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Parashat Re’eh 5781 — 08/07/2021

Parashat Re’eh 5781 — 08/07/2021

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 11:26-16:17

Last week we began consideration of the conundrum that Gd is transcendental to creation, yet he acts within creation, and we considered the idea that all activity is actually the virtual, internal dynamics of the transcendent level of creation. Today I want to take this a bit further and consider what natural law is.

Now the deepest level of perception that we can achieve is to be able to grasp the virtual vibrations of Pure Consciousness as they apparently manifest themselves into the creation. These vibrations, as we have discussed, can be perceived in the form of the sounds of human speech. Vedic Science identifies the Veda as just that cognition. The basic impulses of creation appear to the rishi / cognizer as the grammar, syntax and semantics of Vedic Sanskrit. Our own esoteric tradition identifies Hebrew as the language of creation and Torah as the sounds of the impulses of creation. I don’t know how to reconcile the two traditions, as Hebrew and Sanskrit are very different languages. However, a very close friend of mine told me that when he asked Maharishi this very question, Maharishi replied “very emphatically” that Veda and Torah were, in essence, one.

Now I want to touch upon the last part of Prof. Pines’ quote:

Thus Maimonides is quite consistent when, in a formula that forcibly calls to mind Spinoza, he speaks of “divine,” i.e., natural, actions (III 52). The study of nature and of the order of nature is the only way open to man to know something of Gd.

And he continues:

The import of these views may be realized more clearly if one considers the reinterpretation of biblical terms that Maimonides has in mind. His attributes of action are such terms as “Merciful” or “Revengeful” applied to Gd. According to Maimonides, expressions of this kind originate in man’s teleological anthropocentric interpretation of the inhuman, self-conserving, and self-perpetuating order of nature. Thus, Gd is sometimes called “Merciful” because in accordance with that order the embryos of animals develop satisfactorily and parents have been endowed with the instinct to protect their children. Or He is called “Revengeful” because, again in accordance with the order of nature, storms, floods, earthquakes, and wars work destruction. One is again reminded of Spinoza’s attacks on the ascription of a finalistic man-centered causality to Nature, or to call it by another name, to Gd.

Here Rambam appears to be conflating Gd’s actions in the world with the actions of nature. In fact, he appears to ascribe to Gd the characteristic of blind nature, with its own immutable order, completely indifferent to the fate of human beings, either individually or as a species. The ascription of adjectives to describe Gd’s working in nature is completely illusory, stemming from our psychological need to understand and “humanize” nature and Gd. This is so contrary to the entire Biblical narrative and the whole thrust of Jewish thought that it is very difficult for me to accept that this is what Rambam actually means. It might make sense if Gd were wholly in the transcendent and detached from the world (Deus absconditus) like the “watchmaker Gd” who sets everything in motion and then just sits back and watches. But if Gd is in fact intimately involved in the working of the world, freeing a slave nation from their oppressors and tasking them with showing the world how to create a humane society, as Torah seems to say, how can we explain that everything that happens is just the blind forces of nature acting in an amoral way?

I don’t want to put words in Rambam’s mouth, but I think it may be useful to understand the Vedic Science approach to natural law. Normally, when we think of natural law, we think of things like the law of gravity, or the laws of electromagnetism. These laws are very strict – if you jump off a cliff you will fall to your death, no matter how great-hearted you are, or even if you are related to Wile E. Coyote. It is the same with all physical laws. In Jewish thought the scientific laws of nature are associated with the Divine Attribute of strict justice (think of the cliff) and the Name Elokim. This is the name that is used throughout the first chapter of Genesis, when the physical creation is described.

When Maharishi would talk about natural law, his view was much more expansive, and he equated it with the Will of Gd. From Maharishi’s side, natural law is Veda and is structured in Pure Consciousness. Since Pure Consciousness is unbounded and infinite, it can be infinitely creative – in other words, it is not rigid like our conception of natural law which we get from the objective sciences. Consciousness is more flexible than matter. When I began my graduate program in Atmospheric Physics I noticed that people who did theoretical/computational dissertations graduated much faster than those who built equipment and did experimental dissertations. I chose the former!

When we speak of the Will of Gd, it should be noted that Gd has free will – if we have free will, certainly Gd does. (We discussed Avicenna’s view of free will a few weeks ago.) This corresponds to the Divine Attribute of Mercy, which makes allowances for circumstances and gives us time to mend our ways if need be. If we step off a moral cliff there may be branches we can grab onto, and a path back to the moral high ground. This freedom of will corresponds to the infinite flexibility and creativity of the Unified Field as Maharishi describes.

Since all of creation is just the internal dynamics of the Unified Field, it follows that all of natural law is structured in the Unified Field, Pure Consciousness. When Pure Consciousness is structured permanently in our awareness all of our actions are in accord with natural law, or in other words, in accord with Gd’s Will. We have made His Will our will. This is perfection in life.


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Re’eh
“Re’eh” means “See!” or “Behold!”.
This is not ordinary seeing. This means “see deeply”, see into the level of life in which Gd’s commandments exist as One with Gd, not just the level at which we might hear them spoken or read them in a text. Moses speaks this word to make sure our ancestors and we see this Wholeness and experience this Wholeness as our Self. So that we naturally choose to follow these commandments and are naturally Blessed rather than Cursed, as they and we would be if we are not open to the Wholeness but only to fragmented aspects of Life and therefore are unable to obey the commandments, even if we wish to.

