Introduction to Jewish Meditation – Part 27

Ever-Expanding Consciousness 

To Meditate is to Build

The word for “meditation” in Hebrew (hitbonenut) is related to the verbal root to build” (baneh). Once the mental structure has been built and the concepts are well­understood, the classic method for “doing” the meditation is to reflect on it before morning prayer, trying to sense the relevance of the concepts to one’s personal life. Then, during prayer, one is to try to sense or contact the Divinity pervading the concepts, i.e., use them as a method of enhancing one’s ever-unfolding and developing “face-to-face” relationship with God.

But a building consists of more than a skeletal frame. Ultimately, meditation consists of adding layers upon layers of “fleshing out” that serve to strengthen and decorate the basic outline. Each level of meditation adds in its own way to the overall potential of the meditation or the appreciation of its astounding beauty–which, of course, implies a heightened appreciation for the beauty of the Torah itself (the Divine blueprint of creation in all of its splendor)–both of which serve to increase the meditation’s potency in affecting the soul, the mind, and one’s life in general.

The Jerusalem of the Future

Of the Jerusalem of the future, it is said:

Jerusalem will be settled as a city without walls…. And I Myself, declares God, will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be a glory inside it

First, it appears that Jerusalem will be “a city without walls”–for no walls will be able to contain its content and it will not need walls for protection–but then God declares that He Himself will be Jerusalem’s “wall of fire.” The teaching is clear: physical walls will be substituted by Divine walls; Jerusalem will become Divine Space–God around and God within.

The Divine “wall of fire” is neither static nor stationary; eternally alive, it continuously expands. “Jerusalem will in the future expand to cover all the land of Israel, and the land of Israel will expand to cover the whole world.” The nature of Divine Space is to at once well-define the boundaries of one’s consciousness while simultaneously causing one’s consciousness to expand until it contains the entire Divine cosmos. This phenomenon is referred to by our sages as “a boundless inheritance,” based on God’s promise to Jacob:

You shall break forth to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south

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