As I begin my three month sabbatical, I want to invite you to travel with me, a soul’s journey. This “candlelit tent” represents the secret place to which the soul retreats while the body rests. The innermost chamber of thought, flickering between reality and dream.
In this place of shadow and light, I will share texts from the Zohar, the “Book of Enlightenment,” which came into being in Spain around 1280. It is one of the foundational works of Kabbalah, Jewish Mysticism, and the text in which I most love to become lost.
Gershom Scholem wrote that Jewish Mysticism is: “The fundamental experience of the inner self which enters into immediate contact with God.”
You are welcome to join me in the tent anytime to revive with a symbolic cup of sweet tea, minted with ancient teachings.
Our first text:
The world was created with these, namely, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. (Zohar II 14-15a)
Wisdom is a hidden and obscure point, an iota into which everything is compacted. It is the essence of all, yet no eye can see it. It is the Garden of Eden, the birthing place of souls, the source of the river of light. It exists prior to the beginning of any creative process. It is an unknowable, negative space, a dot into which everything imaginable and unimaginable is tightly curled waiting and trembling.
Understanding is the palace which enshrines the dot. We can only have awareness of wisdom through its expansion which is understanding. Understanding is the ability to derive one thing from another, to separate and clarify. Through understanding, we recognize the intuitive flash which is wisdom. Understanding is the feminine aspect of potential, and wisdom the masculine. The dot enters the palace, and out of this union is born:
Knowledge is also called ‘attachment’ in that it fastens itself to a concept and becomes one with it. It knows matters wholly. It contains within it all the attributes of emotion. It completes the process of thought and makes it whole. It employs sensing, thinking, intuiting and feeling. The soul is made up of ten parts, three parts intellectual and seven parts emotional. Knowledge links these parts together. Adam knew his wife Eve…
The rabbis say: Abraham is the quality of wisdom. Isaac is the quality of understanding. Jacob is the quality of knowledge.
Questions for you:
Can you identify moments in your life when you have experienced these qualities? Are there concepts or beliefs to which you’ve ever been wholly attached? If you cannot see wisdom, how do you know it is there? Is an infant wise?