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Parashat Devarim 5782 — 08/06/2022

Parashat Devarim 5782 — 08/06/2022

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 1:1 – 3:22
In Chapter 23 Rambam discusses the verb / root latzeit = to go out. Incidentally, we have only about a dozen more chapters until Rambam concludes his consideration of individual roots and words. Here is the chapter:

Going out [al-yetziah] is the contrary of coming. The term is used to denote the going-out of a body, which may be a living being or not, from a place in which it rested to another place. Thus: They were gone out of the city; If fire break out. The term is applied figuratively to the manifestation of things that are in no way a body. Thus: The word went out of the king’s mouth; When this deed of the queen shall come abroad; meaning the propagation of the matter; For out of Zion shall go forth the law. Thus also: The sun was risen upon the earth; I refer to the manifestation of the light. Every mention of going out occurring in Scripture with reference to Him, may He be exalted, conforms to this figurative use, Thus: For, behold, the Lord goeth out of His place, that is, His decree, which at present is hidden from us, will become manifest. I refer to the coming into being of something after its not having existed, for everything that comes into being from Gd, may He be exalted, is attributed to His decree. Thus: By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. In this verse Gd’s acts are likened to those that proceed from kings, whose instrument in giving effect to their will is speech. However, Gd, may He be exalted, does not require an instrument by means of which He could act, for His acts are accomplished exclusively by means of His will alone; neither is there any speech at all, as shall be made clear. Inasmuch as the term going out, as we have made clear, was figuratively applied to the manifestation of an act of Gd – for Scripture says: For, behold, the Lord goeth out of His place – the term returning [shibah] is figuratively applied to the cessation of such an act likewise brought about in virtue of Gd’s will. It says accordingly, I will go and return to My place, the signification of which is that the Indwelling that had been among us is removed. This removal is followed by a privation of providence, as far as we are concerned. As it says by way of a threat: And I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. For a privation of providence leaves one abandoned and a target to all that may happen and come about, so that his ill and weal come about according to chance. How terrible is this threat! It is to this that it refers in its dictum: I will go and return to My place.

Another word for “go out” is “emerge,” and I would like to consider that English word and see what insight it can give us into Rambam’s analysis. The word emerge comes from two Latin roots: e- meaning “out” (like “ex” as in exfoliate) and mergere, meaning “to dip.” The picture we are getting here is of a figure coming out of the primal ooze, which is itself made of primal ooze. If you don’t want to be so dramatic, think of a wave arising in the ocean. The wave is not different from the ocean, but it e-merges from it. To begin with, it is merged with the ocean – they are one and the same thing. Then the wave begins to rise, taking on some individuality – it is this wave, here and not somewhere else, this high and not higher or lower. The wave has, apparently, “come out” of the ocean; it has left its merged state and now stands, apparently, separate from the ocean. That is from the wave’s point of view. From the ocean’s point of view, it is the same unbounded ocean that it always was, just expressing itself to itself.

Now Rambam cannot countenance using “going out” literally with regard to Gd, since Gd is unchanging and unmoving. Thus he speaks of the Indwelling’s (the Shechinah in Hebrew) coming and going instead, as the Shechinah is an aspect of Gd that interacts with the created universe and therefore can partake in the activity of the universe. Whether or not the Shechinah is co-extensive with Gd was a matter of debate among the medieval Rabbis and philosophers. It would seem, based on our passage, that Rambam would come down on the not-coextensive side. Perhaps the Shechinah might be thought of as the very finest level of manifestation of Pure Consciousness, just a pure vibration, completely undifferentiated, but tangible enough to be perceived at the finest level of awareness. This hum, or golden glow, is the first subtle emanation to emerge from pure wholeness.
I think that this process of a wave emerging from the ocean and the re-merging back into the ocean is the story of creation and evolution, both as we see it in nature and as we experience it in our own lives. In nature we begin with the Unified Field which vibrates within itself in various modes, corresponding to the various particles we see. As the patterns of vibration become richer and more complex, we get more and more complex systems, of galaxies and stars and planets, of ecosystems and living beings, including ourselves – living beings with the ability of experiencing the Unified Field from which everything has emerged, on the level of our individual consciousness.

This process is described in Ezekiel 1:14 as the Chayot [a kind of angelic being] ratzo vashuv / running and returning. Many commentators have discussed this verse, but I would like to think about it in terms of the process of creation and evolution we have just been considering. According to Lurianic Kabbalah, Gd “contracts” Himself to “leave space” for finite beings. These beings emerge in this “space,” and grow and evolve, progressively individuating. This is the “running” phase – a phase of greater and greater “separation” from Gd. Eventually the individuation grows to the extent that the individual mind and ego can achieve transcendence. With repeated experience of transcending, Pure Consciousness becomes established in the mind permanently. Transcending is the ultimate in “returning,” as we are brought back to Pure Consciousness from which we emerged to begin with.

