The mystical, kabbalistic component of our tradition describes twinned but mirror-opposite trends in the universe. On the one hand, the primal, essential unity, the pure essence of אור אין סוף (Ohr Eyn Sof), Infinite Light, evolves from unity to duality to infinite multiplicity as it descends into our material world. God, we’re taught, “desires a dwelling” in our physical, lowest energy-state realm of existence. From His Essential Unity, He comes to fill and inhabit every single element within Creation. מלא כל הארץ כבודו (Ma-leh Kol HaAretz Kvodo), “He fills the entire Creation with His Presence”, אין אתר פנוי מיניה (Eyn Atar P’nui Miney), “No place exists from which He is absent”. This describes Creation, every corner filled with His Light, His Energy.
The complementary movement, from “below” to “above”, comprises יחודים (yichudim) unifications. Before we perform mitzvot we consciously intend and recite the formula, לשם יחוד קודשא בריך הוא ושכינתיה (L’Shem Yichud Kudsha B’rich Hu U’Shechintey), “For the purpose of uniting The Holy Blessed One with His Shechina (Divine Presence)” and then add to that בדחילו ורחימו (B’Dechilu U’Rachimu), “With Awe and Love”–we spiritually bring together the distant realities of the Transcendent with Immanent aspects of God as well as the seeming opposite emotions of love and fear. We unite everything in this world with its opposite, it’s rival in existence, ultimately achieving דביקות (Devekut) between ourselves and God, between the spiritual and the material, re-concentrating and refocusing the diffused light of existence back into the singular Unity. We refine, rectify and return the Ohr Eyn Sof to Its sublime source. Ultimately, together with The Creator, we bring the universe to its highest state, infused with pure energy.
When we mature beyond the anthropomorphic approach to Torah and, already accepting and involved in our ever-improving performance of mitzvot, we can begin to understand, and maybe occasionally experience, our world in terms of energy or, as the Torah describes it, אור (Ohr), light. It’s no longer a matter of conformity for the sake of conformity, not even just solidarity with our fellows, but taking on the responsibility of being אור לגוים (Ohr L’Goyim), a Light to the Nations, not merely in being a example of morality, although that is also a vital part of our reason for existing, but attracting/creating, embodying and constructively directing energy into our world.
There seems to be an analog, or at least an allegory here to nuclear fission and fusion energy production. As large elements divide, and imagine the tremendous energy hinted at in מעשה בראשית (Ma’aseh Bereishit) the Act of Creation, as reality first bifurcates into את השמים ואת הארץ (Et HaShamayim V’Et HaAretz), the Heavens and the Earth and then continues splitting and splitting until not only each and every creature emerges, but so does each and every atom, each element filled with the infinite energy of Ohr Eyn Sof! And then, are we start the chain upwards, bringing more and more opposite entities into complete unity with The One, at each step uniting seeming opposites and releasing more and more energy, bringing the world to a higher and higher state, until we’re all interconnected through The Creator Himself, generating even more energy than contained in the original Creation–it’s inescapable to me that we’re describing the more powerful fusion phase of atomic energy.
Obviously, I’m not proposing that universal Jewish mitzvah performance, certainly desireable (but we still need to determine how, in an Eretz Yisrael-oriented Jewish world view that is still developing–I doubt it will be as onerous as it seems through centuries of exile) will solve the world’s energy challenges. Nor am I saying that rebuilding the Bet HaMikdash, b’m’heyrah b’yameynu, (may it be soon, in our days) will reveal the secrets of clean, unlimited energy. Nonetheless creating a human environment which aims to create infinite spiritual energy for the benefit of all might, in a non-obvious, non-empirical way bring us closer to that in physical terms as well.
Creating these unifications on any more than a basic level, the kavvanot we might say before certain mitzvot, is no light matter. In a deep sense, it is literally “playing with fire”. While, ultimately, the good will absorb the evil, the אהבה (Ahavah) love, will overwhelm the יראה (Yirah), fear, both must first be prepared. The side of Ahavah and Chesed must strengthen while the side of Yirah and Gevurah/Din must be purified, the evil weakened and defeated, as much as possible so it doesn’t, instead, overpower and pollute the good.
For the ideal of “Peace and Love” to actually manifest, savagery must be completely destroyed. Only then will it release its evil hold on people, allowing them to finally be embraced. Imagine the energy that might generate.
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