Spiritual Teachings #15 Jewish

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

Succot

JOY IS A CENTRAL THEME IN THE FESTIVAL OF SUCCOT. THE TORAH stresses the idea that during this festival we should rejoice1. The Mishnah2 and Talmud describe great all-night celebrations in the Temple, brightly lit by massive oil lamps, in which huge crowds of men and women would gather and the leading Sages of the time would dance. 

For the down-to-earth people of our generation, this might be rather a difficult idea to accommodate. To a great extent we base our lives on rational structures, even in our relationship with G-d. A favourite motto of Chabad is “the mind rules the heart”3. Time and again we see that euphoria is highly dangerous. So how are we to understand the concept of joy on Succot?

Joy is defined by the Sages as psychologically going beyond limitations. The fact of finite existence in a world of materialism and often of pain and even evil presents harsh limitations to the soul, the inwardness of the Jew. The soul seeks G-dliness and holiness – but these qualities are generally concealed.

The soul is trapped in this very limiting situation. In fact, through the ages the elite of humanity as a whole have been aware of this problem. Much of the world’s art concerns this existential trap and the effort to transcend it.

The Torah and its Commandments provide us with a path to transform the situation, not only for us, the Jewish people, but for the whole of humanity. G-d created the world with the potential to be changed into something higher: still physical, still “this world”, but now an expression of the holy, something intrinsically Divine.

On Rosh Hashanah we recognise G-d the Infinite as our King; the hundred blasts of the Shofar are represented by the word Sechach, the leafy covering of the Succah, which has the numerical value of 1004.  The spiritual covering and atmosphere of the Succah is also seen as representing the cloud of fragrant incense which the High Priest offered in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur, when we came so close to G-d that all our sins, stains on the soul, were purified.  On Succot we become aware of this contact with the Infinite as a permanent bond which will be part of our daily lives throughout the coming year5.

The Succah expresses the way the Divine encompasses every aspect of our being; the Four Plants – Palm Branch, Citron and so on – express the four letters of the Divine Name which are revealed within us. We are therefore surrounded by G-dliness, and filled with G-dliness; we no longer feel that we are struggling to overcome a barrier which hides G-d from us.  This explains the joy: we have broken through the barrier, not by destroying something or forgetting it (as in mindless euphoria) but by transforming it from something potentially negative to something totally positive.

Finally at the close of Succot, on Simchat Torah, the Rejoicing of the Law (5-6 October), we bond to G-d and His Torah in a way which links our Essence with the Divine Essence.  We rejoice with the Torah, and G-d transforms the barriers of existence, opening them for us, pouring blessings to us and to all Israel for a year of peace, health and joy.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

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Rosicrucian Reflections #92

“How should a mystic conduct oneself in everyday life? This question is both simple and complex. Being a mystic is to be aware of and shoulder one’s responsibilities in one’s family life, working life, and spiritual life. A thinking, active, responsible mystic does not feed on what is negative and unhealthy. A mystic does not make hasty judgments, and does not condemn without having tried to understand the why and the how of things and events. The mystic’s attitude is an open one, respecting everyone’s right to be different and to exercise freedom of expression. A mystic is able to give assistance, bring calm, and speak in a compassionate manner to whoever is in need. A mystic accepts philosophically – without becoming disenchanted – the tests that are experienced during one’s life: for a mystic is not exempt from lessons, we just find it a little bit easier to learn them.”

-Christian Bernard

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Tomorrow’s blog – Spiritual Teachings

May God bless and protect you and…\

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations And Blessings #92

Meditation

This day will offer me

Another chance

To take within me

The lifeblood of the sun.

These lengthened days of solar fire

Will be stored within my heart

If I but use this time

To full advantage.

Let me study all the colors,

The shadings and the hues,

So that, when deep in winter’s womb ,

I may paint the portrait of the sun

With a memory

And share that scene with all.

The Blessing

Out of the dance of summer

Comes the gathering of autumn

More gently now, more softly,

I gather with my friends

And touch the hands that form the circle

And look into wiser eyes.

My love in comfort flows

From my life

To color all that is,

And blessed by other forms of God,

It flows quietly back to me.

-Danaan Parry

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Weekly Meditation #91

Fullness Of Light

The light of life is full within me and around me. It shines forth into the perfect day. Divine light within, lighting my path to peace, I adore and love you and I let you shine. Go forth and bless all who come to you, light within. My light radiates to all. My light has come.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Teachings #14 Rishi-Sufi

The Teachings of Shams – The Guru of Rumi

You must have full command over your own habits and qualities. Maintain silence at the time of silence,

answer when you need to respond, oppose and separate at the time of controversy,

and offer kindness at the time of kindness.

Otherwise, your virtues and habits become your own source of misery and torture.

He who is in love with and dependent on his logic is foolish, not knowing anything beyond.

That is to say, whatever he does not know does not exist for him.

The world is bad only to those who do not understand it.

Once they know and learn about the world, then they ignore it.

Push the unworthy fools out of your life, those who for some petty wealth are willing to sell their soul.

If a person has a prominent quality and virtue, this will compensate for all his minor faults;

But if the person has a dominant defect it diminishes all his positive qualities.

Look at he who has left joy and now he is worshipping sorrow.

Whichever state you are in, give away what you have;

and if you do not have things to give away, try to earn them.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Rosicrucian Reflections #91

“There are many names for the source of knowledge—the Absolute, the Cosmic, God, the Divine Spirit, the Transcendent —yet the concept is one; it is the Universal Manifestation, the Spiritual Essence, that pervades all things. And, it is this entity, this Universal Oneness, that the mystic seeks to know.” Rosicrucian Manuscript

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy. Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations And Blessings #91

Meditation

Softness fills my days

In this season of autumn light.

Gentle joy of life returning

To know its roots again.

Joyful completion

Of the outward surge of growth,

Preparing me for that to come

In the darkness before birth.

Who will I laugh with on this day,

Expecting nothing,

Sharing all?

The Blessing

The shifting balance

From outward straightline movement

To inner spiral flow

Spins the wheel of my life inward,

And I must now transform my restless yearnings

Into quiet contemplation

To aid me in the winter’s inner journey

To the abundant core of me.

-Danaan Parry

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Weekly Meditation #90

Knowledge And Wisdom
All wisdom and knowledge is from within and my God, which is all-knowing, is also within. I am guided and guarded along life’s road into the All Good. My mind is instructed from on high, and my wisdom comes from afar. The spirit within me is universal wisdom.

-Ernest Holmes

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy,

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis