Friday, November 29, 2013

Joy in the Ark

Sometimes, on a nice day like today, I really suspect that Black folks have what to gain by living according to the Torah.  They don't even necessarily have to become Jewish, but at least perfect their middot (character traits) and live according to G-d's will.

I want to explore why...

Before this,  I just want to reiterate the mitzvah process according to Rabbi Nachman...

First someone gets it in their mind to do a mitzvah (commandments). That joy corresponds to malchut (which corresponds to the woman).

Next they go.  They walk or run and head to wherever they need to go to prepare for the mitzvah. This corresponds to Malchut going up to surround Netzach, Hod, Yesod (this is like the right leg, the groin, and the left leg of the man, respectively).  Like a union  -- like a cup holding another cup. Whenever Malchut meets with Yesod its like girl meets boy. Sparks fly, arousal happens. Its electrifying and sensual.

So they are going to do the mitzvah and are moving purposefully.  Seeing this causes other people to also get excied and to be aroused and want to do mitzvot as well.

Then, When everything is ready, now comes the blessing. The person makes the blessing as do others. Blessings are coming from within us and also Above is showering us with blessings from on High as well. Blessings all around.  This is Netzach, Hod, and Yesod (legs and groin area) encircling Chessed, Gevurah, and Tifferet (right arm, left arm, and chest).

One blessing or gift that comes from on High as we say the blessing for the mitzvah is intellect --that is Chessed, Gevurah, Tifferet going up to surround Chochmah, Binah and Da'at.

After this, it would be good to have faith.  Faith is like the crown that seals the intellect in. This corresponds to keter. Keter (crown) is an interesting thing.  It holds our knowledge in us, but it also prevents us from going out of bounds.  Keeping us from losing our minds asking difficult questions that don't have answers for our time and space. This is not to say we shouldn't ask them. Each time our minds try to race out to get the answers, though, it hits on keter and bounces back.  According to Rabbi Nachman, this running and returning makes tiny little holes -- like a window or a precious stone that allows us to see deep within us the answer -- to to peer through to the outside for the answers even though we may not be able to articulate it. Its like we are given a glimpse of it, even though we may not understand it because it goes beyond the bounds of our capacity at the moment.

Perhaps a simpler way of imagining this is to imagine that we have a crown. On the inside of the crown is faith/emunah  and on the outside part is Malchut. The inside of the crown is the keter which is the last part of the whole ladder we described (this ladder is a.k.a sephirot) of this plane, and the outside part of the crown is the Malchut-the first part of the ladder.  And  this ladder is stacked on top of a previous ladder which has the same rungs (Malchut, Netzach, Yesod, etc) which is stacked on top of a previous ladder, etc and so on.

So, basically we have the same thing from Malchut til Keter again and again and again. Planes after planes of it.  It can potentially go one for who knows how far up or down.

So lets say the plane that comes just before the human one is the animal plane.  The animals have one mitzvah to do - to be fruitful and to multiply. Once they reach that level, they can potentially be at the "keter" point for animals.

Let's say, some got to that point and could see that there is so much more to life than what they are doing.  If only they could graduate to the level of humans, they'd have so much more mitzvot to do! But how? How can they change?

Now lets say, the smartest of them, the most cunning --the snake realizes that to get past their own glass ceiling, they'd have to take the crown by force.  So, the snake, with no scruples, marches over to Chavah/Eve and tricks her into "dropping her crown."  causing her to sin and to fall down a notch..

As a result, the animals scored 1 and the humans scored 0.

But no good deed goes unpunished, as they say.  So the punishment of the nachash/the snake were many. He is made to eat dust all his life, to slide around, his skin was afflicted as well, etc. (It makes sense that his skin should be affected since he took or entered the Malchut which is the "outer garment" or the clothes of the next plane).

But he did good for the animals.  If the Torah was written from the perspective of the animals, I seriously wonder if the nachash/serpent would have been like a queen Esther (l'havdil!!).

So the animals have a victory -- at least the snakes do.  They went beyond their keter and onto malchut of the next plane -the human plane.  But that is not the end of the game.  They are still edging onwards.  In the time of Noach, Noach put all the animals into the ark -which is like keter- seals it and waits while it rains for 40 days and nights.

As if to say, Noach takes his sons (Shem, Hham, and Yaffet) and all the animals and tries to keep to the level of keter. But the animals refuse to stay put.  Of the animals, the raven and the dog are said to have copulated in the ark.  What could that really mean?  For sure, it probably means what it says literally.  But it could also mean that again these animals broke the keter barrier and reached malchut again.  Malchut meeting with Yesod, remember, is like copulating.

This time, it was the brave dog who did it, not the cunning, conniving snake. Reaching Malchut and getting swallowed up in the process of Malchut going up to Netzach, Hod, yesod -the place of arousal- makes that man loves dogs.

Its no surprise, then, that men love dogs. Dogs are like man's companion, their "best friend."  That is their reward -- er- punishment.  They are made to be tied. From the side of the animals -again, they scored. They are put right by the side of man. It may seem nebuch from a human perspective --to be tied up.  So for their efforts, its slammed as a punishment.   

Each time the animals try to go past their barrier, depending on how they are, so is the resulting "punishment". 

I remember when my family tried to get a dog, we would look at each dog.  The ones who were frowny or angry looking, we didn't want.  Dogs like those, even though they may be due to be tied, who would want to tie them? But the pleasant looking dogs, with good countenances, everyone will snatch them up quickly and love them. The ones who exudes joy are the ones who go up the sephirot.

But one other copulated in the ark.

It was a human.

The human is already on the human plane. So when  he tried to break through his keter level, what would be the next plane he would reach?  Does he have joy on his face and in his heart in order to receive the "punishment" thereof?

True, he was striken in his skin --that makes absolute sense.  Just as Malchut is the cup that surrounds everything in the next plane, so too, he becomes that malchut, like the clothes of the next plane. But depending on his countenance, depending on the amount of joy he has in his heart, it could be the difference between being cursed to want to change his skin constantly (like the snake) or to be allowed into the higher realms.

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