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Parashat Va’era 5781 — 01/16/2021

Parashat Va’era 5781 — 01/16/2021

In loving memory Steve Shirtcliff 

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.

Shemot 6:2-9:35

Last week we began a tangent on the subject of having “all knowledge in seed form.” This is an important point in Vedic Science, and indeed for our understanding of the process of gaining knowledge in general. It also bears on a number of puzzling statements that our Sages make about the Patriarchs and about Moshe Rabbeinu, and I think it will shed some light on Rambam’s understanding of the nature of prophecy.

Recall our analogy between the Unified Field of physics and our understanding of the nature of consciousness given by Vedic Science. The Unified Field is in fact the only reality; everything that we see around us is simply a pattern of vibration of the Unified Field. The fact that the chair that I’m sitting on appears solid is due to the fact that certain patterns of vibration of the Unified Field interact in a particular way with certain other patterns of vibration, such that one pattern cannot occupy the same space as the other. Hence the chair supports me against gravity (which itself is a pattern of vibration of the Unified Field). This logic can be extended to all the laws of nature governing the forms and phenomena of everyday life, as well as every single particle and its interactions with every other particle around it. The laws of nature that govern all the interactions found on all levels of creation are actually the laws of the internal dynamics of the Unified Field.

Similarly, according to Vedic Science, there is a field of Pure Consciousness that underlies all reality, subjective and objective. This field is completely abstract and transcendental to all forms and phenomena, both physical and non-physical. Maharishi has described it as pure Being or pure Existence, because it is the “substance” of which everything is made. “Being,” however, does not capture all the qualities of this field. Being is inert, the way matter is inherently inert. What animates matter is consciousness. (The word “animate” comes from the Latin anima = soul, breath, or, in our terms, consciousness.) Similarly, what animates Being is its own nature as Consciousness. Being, as Being, is inanimate. Being, as Consciousness, becomes animate.

The basis of this process of animation is the Self-referral nature of Pure Consciousness. When we normally think of consciousness, we think of being conscious of something outside of ourself, some object of perception. We, our consciousness, is the subject, or the observer, the object of perception is the object, or observed, and there is a process of observation that links the two. Since the subject and the object are distinct, there are three components to the relationship.
In the case of Pure Consciousness, which is unbounded, purely abstract, and transcendental to all finite existence, Consciousness itself must take on the roles of both Observer and Observed, as well as the process of observation – there is nothing else that can fulfill those roles after all. So, although Pure Consciousness is one unbroken Unity, by virtue of its nature as Consciousness a virtual duality, as it were, is set up within the nature of Unity. If this appears paradoxical, that’s because it is – from our finite point of view. From the point of view of Unity, all the paradoxes of the world of duality cease to exist.

I might point out that in physics, the quality of self-reference shows up in the non-linearity of the equations governing the system we are considering. A linear system is one where inputs (stimuli) and outputs (responses) go in lockstep – double in input, you get double the output. In some cases, this is good – the speaker in your sound system should respond in a linear way to the input from the playback device. If the input’s amplitude is too large, the speaker’s response will stop being linear and the waveform of the input will be distorted.

While linear systems are sometimes useful, and are always easier to understand, they are inherently rather boring. Whatever you put in, you get back out. There is nothing new that is created. A non-linear system, on the other hand, has the property that it interacts with itself, creating feedback loops that can, under the right conditions, amplify fluctuations in the behavior of the system, so that the system makes a transition to a more highly structured state. Examples in nature abound, because there are no truly linear systems in nature. A simple example is the air above a hot plate. While the hot plate is off the air is quiescent. When we turn the hot plate on, the bottom air gets hot and starts to rise. At the same time, cooler air from around the sides of the hot plate descends and moves inwards to replace the heated, rising air. Convection cells form, which are a higher level of structure than the plain, quiescent air, and are also a more efficient way of transporting the heat away from the hotplate and into the surrounding environment.

Next week we will see how this understanding of non-linearity works in the physics of fields, and especially the Unified Field, and we will then go on to see how it applies to Pure Consciousness, and how that in turn illuminates the nature of human knowledge.


Commentary by Steve Sufian

Parashat Va’era

“Va’era” means “And he appeared.”  Gd answers Moses’ complaint that Pharaoh has not listened to his message from Gd: let my people go. Gd tells Moses that He is appearing to Moses in Full Strength to deliver the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He will make them a great nation.

