Mashiach and Jewish Leadership

Mashiach and Jewish Leadership: Part 33 – Five Levels of Ascent of Consciousness

According to Kabbalah and Chassidut, there will be five general levels of ascent of consciousness in the future, each one corresponding to a stage of development beginning with the Messianic age.

1) The initial revelation of Mashiach and the subsequent changes taking place at that time will all occur within the laws of nature. Maimonides explicitly states that the Mashiach will not have to perform any miracles in order to verify his authenticity. Rather, he will have to accomplish certain tasks which will determine whether he merits to assume the title of Mashiach, "the anointed one." Among the tasks Maimonides lists are: turning the hearts of all of Israel to return to G-d and Torah, fighting the final wars and in so doing establish for eternity Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel, building the third Temple in Jerusalem which will be a "house of prayer for all people," complete the ingathering of the exiles and rectify the entire world so that all humanity will universally recognize and worship G-d. Maimonides emphasizes that all these events will be accomplished without the need to abrogate or nullify the current laws of nature.

2) As the above changes occur and their effects assert themselves within human consciousness, physical reality will begin a transformational process, becoming ever more spiritual in its essential nature. Maimonides concludes his explanation by stating: "In that time there will be no hunger nor war; and no jealousy or competition. Goodness will abound greatly and all sorts of delicacies will be found like the dust. There will be no occupation in the world other than to know G-d, as it says 'for the earth will be full of the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the seas.'" When compared to our present state of reality and our far from perfect human nature, we see that what Maimonides described as a natural development is in fact what we now term "supernatural." This is similar to the second dynamic where the drive to perfection draws the future into the present, transmuting the "supernatural" into normative reality.

3) When reality has been refined to such an extent that physical matter becomes a perfect vessel for spiritual energy, the "resurrection of the dead" will occur. At that stage, body and soul become completely complementary, united in harmonious union. Eternal life, the "birthright" of humanity, will triumph over the forces of entropy and death, which will be "sucked" out of reality and subsequently will cease to exist. The term, the "world-to-come," is employed by the sages to describe this eventual reality when eternal life will prevail.

4) The world-to-come, initially manifest in the third stage, reaches its full revelation in the seventh millennium, "a time that is completely likeShabbat." At this level, all reality achieves a consummate state of rest and spiritual bliss. It is also the time when each soul receives its due reward for all the good it did in life. All that was hidden from our eyes in this world will then be revealed.

5) The last stage of spiritual and physical refinement is referred to by the sages an era of "fifty-thousand jubilees." Every seventh year in the land of Israel was the Sabbatical year, when the land rested and lay fallow, debts were annulled, and people dedicated themselves to learning Torah. At the conclusion of seven Sabbatical cycles, the fiftieth, or jubilee year was celebrated. There was an additional year of rest for the land, slaves were freed and land reverted back to its original owner. The jubilee year, like the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai fifty days after leaving Egypt, represents the culmination and completion of a Torah cycle. The expression–"fifty-thousand jubilees"–symbolizes a state of infinite revelation and elevation, as is stated regarding the righteous of the future who will ascend "from strength to strength." This level of consciousness unites the seemingly opposite state of eternal rest achieved at the previous level with continual spiritual ascension.

At all five ascending levels of consciousness, and especially in the state of continual ascension, each previous level becomes like nothing relative to its succeeding new level. This can be clearly seen in the material realm where a point, representing one dimension, becomes incorporated into and nullified within a two-dimensional line. The line in turn becomes like nothing to a plane, which again loses identity within a three dimensional cube. In postulating the fourth dimension of time, Einstein revealed that matter is in essence pure energy. In the four dimensional model of reality matter becomes ethereal and "transparent." The Sefer Yetzirah speaks of a fifth dimension, an infinite coordinate of moral depth. Every additional dimension makes the previous state of reality appear to be null in relation to it.

Although our world appears to be three dimensional we can nevertheless be aware that there are other levels of reality beyond what our physical senses can immediately detect. In modern physics the "string theory," based on pure mathematical logic, actually postulates either ten or twenty-six dimensions. It is very interesting to note that both these numbers are extremely important in Kabbalah. Ten represents, among many phenomenon, the ten sefirot (the Divine radiances or powers upon which all reality is constructed)and twenty-six–the numerical value of the essential four-letter Name of G-d Havayah (yud, kay, vav, kay.)

A true vision of redemption depends on the ability of the individual to add new dimensions of spiritual attainment until now hidden and unrevealed. For this to occur there must be some concept as how present "confined" reality will give birth to an infinitely broader perception of life; how the future will sprout out of the present. In order to strengthen our faith in an infinitely more beautiful future, we must establish tangible signposts in the present, so we can already envision what the future has in store for us.

It is the task of the leader to create facts that bridge the present and future. By creating deeply moving moments and peak experiences, a leader reveals the world-to-come as a world that is becoming. By pioneering new models of understanding and improving our present world he becomes an active agent of redemption.



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