Friday, May 1, 2009
History According to Torah
When we look at the Torah portions, that are read weekly in the synagogue, we discover a time-line of Kabbalistic history.
1. Bereishit- was the time period of Chessed (the kindness of G-d), the first millennium of history.
2. Noach was the time period of Gevorah (Judgement)
It chronicles the devastating Flood (in the year 1656 from creation).
The breakup of mankind into many separate nations, in the aftermath of the Tower of Babel (1996).
The birth (1948) and early years, of Abraham.
3. Lech-Lecha was the time of Tiferes (Balance, blending)
It opens with G-d's call to Abraham, to leave his birthplace, and journey to the Holy Land. A call which came in Abrahams 75th year, in the year 2023 from creation.
The events of Lech-Lecha describe the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the descent into Egypt and the Exodus; and the highlight of the millennium, the revelation at Sinai where G-d communicated His Torah to man.
Tiferes combines the virtues, of the Chesed and Gevorah.
From Creation to Sinai
1. Chesed- For the first thousand years of history, G-d was a benevolent teacher, who indulged the shortcomings of his pupil. Life was a free-lunch. Righteous and wicked alike, enjoyed long and prosperous lives.
In a sense, this era was an extension of G-d's original act of creation: The world in its initial state of non-existence, obviously did not deserve to be created.
Its creation was an act of pure charity on the part of G-d; Who granted it existence, purpose, and the potential for deservingness.
Likewise, in the first millennia, G-d gave indiscriminately; in order to provide humanity with the basis, upon which to build and develop the world, in accordance with His plan.
Thus, the corrupt world, described in the last verses of Bereishit, represents not the beginning of the age of rigor and judgment (Gevorah), but the closing years of the age of benevolence.
It describes a morally immature world, in which all Blessing, material or spiritual, is taken for granted.
Indeed, it is the natural end of an era, in which responsibility is neither assumed nor exacted; for humanity is yet to be weaned, from an infantile dependence upon its Creator.
2. Gevorah- After a thousand years of unilateral bestowal, the era of Chessed came to a close.
In the second thousand years of creation, G-d challenged man, to make it on his own.
On the surface, the second millennium was a harsh, even tragic era, for everything, including life itself, was earned solely by merit.
At one point, there were only eight deserving human beings, and the rest of humanity perished in the Flood.
At another point, the misguided building of the Tower of Babel, resulted in the dispersion of the human race; and its disintegration into nations, separated by walls of incommunicativity and xenophobia.
But this exacting justice on the part of G-d, is what allowed the world to develop from within--to become a vital, productive world, whose deeds have consequence and significance; instead of a world that is the passive recipient of divine charity.
3. Tiferes- The last generation of the second millennium, yielded Abraham; the ultimate spiritually self-made-man. Even though he was the son of a Mesopotamian idol-maker, he came to recognize the truth of One G-d; with nothing but the majesty of the universe, and his own inquisitive mind to guide him.
Single-handedly, he battled the entrenched paganism of his native land, and won over a large following, to the monotheistic faith and ethos he espoused.
If there is a single point to Abrahams early years, it is that; yes, man can make it on his own.
Now that you have obtained the utmost of your own, inborn potentials, you must reach beyond yourself, and go to the land that I will show you.
3. Thus began the journey into the millennium of Tiferet, the millennium which saw the synthesis, of the divinely bestowed, with the humanly earned.
A millennium which reached its climax at Mount Sinai, where G-d communicated to man, His wisdom, and will; enclothed in the physical garments, of human reason, and endeavor.
It was a millennium, in which the Torah breached the barrier, between the Heavens, and the Earth.
This allowed a previously unearned divine gift, to be transformed into a human achievement; and thereby gave man the ablity, to touch the divine.