Sunday, November 19, 2017

Image of God

The Book of Genesis assures that all humans are created in God’s image (1:26). This is mentioned first in the account of creation and reiterated later to Noah after the flood, when God reminds him why human life is sacred (9:6). Therefore, the sacredness of every human life cannot be ignored - regardless of the atrocities that humans seem capable of. Yes, we have to concentrate on our better side to get a better result out of this sacred project called, “humanity”.

Somehow, we need to learn how to recognize the divine image in ourselves and in others. In most cases, one needs to learn how to manifest his/her own divine image before being expected to recognized it in others too. Of course there’s the (currently) rare exception of a human being whose divine image is so fully manifest that s/he can serve as a model for others But, today such a person, who can easily serve as a light for others, is not commonly found.

It makes sense to me that manifesting one’s personal divine image and recognizing it in others is the spiritual project meant to be shared by all human beings. However, we need to be able to identify what a “divine image” even is before we can talk about proactively manifesting it.

At the very least it means that there’s something divine in the soul of every human being which is not shared by the rest of creation present in the physicality of the universe. It’s not simply speech or even intelligence, as the snake in the Garden of Eden had both and still didn’t have a divine image.

Obviously, a divine image does not mean that God’s essence has an image. Images are limitations, as they have boundaries. God is absolutely Infinite. Nothing of boundaries can be ascribed to Him. However, His revelations within finite realms, can take on finite forms. However, they are not Him. They are merely His projections. These projections or revelations are from Him, but they are not Him. It’s in this spirit that the Midrash describes Him as alternatively appearing like a warrior at the Red Sea and as a white haired sage at Mount Sinai. Also in this spirit, the prophet Ezekiel described what he prophetically envisioned as bearing “a likeness as the appearance of a man” (Ezekiel 1:26).

The Biblical commentary “Kli Yakar” picks up on this and explains that it’s possible that human souls derive from the prophetic image of man which God projects to represent Himself to the prophets (Genesis 1:26). In this sense, we are created in the image of God, that manlike image which God sometimes uses in prophetic revelation. In other words, the image which the prophets see, is not just mental imagery. It has a spiritual reality, no less than souls or angels do.

So what does this manlike image stand for, which is common to all human beings? Quite possibly, it stands for the revelation of unity in a world of separation. This unity is not intended to dislodge distinctions, but, rather to unify them. Without distinctions, there would be many unified facets and potentials which would never find their way into revelation. For example, without cellular differentiation during gestation the genetic potentials for various body parts (like arms, legs, torso, ears, eyes..) would never manifest. Such bio-distinctions are hugely valuable for the vast unifying genetic potentials they tease out. On the other hand, without a unifying life force streaming into all these distinct body parts of what use would they be? Proper coordination between them would be mostly or even entirely lacking. These precious distinctions require a unifying connection.

In humans, the image of God or the soul, is this unifying connection on the biological level. However, that’s just the start of what the image of God does within a human being; as it’s largely passive and not proactive. Each creature from the plants, the fish to the massive mammals have some spiritual force, which they’re passive to, also accomplishing the coordination of all their parts. Such a force within them is not yet called having the image of God. The real experience of the image of God is more active. It truly manifests when humans actively unify the diversity found their personal life situations and in those of others too.

The cultivation of this sensitivity and skill begins with a worldview which appreciates both sides of the equation, both the unity and the diversity. Understanding that life does not automatically come with both sides working well together, one calls on his/her desire to give (and sometime even his/her desire to receive) to promote this sacred project. In today's world, it seems to be our active work as a force for unity amid the plentiful diversity is what best manifests the image of God in each and every one of us.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee, Turkish coffee,
 I used to think of you as mud!

I’d glance beneath surface,
 N’ behold a swamp in my mug!

The mire was deep enough,
 To house half my pinky within.

Now that my Wife prepares it,
 So deliciously filled with her love,

Neath surface all I can see,
 Is sediment of her sentiment!



Amidst Paradox

If paradox scares you,
 N’ makes your head spin,

Then make it a subject,
 Of your daily meditation.

Chart its two dots,
 In absolute opposition.

Then draw a line,
 Right between them.

A “line” but not,
 A literal geometric line.

Rather a string of ideas,
 Like beads along a necklace.

Perhaps, this string,
 Is not even really linear.

