GalEinai
Living in Divine Space

Living in Divine Space: Meditation and Kabbalah – Prayer – The Seventh Commandment

We have now constructed a meditational space through which one is to consider himself moving at all times. His consciousness is to be defined in terms of the six continuous commandments outlined above, and thus his mind is able to assimilate all the stimuli that impinge upon his senses in the way most optimal and conducive to productive, holy living. There is, however, a seventh commandment which, although not continuous, "strives" to be so: prayer.

The Torah has specific guidelines as to how often to pray. It is interesting to note the development of these guidelines. According to many halachic authorities, prayer is not counted as one of the 248 commandments of the Written Torah. Others state that whenever we find ourselves in need or trouble, we are commanded to pray to G-d for help. Yet others maintain that the Written Torah requires us to pray on a daily basis.

The Oral Torah and Jewish custom, however, expand the obligation of prayer to three times daily for men and twice for women (Megilah 17b). And finally, the Talmud express the sentiment that

Would that one could pray the whole day,

continuously (Berachot 21a)

expressing the ideal state of constant prayer. Thus we see that prayer-progressing from a zero-to-infinity state-is in the "suspended state" of "becoming" a continuous mitzvah, a full-time part of Jewish consciousness. (In mathematical terms, it is a "limit process," approaching a state of continuum.) It thus "aspires," so to speak, to be one of the continuous commandments.

The meaning of this is as follows:

Even the consciousness produced by living in the meditative space described above, refined and ideal though it may be, is still self-consciousness. One is still aware of himself as he walks through his Divinely–defined space. The ultimate, however, is for one to be so aware of the absolute dependence of all reality on the Divinity pulsating through it that he loses his awareness of self altogether, being instead only aware of "things" (including himself) as being various manifestations of Divinity. As long as one has not reached this level of consciousness-as long as he is still a "separate" being-he remains aware of his own existential lowliness (shiflut), and must "pray," i.e. offer to G-d the consciousness he has been able to construct out of his meditative space. According to the Talmud, prayer corresponds to (and is the inner dimension of) the sacrificial Temple service. In prayer one offers his "self," his "I." Thus, the verse:

and I am prayer (Psalms 109:4),

can be read "and my 'I' is my offering."

In terms of the space-model, this mitzvah is the self-consciousness point situated in the middle of the six-sided Divine-consciousness cube outlined above. Relative to the other six mitzvot, prayer is the geometric central point of the cube, the experience of being "within" Divine consciousness yet not having been totally absorbed in it.

Furthermore, this verse can be read, "And [my whole] 'I,' [my entire existence] is prayer." Prayer, as we have defined it here, is the ultimate expression of the Jewish faith. The Jew believes that in sacrificing his "separate" state of consciousness, he arouses Divine satisfaction, as it were, in the creation of finite reality, the goal of which, ultimately, is the revelation of the absolute Infinity within the finite.

There are several, progressive dimensions in this revelation. The Jew's superrational faith in G-d (which he inherits from his forefathers) is a revelation of the Infinite within the finite: the finite mind is acknowledging or "sensing" the infinite. Yet this is still abstract: the Infinite is not integrated into the finite by this faith. This was made possible only with the giving of the Torah. Through Torah-study, the mind can "grasp" the Infinite, and once it is grasped in the mind, this experience can filter down to the emotional and behavioral facets of life. Nonetheless, the Infinite is still not evident in the body and the physical world. This is accomplished by the performance of the mitzvot, and will be revealed only with the advent of the Mashiach, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the subsequent World to Come.

This is the meaning of the statement of the Midrash (Midrash TanchumaNaso 7:1): "The Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have a dwelling place in lower reality," i.e., the consummation of Creation will be when Divinity is revealed within the physical itself.

Thus, when the Jew says "I am prayer," he is affirming his belief in the Divine revelation of the future, as well as expressing his desire to contribute his part toward the ultimate goal of all creation.

We may summarize the above discussion in the following chart:

1

above

belief in the existence trust and providence of G-d

trust

bitachon

2

below

not to believe in the existence of any other god

sincerity

temimut

3

front

belief in G-d's unity

mercy

rachamim

4

right

meditation on ideas that lead to love of G-d

love

ahavah

5

left

meditation on ideas that lead to fear of G-d

fear

yirah

6

behind

shielding the mind from foreign thoughts

truth

emet

7

within

prayer

lowliness

shiflut

Related posts

Living in Divine Space: Kabbalah and Meditation

Gal Einai

Living in Divine Space: Part 4 – With All My Heart I Seek You

Imry GalEinai

Living in Divine Space: Part 5 – Meditation The Soul and Reality

Imry GalEinai

Leave a Comment

Verified by MonsterInsights