This “See!” also resonates with the last part of the parshah, in which Moses says that three times a year (at Passover, Shavout, and Succoth,) we should appear before the Lrd–be Seen by the Lrd–in the place which He has chosen—appear in the Temple of the particular tribe to which we belong, so we may bring offerings and be seen there. When we See! In the way Gd and Moses want us to see then when we are Seen by Gd, Gd’s Sight flows through our eyes and we see ourselves as Gd Sees us.

And what is to be seen? The blessing if we hearken to the commandments of the Lord and the curse if we disobey them. When we hearken, we see deeply, we are naturally in tune with Gd, Gd’s Torah, Gd’s commandments and we naturally act in the Glow, Joy and Love of the Blessing.

Imagine Moses speaking with the Voice of Gd to our ancestors: how much the Blessing must have filled them and how unappetizing must have been the Curse.

This was a good preparation for Moses to give our ancestors as they were about to enter into Canaan, the Promised Land. It is a good level of Being that everyone – at any time and in any place – should innocently seek to experience before beginning the day, any day, every day. It is a good level of Being that everyone should innocently tune in to every moment of every day. Innocently. Innocently, meaning, “naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly.”  Gd gives everyone guidance, through Torah, through teachers, through hints, to help everyone tune in and live the Wholeness that spontaneously acts Rightly.

Temple where Gd chooses to put his Name [big mystery]

Maimonides writes: “The location of the Altar [in the Holy Temple] is very exactly defined… It is a commonly-held tradition that the place where David and Solomon built the Altar on the threshing floor of Arona (sic: Arauna), is the very place where Abraham built an altar and bound Isaac upon it; this is where Noah built [an altar] when he came out from the Ark; this is where Cain and Abel brought their offerings; this is where Adam the First Man offered a korban when he was created — and it is from [the earth of] this place that he was created….” from

But why Adam was created from earth on this spot?

There is a tradition that Torah is Gd’s Name, the primordial vibration of Gd, Omnipresent, All-Pervading. All places are Holy. Why did God choose to especially emphasize the power of His Name in a particular place, and why Jerusalem and why the Temple Mount? I’ve looked for answers on the Internet and could not find any.

Perhaps it is a “chok,” a decree of Gd’s that passes understanding. But even so, we can have the fun of attempting to understand and getting closer to Gd through our attempt. There is Gd’s statement, “Man is made in Gd’s Image” and from this standpoint perhaps our planet is also made in Gd’s image, whatever that may mean, and Jerusalem might correspond to the heart or the brain or the navel or the womb of the physiology of our planet; the Temple Mount may correspond to the central portion of one of these. Perhaps it is in this place that we can Hear Name, See His Name and use His Name to call on Him to thank Him, to pray to Him, to ask for forgiveness from Him.

Just as the Mishkan, the Ark in the Wilderness, and the Temples were places where it was easier for people to perceive His Presence, even though His Presence is everywhere, so also the physical location of the Temple likely is a place where people can most easily call on Him, not only perceive Him, but communicate with Him: to speak and also to listen and to See! Not only to speak but to hear and to listen, to see, to Behold!

Irrespective of the details of the physical Temple in Jerusalem, we know that our body and soul are Temples that we need to keep Holy so that Gd’s Presence is in our awareness at all times and in all places.

Just as “Man (humanity) is made in Gd’s image”, so also, we are made in Jerusalem’s image, in the Temple’s Image and we can find Jerusalem within ourselves: our mind, our feelings, our physiology, our soul. And thus, we can See and Hear Gd’s Name, Gd’s Presence – Totality — and restore to ourselves and to the world the reality that all there is Primordial Oneness, within which the duality of Gd and us is experienced as the Play of One. This is Seeing! Hearing! Healing! Holiness! Fulfillment!

Re’eh also warns to beware of false prophets or any others who entice idolatry — this would certainly bring the curse! “Idolatry” means not just worshiping statues of deities but worshiping fragments of Wholeness. Every action we do must be oriented naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly to increase the experience of Wholeness in our life and in all lives. Otherwise, it is oriented to a splinter of reality, a fragment and it is idolatry.

On the Blessing side, Re’eh tells us of Tithing, Charity, the Sabbatical Year in which all loans are forgiven, all slaves freed. This tells us that even on the ordinary level of life, no matter what place on Earth we are, by being good human beings, “loving our neighbor as ourself” we can attune to Gd and enjoy the Blessing – the Blessing is in our good actions, not something we need to wait to inherit.

Similarly, Moses speaks of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals: Passover, Shavuout, Sukkoth: Go to the Temple to appear with offerings before the Lord.

This would certainly be good but we can also find Jerusalem in our heart and make special offerings with our open heart at these special times of year.

Re’eh begins with See! and concludes with: Appear so that you may be seen.

In every generation, especially ours today, we need to live our lives so that every moment we Behold! and every moment we Appear! with offerings, offerings to give back the Blessings we receive and restore ourselves and everyone and everything to Full Awareness: One and Only One! Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omni-Loving, Omni-Joyfully, All-in-All-One!

Baruch HaShem!