It may snake and curve,
Setting new dots on its way,

To expose pearly depths,
 Gleaming amidst paradox.


Your sweat is worth it!
 Your wisdom will glow radiant,

As each paradox,
  Signals an awaiting depth.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Soul n’ Brain

I am particularly perturbed by experts who proclaim that there is no need for a soul to explain the psychological aspects of life. They feel that because they can concretely point to a neurological process, the whole human mind can be explained exclusively on biological terms. This is a very superficial perspective.

The biological brain is merely a very complex vessel to receive the spiritual influx of a soul. Of course, tweaking any vessel will affect its capacity to hold. Just try passing a pin through a plastic cup containing water and see what happens.

So too, tweaking the biological brain will affect its capacity to grasp, carry and convey the influx of the soul. That does not mean that biological life is soulless. It just means that the precise and complex vehicle to convey the soul has been compromised. A brain damaged person is by no means a soul damaged person.

I remember reading an account of a neuroscientists who boasted that there's really nothing meaningful to an out of body experience because he induced one by tinkering with a certain nerve. Reading this account, I wondered at the amount of bias this scientist brought to his work. Why didn't it occur to him that he discovered a way to expel the soul from the body? Don't worry; a week later, the same magazine featured another scientific personality who was making a case for near death experiences.  LOL!

But, my point is that it should occur to thought leaders in the neuroscientific world that just because you tinkered with the radio does not mean that you tinkered with the broadcast. The brain is like a radio picking up the broadcast of the soul (which is not in physically defined space).

Actually, a computer would be a better analogy than a radio. The wireless internet flow can be compared to the soul and the electrical juice to the biological food. Diminishing or enhancing a computer’s functioning has no impact on the wireless stream of information flowing from the internet, only to the computer’s capacity to process and convey it. Imagine a computer technician boldly declaring that there's no such a thing as internet because he can fiddle with a few wires and internet capacity is suddenly turned off. Furthermore, he concludes that the internet is really something generated from within the computer itself. It has no external source! I He’d be declared an instant laughingstock!

However, this is equivalent to what neuroscientists do when they suggest subtly or more openly that a human has no soul just because they successfully tinkered with the organ which receives flow of the soul, processes it and then conveys it. How sad!

Studying the soul itself is really outside the scope of the field of neuroscience. They shouldn't be the one's purporting to inform the public on such matters. That would be like an lawyer posing as a physician. They’re two separate fields. It just doesn't work!

I cannot say for sure who is qualified to responsibly share such notions with the wider public, in a way that makes it across religious and cultural lines. However, honest silence is better than misinformation. Also, there's a body of responsible research done on large pools of people who had near death experiences and underwent past life regression. I am sure that much information about the human soul can be gleaned from there in a way that can be accepted across the wider sweep of religious and cultural boundaries.


Reflections on Einstein’s Relativity

In consideration of the issue of what moves around what in space, Einstein’s Relativity, I wonder about the following. Couldn’t the problem be solved by a method to detect and delineate the shape of the displaced of space fabric?

The whole theory of gravity from a relativity perspective is explained by displacement of the fabric of space. The larger the object the greater the displacement. In turn, this causes other objects to alter their course. As an object moves, it should also displace the fabric of space. So, if a large body leaves its displacement in a relatively stable area and a smaller body is constantly changing its spot of displacement relative to the large body, wouldn’t then we then say that in this scenario it was the smaller body which has moved?

I am aware of the challenges to making such discoveries. Firstly, the scientific community doesn’t even yet know what the fabric of space is, let alone how to measure it or it’s displacement (though they can now detect gravity waves, which is part of this puzzle). From a Kabbalistic perspective, I suspect that the fabric of space is an afterglow of pre-big bang energy has lingered and coarsened, so it can participate in the physical universe, as the fabric of space. This follows the pattern of the reshimu after the tzimtzum. The big bang seems to me to be the physical realm’s echo of the tzimtzum, which would make the fabric of space it’s relative reshimu.

However, regardless of the Kabbalistic possibilities, the fact remains that scientifically the fabric of space is uncharted territory that can really answer a lot of questions.

