Spiritual Teaching from the Jewish Tradition

"Do not exalt any path above God. There are many paths that lead to God.

So people are capable of finding and following the ways that suit them,

provided they do not stand still."    Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

A Vessel without Light Breaks

A parable is a vessel for the message within it. So too, the word is the vessel for the expression of thought. And if one speaks without Kavanah, it is the very enactment of the "Breaking of the Vessels" (1), for in such a case, there is no inner life to the words. But when one divests oneself of materiality, which is the person's body and "vessel", one is able to behold the inner nature of the vessel, the life and light of the letters.(2) When one is divested of corporeality and is enclothed in one's words, one is in a state of D'vequt. Take care not to lose the concentrated stream of awareness and fortify yourself on high.

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(1) The cosmic rupture at the beginning of the process of creation that enabled duality and evil to manifest in creation, for the sake of providing humanity with free choice; as a means toward the individual growth of awareness and integration with the Primordial Tiqqun. But whereas the original "breaking of the vessels" occurred as an act of Divine Will for the reason just mentioned, this breaking, due to the seperation of one's intent from one's words, serves only a destructive purpose. It is interesting to note that whereas in the Creation process, the vessels broke due to a superabundance of light, here, they shatter due to too-little light. This is no doubt because the provision of light that cannot be integrated also leaves the vessel empty and unsustained.

(2) This subtle teaching contrasts the the divestment of intent [which is like the "light"] from words [which are like "the vessels" - and as a result of the seperation of light from vessel, the vessel falls and breaks - as in the Zoharic-Lurianic formulation]; with the divestment of one's awareness [which is again, the light] from the body, which is here described as the outer manifestation of the inner nature of the vessel. But here, in contrast with the Creation from Nothing, rather than causing the breaking of the vessel, one discovers the true essence of the vessel - the divinely communicated outer world of information that enables the stability of the outer world - in a dispassionate way.

Pillar of Prayer

Guidance in Contemplative Prayer from the Baal Shem Tov and his Circle

Translated and Annotated by Menachem Kallus

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