Parshas Metzorah: He Thinks, Therefore You Are
Perhaps even before we open our eyes in the morning, still in bed, we declare quietly to ourselves the first declarative framework of our day, of the texture of our consciousness for the day. “Modeh ani lefanecha” – I acknowledge (to myself) that I am in Your presence, Your consciousness. Rav Shimon Schwab explained that just as an image is something we can envision and hence relate to, everything that is happening in the universe and beyond it, and then again simultaneously in the minutia of our individual lives, is happening inside the ‘thoughts,’ the consciousness, the ‘imagination’ of a Source Consciousness.
We all say to ourselves, when contemplating G-d, “how could He be outside of time and space?” But in your imagination, in your thoughts, can you IMAGINE an elephant going through a pinhole? Of course you can. And when you dream, doesn’t twenty years ago run into tomorrow? And you walk out of your house and then you’re in Paris… right? Everything is possible in thoughts and imagination. So if there is a Source Consciousness, then there are no boundaries of time and space unless… you’re the one IN the dream. Then to you all the realities are very real. Only upon awakening you go “ahhhh…” When we pass on to the next world, we go “ahhhh…”
So the first thing we acknowledge upon breathing in our first new breath of consciousness, of the new day, is that we declare to ourselves “Modeh ani lefanecha” – “I acknowledge (to myself, that I am existing within) Your consciousness.” “Melech chai v’kayum” – “The King- as in, the governing, controlling consciousness- Who is living- meaning, as opposed to the notion that there WAS a designer but He is gone now- and existing- i.e., is the constant causality of all (particularly me) which IS existing.”
It is with this backdrop that we get out of bed and embrace the day.
OK, now, consider this. Each person is born with, and into, a certain package of given strengths or limitations. We call them gifts because, well, you didn’t earn them, did you? You were born with a certain amount of looks, health, creativity, intelligence, family, energy, etc. That’s your ‘hardware.’ But then there’s your software. Hardware is only as potent, and capable of being impressive and creative, as the software driving it, right? You are not born with your software. Your software is your attitudes, your driving principles. All those motivational speakers you hear talk to raising your software, to leverage and access whatever amount of hardware you were born with.
Now, there is absolutely nothing physical, quantifiable, about attitudes. They are wholly spiritual. So the idea is then to align our attitudes, our consciousness each day with His.
And the physical universe is governed by attitudes too- driving principles, rules, of how it should be, how it should act. The physical universe then is only a physical manifestation (as articulated in the Big Bang theory) of energy and the principles that guide it. To many it’s all a random bing, big bang, boom, though. To us, it’s His bing, big bang and finally boom.
Did you know that your eyes, your hair, your susceptibility to sickness, your health, your ‘hardware’ is also actually just a physical manifestation of a code, a thought basically, which we choose to call DNA. What’s DNA? It’s a code. There is not one single cell in your body left from when you were born, except the brain. They all die constantly, but only after giving over the code to a newborn cell, the code of the DNA. And that cell carries out the command of the code, and thereby recreates ‘you.’ But the code is a concept, a thought, given over and the physical body appears in manifestation of the thought, the principles, embedded in that code, in that thought. You are really then just a thought.
Everything is real, everything is actually happening, is physical and measurable… the YOU, the person IN the dream. But it’s all really the manifestation of a thought, and the energy to make it happen is coming from a greater consciousness that the person in the dream. In the case of a dream, it’s coming from you, your source consciousness.
This is everything that exists: a manifestation of a principle, a thought. And so life is about trying to get YOUR governing principles concurrent with His (or shall we say, Its), the Source whose consciousness is this world.
In this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Metzorah, we learn of the person whose house, and then his/her clothes, turn green and red along the mortar of the house and then, if not addresses, the fabric of the person’s clothes, and then the skin of the body turns dead and white. Primarily this is attributed to being a consequence of speaking unflatteringly about your fellow Jew. If it’s true, that does NOT make it okay. A very common reactionary battle-cry when people are criticized for speaking lashon hara (pejoratively, unflatteringly) of another Jew- and thereby minimizing, killing, the concept of who/what that person is- is “But it’s TRUE!” as if that’s relevant. You took the concept, the understanding, of what he or she is and you killed it. And so, the reaction is that you, your skin first (if you didn’t heed the warming lights of your house and clothes first) goes white and dead. You too, both your hardware and your software, are a concept really. To kill someone’s positive driving energy, their raison d’être, is to kill the source of his being.
There are blogs out there now, so popular, singularly focused on one agenda: to report any and all ugly news they can find, sometimes true, sometimes not- that’s not really their concern- about Orthodox Jews as a whole, so many of whom have driving attitudes so gorgeous it can make you cry.
Y’know it’s funny (and by that I mean tragically sad) that recently, when hundreds of brothers and sisters, not by blood, bound together from hundreds of miles around and gave their time and energy, tons of energy, and money, a lot of money, and searched around the clock, literally around the clock, through the night, through the tears, to find a missing fellow Jew… THAT never made it to these blogs. Not to the Post, not to the Daily News. No, THAT was not news to them. A story so beautiful the whole world should have stood and saluted, that’s not interesting. Gimme something I can use. Gimme dirty laundry. Give me lashon hara.
Yehuda Schwab, TorahMate