The other day, when thinking about the fabric of space, I contemplated how it exerts gravity. It occurred to me that when a large item is inserted into space, the displaced space fabric is bunched up around it - and quite possibly for a huge distance around it, though the bunching may soften up as it gets further and further away from the large body causing the displacement. So, in essence the fabric space is much more concentrated around the body causing the displacement than further out. The concentration of the fabric causes it to push harder against the body than it would in an area of space devoid of stellar or planetary bodies (if such a thing exists). It’s like a displaced piece of rubber trying to push back. This greater the displacement, the thicker (the more concentrated) the stretched rubber and the greater the push back. It’s this push back that we think of as gravity. For example, it’s what’s pushing us up against our planet.

Now if space is a fabric of sorts, it’s difficult to imagine it also as time. Time does seem like it’s stuff. I think each unit of space fabric is assigned its own time reality (for a lack of better term). A unit of space may either contain its own time reality or be contained by its own time reality. Either way, for the purpose of this essay’s focus it amounts to the same thing.

As an organic organism is made up of many cells, so too space fabric can be made up of discrete units of space, with each unit having it’s own assigned time reality. So, it’s not that’s that a unit of space fabric is time itself, rather it has a distinct time reality associated with it. For example, the human body contains millions upon millions of cells. Most cells (except for red blood cells) contain DNA. This fact, does not mean the cells are DNA. They’re discrete units of life, which also happens to contain DNA. If there happen to be a thick concentration of cells, then there will also be a thick concentration of DNA material.   

So, when concentrated space fabric is bunched up around a planet, there’s also a bunching of the time realities associated with these space fabric units. Much like a thick concentration of cells also means a thick concentration of DNA. The encounter with such a huge concentration of time causes time to slow down. This is why the bigger the planet, the slower the time. The universe is older from Jupiter’s perspective than it is from earth’s perspective. I wonder what might be the age the universe from a zero gravity perspective.

Now how does this account for going faster in space means going slower in time? When one zooms through space, one accelerates one’s encounters with units of space fabric and hence, also their associated time realities. So moving into them fast, forces an encounter with huge pools of time realities at once. Like gravity, this too slows down the experience of time; causing one to “time travel”. It’s the same idea as gravity. It’s an encounter with a huge concentration of space fabric causing an encounter with a huge concentration of time realities. Moving through more of these time realities slows time down.

I wonder about the relationship of space fabric and the material (including energy) around us. Since space is a fabric of sorts (using the word loosely), did somehow the material (including energy) around us arise from space fabric? Is space fabric a kind of proto version of the stuff which stars and planets are made of? Right now, I have no clue. These are just questions for further thought.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Manna Through the Clouds

Succot Reflections 5778:

The Zohar emphasizes what it means that the clouds of glory came as a result of the merit of Aaron. It explores many of its implications. Somehow, this got me thinking about the clouds of glory’s interaction with the manna. In the desert, the 12 tribes were covered by the clouds of glory. But, those outside the camp, like the mixed multitude, weren’t. Their nature was that they were rabble rousers and so, they were antithetical to what Aaron stood for, loving peace and pursuing peace. Therefore, they weren’t covered by the clouds, which were brought about in Aaron’s merit.  However, since Moses prayed for them to be included in the exodus, they still received the manna which was brought in Moses’ merit.

When the manna reached the 12 tribes, it had to pass these clouds of glory and were no doubt affected by them. The clouds, likely, processed the manna further – improving the manna for consumption. However, when the manna reached the surrounding encampment, outside the clouds, it did not get that processing. It just dropped down as it was. This may reconcile two accounts of the manna. One account is that it tasted like anything anyone wanted. Another account is that it was “unsatisfying bread” and was like coriander seed, in need of further processing. It’s possible that for those who received their manna through the clouds, it tasted like anything that they wanted and was perfectly satisfying. For those who received the manna beyond the reach of the clouds, it was like coriander seed, required preparation and had a fixed taste; probably, good, but fixed – one that someone can get bored of.

On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we prayed for the manna for the year. Our portion of blessing is a physical expression of the manna. Then on Succot, we eat in a succah, which is a physical expression of the clouds of glory. By doing so, in effect we are asking for our manna to be come through the clouds of glory and be sweetly processed by them; to receive the manna in a way that loves peace, pursues, loves creations and brings them close to Torah.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017



Human thinking,
Begins with,
Ends with,
Never escapes,

God's thinking,
Begins not,

Ends not,

Never asks,