Jewish Meditation Essay

2099 words - 8 pages

Jewish Meditation

"I know of a story where a 12 year old boy secretly studied the Kabbalah and meditation under a rabbi. So do not worry, you are in like company (Wallace)."

Mystical traditions hold a secret that not everyone can experience. Stories can be read, pictures can be seen, and accounts of mystics (those who practice these traditions) can be professed, but nothing will compare to emotion and passion in the experience itself. The mind of a mystic can be viewed as one gone mad. Or is that merely the title one gives the unexplained and not experienced?
Many of today's so-called mystical experiences can be practiced in a single day. Sleep deprivation, raves, repetitive monotonous sounds, and so on can change a person. But for how long and how does a person feel? Quite a different question is asked of Jewish mystical tradition and meditation. That question can very well be what are the stages, what is to be risked, and what is to be received? What a turn this topic takes with the application of the Jewish model. "The West might be said to emphasize action. The East concentrates on perfection of the spirit. Judaism seeks to unite both
ideals (Weiner 111).
Jewish meditation is a spiritual insight with G-d. This process of getting close to G-d is called "devekut". Devekut is not only getting close, but also actually melting into G-d. This requires much training and rules. It is said that one cannot even look at the Kabbalah (the Jewish mystical text) unless one is male and over forty years of age. A girl the age of twenty was afraid to touch the text let alone talk about it (Warner). The Kabbalah is both fear and love ("Kabbala" 271). Devekut is an actual metamorphosis of the self. Practicing individuals are receiving from G-d. There is no selfish goal for meditation but to be a chariot to carry the will of G-d. With this fastening, a presence is felt. Jewish meditation and the study of the Kabbala is that of a different level of reality that harmonizes with an incomparable spirituality.
It has been noticed that Merkava meditation practice can be dangerous. The Merkavah warned very real dangers of this practiced such as death, madness, and abandonment. The farther one goes, the more dazzling and more confusing the journey becomes. Here one can see the souls of the righteous and the souls yet to be
born (Hoffman 9). The story of warning is that of four sages. The first sage being Shimon Ben Azai'zl. It is written that when he entered this state, he gazed and died. Ben Azai so greatly studied the Torah and never married. His piousness was a legend. He died because he made no part of himself on the earth. He was not concerned with the world. Here it is learned that one must be completely grounded.
The second to enter was Shimon Ben Zoma z'l. He gazed and went insane. He had strict discipline. His wisdom was greater than his actions. He was only complete on one level. He could not...

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