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

[All indented text within quotes is from Rebbe Nachman]


"And Bo’az said to Ruth, Please listen, my daughter, don't go to glean in someone else's field, and also don’t pass on from here…

Keep your eyes on the field where they are reaping, and go behind them.” (Ruth 2:8)


“And Boaz said to Ruth: Boaz represents the divine intellect, the sechel, as it is written “Wisdom will give strength (‘oz) to the wise” (Ecclesiastes 7:19). Ruth represents the soul, the nefesh, which is the source of all our words of prayer, song and praise.

      The Rabbis hinted at this when they said “Why was her name called Ruth? Because from her came David,

who satiated (Heb. RiVaH) the Holy One with songs and praises” (Berachot 7b).


“The Master of the Field examines each one's speech to see if it is developed to perfection or not, because this shows if the soul in question is still far from the ultimate goal. The Master of the Field then brings the soul to its goal, until the soul is able to talk perfectly, the way it should. Every single word is a whole world… When speech comes forth it comes from the soul… But when the field is the “field of visionaries” the eyes of the Master of the Field are shining."


"There is a hint of this in the way the Aramaic Targum translates “and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7) -

“he became a speaking spirit.”


____________________________


A brief commentary on what represents perfect speech?


If Rosh Hashanah signifies the beginning of the new year, why then does it fall within the seventh month of the Jewish calendar? The answer from the ancient sages and Hasidim is that Rosh Hashanah signifies not a new year but rather a new creation, a new beginning toward perfection.


“The Master of the Field examines each one's speech to see if it is developed to perfection or not,

because this shows if the soul in question is still far from the ultimate goal.”


Is it not so that human beings suffer most grievously from unrepented sin *, of which we are not punished for the sin, but rather by the sin? Eastern tradition declares this a truth by saying: “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” For we are created for the purpose of seeking and finding perfection in life. The Master of the Universe (within our Field of existence) entreats us to leave no stone unturned by failing to ask forgiveness for our hurtful speech and actions. Is it also not so that for human beings, the most purifying aspect of speech is rendered through words seeking forgiveness? This is essentially the inner meaning of Rosh Hashanah. Repentance (metanoia) - change of mind and heart through transforming charitable and prayerful words and acts of forgiveness.


The power of words and acts of forgiveness capture the heart of the Master of the Field. At the moment of utterances of forgiveness, we become visionaries, looking within the core of our being, becoming aware of our shortcomings and the need for repentance.


“But when the field is the “field of visionaries” the eyes of the Master of the Field are shining.”


Within the tradition of all major religions, there are sacred times when the Divine removes the veil of our illusion of separateness (ego) in order for us to draw closer to Perfection. At such sacred times as these, in the Jewish tradition signified by Rosh Hashanah, our words and heartfelt longing for forgiveness through repentance evoke uplifting change within our soul.


Who could deserve such grace? One who prays with a charitable mind and heart full of repentance!


___________________

*Sin means to miss the mark. The Greek word άμαρτανω (hamartano) really means 'to miss the mark'. But it is translated as sin. Literally the word was used in archery, when the target was missed. It would seem clear, therefore, that we cannot understand the idea of sin in the right way unless we gain some idea of what it is we have to aim at. To miss the mark is 'sin'; but what is the mark? In the Jewish mystical tradition, the mark to aim at in life is to have the soul manifest itself in perfection - perfect speech. The highest form of which, according to Torah is sincere repentance - the highest mitzva.

"There is a Field…" from Garden of the Souls - by Rebbe Nachman on Suffering

Share