Once we understand that there is nothing other than Gd we get a different perspective on “running and returning.” Rather than individuated entities separate from Gd, we have to imagine a wave emerging from the ocean to its maximum height, then descending and becoming one with the ocean again. In this scenario the “running and returning,” or “emerging and re-merging” do not indicate any break between the individual and the universal at all.

Taking this one step further, the analogy with waves on the ocean breaks down, because the waves really do “emerge” from the ocean, even if they don’t really separate. There has to be another dimension (up and down) that the waves can rise into. In reality, however, there is no dimension outside of Gd and the waves are actually virtual fluctuations within Gd’s own essence. There is no out or in, no emerging, no expansion or contraction, just infinity enjoying its own infinite nature.


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Devarim
Devarim can be translated as “words.”

Devarim begins with “and these are the words Moses spoke” and ends with “Do not fear them [other nations] for the Lord, your Gd, is fighting for you.”

As I began to think about “devarim,” words, I began to think about the letters that make up the words, the grammar that connects the words, and the different levels at which words, letters, and grammar exist and their connection to a life without fear in which we experience, without needing to be told, that Gd is fighting for us – and transforming our world into a world in which we have no enemies, neither outside our self nor inside our self. Not people, not thoughts or feelings, not storms or droughts or other acts of Nature do anything but support us, give us care, Love and Joy.

And as I begin to think, I also began to feel the letters are souls. They are the fundamental expressions of Gd’s infinite vibration through which Gd’s Self-Referral Awareness manifests and un-manifests the limited world that we ordinary folk experience as reality, Since Gd is Infinite Love and Joy, the letters are also this and their shapes and sounds are only limited on the surface level of their appearance. At subtler levels, they are more and more subtle and unlimited in their forms and sounds.

And at the Transcendental level they completely weave one into the other and their shapes and sounds and qualities of Love and Joy are infinitely varying.

The Hebrew letters are called “otiyot.” Yehudi Goldberg created a flowing exercise based on the shapes of the Hebrew letters and he called it “Otiyot Chayot”: “Chai” means “life” and “Chayot” are a class of heavenly beings, described in Ezekial’s vision of the heavenly chariot.

As it is with the letters, so it is with the words, the Devarim, and sentences, this parshah and Torah as a whole.

Back to the physical level of the letters, there are 22 and there are 22 chromosomes in the DNA plus a Male and Female chromosome, which can relate to the long and short vowels. There are 24 books in Torah. This gives us a clear sense of the role of the letters in the manifesting of physical reality.

Kabbalah makes similar combinations for letters and the physiology and for Torah and the physiology.

The words Moses spoke were basically a review of the 40 years in the wilderness and here, too, there is a fundamental unity in the symbolism of the words of the review.

The mention of “40” often occurs in Torah as a symbol of completeness and here it occurs as 40 years spent in the desert between leaving Egypt (Mitzraim: Restrictions) and preparing to enter Canaan(“Synchronicity, Integration”), the Promised Land. This put in my mind the Kabbalastic view of the 10 Sefiroth (qualities of Gd) times the four worlds ( the world of Emanation: Atzilut; the world of Creation,: Beriah; the world of Formation Yetsirah; and the world of Action, Asiyah. This equals 40. And so when we experience the 10 qualities times the four worlds we have 40, a symbol of completeness.

“Forty” is used by Dr. Tony Nader, PH.D, MD, MARR, in showing the connection between the Veda and the Vedic Literature with human physiology, as a way of illustrating that our human body is not only flesh, bones, muscles and so on but in essence, it is Consciousness. “Consciousness” is a scientific way of referring to Totality, One without a Second, which from a religious point of view we refer to Gd. Dr. Nader shows that the 40 aspects of the Veda and its Literature correspond to 40 different aspects of our human body.

So by exploring, intellectually, emotionally, experientially, the words and letters, sentences, paragraphs, parshahs of Gd, the grammar of Gd, the different qualities of Gd in the different stages of manifestation (within Gd), we become capable of entering a world in which we directly experience that Gd is Totality, we are expressions of Gd within Gd, Gd goes before us, makes our path safe, transforms any possible enemies into friends and we live a life very unafraid, very aware that Gd is filling our life with Joy, Love, words and actions of truth.

Such a life is one in which we fulfill Gd’s command: “Be thou holy, for I am holy” and in which we “Love the Lord, thy Gd, with all our heart, all our soul, all our might” and we “Love our neighbor as our self” and are loved by our neighbor the same way.

Such a life is a fulfilled life.

In our congregation there is a lot of Love and Joy, signs we are making good progress, signs we are experience a lot of protection and a lot of fulfillment..

Thank You, Gd, for all you do.

Thank You!

Thank You!

Thank You!

Baruch HaShem