the Promised Land. This Synchronicity dissolves the stress and suffering in the limits of daily life, reveals the Transcendent within them, and enables us to live our daily life as diverse and synchronized experiences of Fulfillment—as life in the Promised Land.

Our congregation shows many signs of Love and Joy, of Fulfillment. for which we are all quite grateful and do our best to grow still more and to share with each other and with everybody as we progress.

Let us enjoy limits completing passing us over and enjoy passing into Total Experience.

Thank You, Gd!

Baruch HaShem.