Monday, November 30, 2009

The Torah's mysticism


"Ramban and the mystics wrote that 'heavens and earth' include the world of Divine influence. This has a place, but not in the simple explanation, for in the simple explanation the Torah is called 'an expert pedagogue.' The Torah did not inform us at all about the hidden elements of creation; it spoke only about the worlds that are known to all..."

(Malbim to Bereishit 1:1, note ב)

Have a great day,

1 comment:

  1. As a non-Jew (I was brough up Christian) my intention here is to suggest that the mystical experience occurs when one analyzes things already known. Is there a basis for this? Alfred North Whitehead wrote in his book, Science and the Modern World, "Familiar things happen and mankind does not bother about them." Hegel said, "Because it's familiar, a thing remains unknown." Gibran gave us this: "The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it." Gustav Ichheiser, a psychologist said, "Nothing evades our attention as persistently as that which is taken for granted." Several other prominent names said much the same as these individuals. The mystical experience takes place when one analyzes something he or she knew before, but only on the surface. When very young we learn things, but not intuitively. One of the things we become aware of is the fact that we think. We know we have "hang-ups." Only when we go back and see what our thoughts, hang-ups, temptations, attachments and cravings have in common can we gain the higher state of mind -- ultimate reality. Some have called it God! This includes Philo of Alexandria in 2100 who said that God is ultimate reality. The Torah's mysticism is no different than any other mysticism. The basis for a mystical experience is the same no matter the religion. The priceless, precious state attained by mystics need no longer remain esoteric, for it now has a basis, evidence and logic. When one analyzes things already known, insight is triggered. Example: Untold millions saw lightning in the skies. Benjamin Franklin however, for whatever reason, looked at lightning and obviously wondered about it. He realized that perhaps this act of nature could be harnessed. As a result, electricity was born. That was a gift of insight. The same holds true with our thinking. When we begin to analyze it, insight will eventually be triggered. Because the so-called mystical experience has been "mystical", we tend to ignore it. Now, with a basis, we can have the desire to reach for it. Given it is still an unknown (and remains so until it is experienced), we must, must, must stay with it. This requires faith. Faith must be shifted from the skies, heavens and gods or God above, to the analysis of familiar, obvious and known things, and things we take for granted. It is there insight will be triggered. Just as a question and an answer have insight as a nexus, so too science and religion have insight as their nexus. Consciousness (which is studied by both science and religion) can and will be understood once one chooses to seek the mystical state.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Emmanuel J. Karavousanos
    Author and Speaker