Parashat Eqev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Ve-hayah eqev tishme’un… There is a rabbinic tradition that whenever a Torah teaching begins with “ve-hayah,” it is going to reveal a secret key to true joy.  The infinite levels of Torah can never be exhausted, and this is what I am hearing now:

You will be able to be happy even during the time called “footsteps of the Messiah,” when mashiach consciousness manifests itself, even though that is a time of perilous destruction, wars and terror.  How? “(only) if you really pay attention to these mishpatim.” (Devarim 7:12).

Because if you really do that, in your consciousness, and live accordingly, “the Lord of Be-ing who G-d’s you, will deliver Her primordial, promised flow of Great Kindness.” (Devarim 7:12).

What does it mean “to really pay attention to these mishpatim?”  Reb Nosson of Nemirov, the greatest disciple of the Rebbe of Rebbes, Reb Nachman ben Feiga of Breslov, offers an insight into the meaning of “mishpatim.”  “Mishpatim” (apportionments), refers to the awesome divine process that determines the specific and exact portion of abundance that each manifest entity is constantly receiving and will continue to receive as long as it exists. When we shift our view from the chronically disappointing one, where it seems that attaining what we want is a matter of desperate competition between groups and individuals here on the earth plane, to a contemplation of these hidden “mishpatim,” by virtue of which every entity receives what is coming to it, we have entered the mind state called “da’at.”  As our Rabbis teach, “If you don’t have da’at, what have you acquired? But, if you acquire da’at, what do you lack?” (Kohelet Rabbah 7:32)

And so, the parashah teaches if you really are mindful of “these mishpatim” and evolve to the level of “da’at,” (true knowing), then “(the Lord of Be-ing) will love you, and bless you, and increase your influence…”  (Devarim 7:12).  Thus you may yet find yourself in a self-sustaining world, where everything necessary is replenished and nothing is lacking.

About now you may be tempted to say, but this is impossible; the problems of the period called “footsteps of the Messiah,” are just too great for us to overcome.” (Devarim 7:17). Torah says: “Never fear, the remedy is to always remember the awesome breakthroughs that the Lord of Be-ing that G-ds you has already accomplished.” (Devarim 7:18).  We always have much more working for us than we ever know.  “So don’t be distraught in the face of these challenges, because the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you is always right there with you, a Power that is greater and more Awesome (than anything that we can ever imagine).” (Devarim 7:17, 18, 21).

Remember that the way, according to which, the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you has been leading us has never been easy, but all the challenges are tests to teach us that everything doesn’t just depend on contention here below, but really all life depends on the unceasing outpouring of the Divine Word that energizes, manifests, and sustains all that exists.”  (Devarim 8:2-3).

In truth, the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you, is bringing us to a Land of Promise, that is like no other.  But to get there, we have to stay with the Divine program.  The only real danger is “if you start to believe that you are accomplishing all this on your own power,then, you better remember the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you, who is the One that is giving you this power, only for the purpose of facilitating the primordially intended evolution of the Divine Dream.”  Because if, G-d forbid, you do “forget the Lord of Be-ing who Gods you, and follow after other kinds of power, serving and worshipping them, then you will surely perish.  (Devarim 8:17-19).

Today, we can clearly see that this warning of “surely perishing,” is by no means an idle threat.  We remember the midrash that tells us that when the Lord of Be-ing who

G-ds us was contemplating the manifestation of human consciousness in the Divine Dream World, two angels objected, saying, “What is human consciousness that You would wish to be remembered within it?” (Psalms 8:5). But the Shekhinah decided, I must have a place to reside in the very earth of that world, or My Divine Dream will not be complete.”  (Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 16.)

Human consciousness is very precious and very precarious.  Even though the Lord of Be-ing that G-ds us is present everywhere and in everything that arises in manifestation, as written “the whole of manifestation is full of Her Glory,” (Isaiah 6:3), only human beings have to evolve in order to receive Divine Guidance consciously and must be reminded that “She will love you, bless you, and increase your (divinely guided) influence… (Devarim 7:13).  If a significant number of us do not evolve in this way, then all of creation may be imperiled because of us.

