Mashiach and Jewish Leadership

Mashiach and Jewish Leadership: Part 23 – A New Light

A wondrous numerical gem, supporting the ideas thus far presented is found when adding the Hebrew words for "art," omanut, 497, and "science," mada, 114, equaling the word "Torah," 611. The word for "art" is closely related to the word for "faith,"emunah, the highest level of the supra-conscious found in the sefirah ("Divine Emanation") of keter and the ultimate source of inspiration for all creative aspects of the soul. The word for "science" is related to the sefirah of da'at, "knowledge," the culmination of the three conscious sefirot of intellect: chochmah, ("wisdom") binah ("understanding") and da'at.

In certain respects the above numerical equivalent is one of the future, when the "secular" worlds of art and science will not hide spirituality but will actually be converted into vehicles for powerful revelations of Divinity. This idea relates to our previous discussion of how, in the future, action itself will be the source of inspiration, as opposed to present reality when learning inspires action. As the Messianic era approaches, the Torah will equate itself more and more with the spontaneous sense of beauty and thirst for knowledge that is innate in the Jewish soul.

This phenomenon is clearly seen in the recent explosion of books and teachings that reveal Torah wisdom and its relevance to the full gamut of scientific disciplines and contemporary professions. Recent discoveries in the area of quantum physics and cosmology now confirm the Torah account of Creation. Computers are probing the incredible mathematical structure and "codes " hidden in Torah. Modern psychology has developed a language for describing the human personality and consciousness known for ages in Jewish tradition. Torah law, custom and insights are now being recognized as valuable instruments and guidelines for an array of present day difficulties and situations such as the environment, education, sexuality, medical ethics, community structure, the legal system, etc.

In addition, there is an enormous worldwide interest in finding meaning beyond the impersonal and alienating aspects of modern life and culture. This has led to a renewal of interest by Jews and non-Jews alike in the Jewish mystic tradition as embodied in Kabbalah and Chassidut. In a time when many are groping for a sense of purpose and moral guidelines in a rapidly changing world, the Torah stands out as a beacon of light and sanity for all humanity.

As the world becomes increasingly advanced technologically, it is experiencing a paradox inherent in the nature of Creation itself. In one sense, our physical universe reveals G-d's creative power and will, for if He would withdraw His constant support and life-force for even an instant, the world would instantaneously "collapse." In another sense though, the physical world serves as a "curtain" hiding His true infinite Essence from a finite world not really prepared for such direct Divine experience. This is seen in the Hebrew word for "world," olam, having the same root as the word "hiddeness," he'elem. Another well known idiom employed by our sages to express this apparent paradox is: "He is the Place of the world but the world is not His place." The Maggid of Mezeritch drew upon the metaphor of an eagle who, to avoid crushing her young, hovers above her nest when feeding them; "touching yet not touching." The eagle symbolizes G-d in relation to Israel in particular and to the totality of His Creation in general.

Secular knowledge and the high-tech world of today in a similar manner reveal and yet hide G-d's presence in the world. One of the primary changes to occur after the inception of the Messianic era is the "curtain" preventing direct Divine experience will be slowly lifted, in accordance with each soul?s ability to integrate G-d's light. "Mother earth" will then give birth to spiritual pleasures we can not at present even imagine. The true essence of the Creator will reveal itself in every point of the physical creation as the wellsprings of nature generate higher and higher levels of consciousness. Physical beauty at that time will become synonymous with spiritual beauty and wisdom, and technology properly harnessed and channeled will assist man's spiritual development and refinement.

The spiritual light to be revealed in the Messianic era is referred to as a "new light." In Kabbalah, this light comes from even above the "higher darkness," a term used to describe the pre-creation essence of G-d, the "nothing" preceding the "something" of Creation. Only in the Messianic era will this light, hidden within the very essence of G-d, break forth, "surprising" even itself. An allusion to the unbounded joy of this revelation is captured in the hopeful prayer: "a new light will shine on Zion and may we all merit soon to its light."

It is the task of the Jewish leader to draw this new light into our contemporary world and reveal how all reality is a fitting vessel for G-d's infinite light. The more a true Torah perspective is shown to encompass and relate to the here and now and is transmitted in a language the modern world can respect and relate to, the easier the message will be received and accepted. Once again we see how every Jew can contribute to this process within his or her own immediate sphere of influence. Each ripple in the water has a power and momentum to create ever greater circles of spiritual movement until "the knowledge of G-d will fill the world like water covers the sea."

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