Exodus 6:2 “Gd spoke to Moses and He said to him, “I Am the Lrd.”

Exodus 6:31 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob with [the Name] Almighty Gd but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them.”

As “Elohim” Gd speaks to Moses. He tells him He is “YudHeWawHe.” He then tells Moses that he appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as “EL ShaDaI but as “YudHeWawHe” He did not become known by them (Rashi’s commentary).

Assuming this is so, we’ll tentatively look at YHWH as describing four different levels through which God, Totality, Appears within HimSelf, within Gd. These levels range from Maximum Abstraction to Maximum Concreteness – the four worlds of Kabbalah: Beriyah, Atzilut, Yetzirah and Asiyah; from this point of view Gd is telling Moses that He is giving him the whole range (manifest, at least) of existence and this should give Moses confidence that although Pharaoh and the Children of Israel have not listened to Moses so far, they WILL listen because now Gd is giving him Total Support so Moses should do as Gd commands – tell Pharoah to free Gd’s people.

There seems to be a hierarchy through which Gd is recognized by humans and it seems that neither Abraham, Isaac nor Jacob recognized the Full Wholeness within which the Hierarchy exists—they did not experience complete Oneness, despite Torah telling us that Abraham was “given every blessing”. Something seems to have been left out of their awareness but that seems to be given to Moses—at least, Gd is presenting Gd to Moses from all levels of Hierarchy, and from the Wholeness within which they are increasingly “manifest” expressions.

In the rest of the Parshah, Gd tells Moses that He will bring about 10 plagues through Moses and Aaron, hardening Pharaoh’s heart each time so that Pharaoh, who has denied Gd as One, will come to recognize that Gd is One, within whom all the Egyptian deities are but small expressions. These plagues occur and Pharaoh says He will let the Israelites go but Gd hardens his heart and he changes his mind.

We might look at the physiological symbolism of Gd, Moses, Pharaoh, Egypt, Plagues and Promised Land from many angles. Dr.Tony Nader, whose books on Human Physiology and Ramayan in Human Physiology are familiar to many Beth Shalom congregants, presents a model which we might adapt to Torah for those people, places, things and events for which I have as yet found no Kabbalistic physiological representation.

For example, Gd would be the Total Physiology but also at every level of physiology He would be the Totality but especially the Central Governing Aspect, the central nervous system. Canaan, the Promised Land, would correspond to a healthy physiology; Egypt would correspond to a stressed physiology. Pharaoh particularly would correspond to a stressor of the whole physiology.

Also, the six levels of the cerebral cortex, the CEO of the physiology, might correspond to the six days of Creation, the twelve cranial nerves might correspond to the 12 tribes of the Children of Israel, the 24 chromosomes in the DNA (sic – ed.) might correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet plus the long and short vowels.

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg in his book “Body, Mind and Soul”: Kabbalah on Human Physiology, Disease and Healing’”, says that all disease results from a lack of gratitude. From this angle, the slavery in Egypt resulted from our ancestor’s losing the ability to be aware of Gd as the Source of All Goodness. The return to freedom results from returning to recognition of Gd as the Source of All and from increasingly living their lives with a desire to attune to Him in gratitude—not as a mood but as the natural reality which occurs as we respect others, are kind to them, grateful to them, and through our respect for them, respect Gd, Gd’s Kindness and are grateful to Gd. Our gratitude rises to the level where we “Love Gd with all our heart, all our soul, all our might.”

In present times and in any time, our return to freedom occurs the same way.

Torah study – listening, reciting, thinking about and acting in accord with – is a good tool to bring us into alignment with Gd and naturally to good health, good relations with others and to heal our planet and our world: physically, symbolically, spiritually. Prayer can express our reverence and our gratitude, especially the prayers of our siddur (prayer book) which generally do not ask Gd for help but praise Gd for His Qualities, beyond our ability to know intellectually as an Object of our awareness: He is only Known to Himself and only by rising to the Level of Oneness with Gd can we experience our individual human self as an Expression of Gd and thus bring Full Knowing into our awareness which has become Awareness.

I continue to be very encouraged with the great friendliness, love and joy that I experience in so many of our Fairfield residents and very strongly in our Beth Shalom Congregation. I am very confident that the spiritual exile, the illness of our planet, the enslavement in the restrictions of limited awareness, is ending and that we are participating in ending it and I am confident that many of us are coming very close to Gd and will return to Oneness, beyond the duality of Gd and creation – no plagues needed!

Baruch HaShem!