Because of this precious/precariousness of human consciousness, the neshamah claliut (the archetype of Enlightened Consciousness and Da’at) for each tradition, connects each sacred community to the source of the Divine Dream.  Thus the Buddha received his revelation sitting under the Banyan Tree for the enlightenment of millions of Asians; and Muhammad the Prophet, peace upon him and his descendants, sat in a cave and received guidance for all of Arabia.  And preceding all of these, in our tradition, our Rabbi, Moshe, appeared in the Torah, as the Master of Prayer, after his awakening in a vision of Fire that does not consume, “the burning bush.”

In order to counteract the real possibility of human extinction, Moshe ascended twice to merge with the Dreamer and Dreaming beyond time and space.  The first time he thought that his merging would be sufficient, but the Lord of Be-ing awakened him, “Get back down there quick; the dim beings that you have been guiding are getting it twisted.  They have formed an image of Be-ing that has solidified in their minds like an idol. I AM sees that they are hopeless and are bound to perish.”  (Devarim 9:12-14).

So Moshe descended as fast as he could from the midst of the Holy Fire with the Divine Instruction still flaming in his hands.  And he saw that he couldn’t do anything with it, because it was too hot to hand over.  And he had to replicate his first ascent and to pray for another forty days, so that human consciousness would not be extinguished.  And this time, Divine Guidance instructed him to make a wooden ark in advance, as a vessel for containing the Holy Fire: “And a Tribe of Divine Escorts, the Levites, were singled out to hold up the Ark and to stand and serve before the Divine Presence and to bless in the Name of the Lord of Be-ing.”  (Devarim 10:8).  It is these Divine Escorts to whom we look today, to carry and hand on the Ark of the Holy Teaching so that can we can overcome our present course, before it careens towards destruction.

“So, what does the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you want of human consciousness? Just to remain aware of Him wherever we go, and to make Her our true love, so that we will serve the Lord of Be-ing that G-ds us with our whole heart and soul, so we commit ourselves to following the sacred obligations, by means of which we can unite ourselves with I AM every day for our benefit.” (Devarim 10:13).

And when we will scrupulously follow this teaching, out of true love for the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds us, merging with Her, wherever we go, then the Lord of Be-ing within us will take care of all the problems that confront us, including the ones that presently appear way too big for us.”  (Devarim 11:22-23).

By way of this teaching, the Lord of Be-ing ever leads us to the true Holy Land, which is unique, and entirely unlike any limited land that we have ever experienced.  For the True Land of Israel is eretz claliut (the Land from which all other lands derive their limited properties) and is unique precisely because it is not limited by any specific borders. “It is the Land that is constantly being contemplated in the Divine Mind.”  (Devarim 11:12).

The Midrash teaches that King Shlomo planted every variety of plant in Jerusalem, because the source of nourishment for everything that grows originates in Jerusalem.  We have a precious teaching from our Rebbes that wherever a Tzaddik (a saintly, enlightened being) is buried is itself an aspect of the Holy Land.  And thus we learn in our Parashah“(when you follow this teaching,) any place where you will place your feet will be within your borders, nothing can come between you and the Lord of Be-ing who G-ds you, for wherever you go, you will be in the Holy Land, as the Torah teaches you.”  (Devarim 11:24-25).

May we be blessed in this perilous time called “Mashiach’s footsteps” to constantly clarify for ourselves a mind state of “Da’at,” remembering constantly Be-ing who G-ds us now and forever, ever closer to the promised Holy Land of the Divine Dream.  May enough of us gain this Da’at in time to counteract all destructive tendencies that derive from actions based on limited human consciousness, in time to avert any and all decrees that may, G-d Forbid, imperil the well-being and harmonious balance of this Sacred World and all of its precious and diverse inhabitants.

Rabbi Moshe Aharon Ladizhyner