Introduction to Jewish Meditation – Part 26

The Point Within

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

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. Accordingly, the verse quoted above can be read: “And [my whole] ‘I’ [i.e., my entire existence] is prayer.”

There are several, progressive dimensions in this revelation. The Jew’s super­-rational faith in God (which he inherits from his forefathers) is a revelation of the Infinite within the finite: the finite mind acknowledges or “senses” 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 Messiah, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the subsequent World to Come.

This is the meaning of the statement of the Midrash: “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 will be 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.

In Summary

To summarize all the seven commandments outlined above (the six continuous commandments of the Torah and the seventh commandment that strives to become continuous, prayer):

above

belief in the existence and providence of God

trust

below

not to believe that there are any other gods

sincerity

front

belief in God’s unity

mercy

right

meditation on subjects that lead to love of God

love

left

meditation on subjects that lead to fear of God

fear

back

shielding the mind from negative thoughts

truth

within

prayer

lowliness

 

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