Both Tazria and Metzora essentially speak about cleanliness and uncleanliness, and at the end of Shemini we read a key reference.
“For I am the Lord who has brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God. Thus, you shall be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:45)
The Creator takes us out of Egypt (a place that represents negative traits and qualities in our consciousness as the unclean ways to face the material world) as a premise for Him and for us to be our God.
While we are under the dominion of negative beliefs, thoughts, emotions, feelings and passions, we live without God. He is the means to be aware of our true essence and identity. In other words, there is no love or its ways and attributes amid negative circumstances, because love does not dwell with anything different or opposite to its ways.
The children of Israel were aware that their forefathers knew that there was one God with whom they were closely related, yet under the oppression by the worse traits in human consciousness they doubted that their forefathers’ God existed at all. If we put ourselves in their shoes, neither we would believe that there is a compassionate, benevolent and loving God.
We experience such feeling when we go through difficult circumstances in our efforts to survive and fulfill our basic needs amid increasingly hostile and adverse conditions.
In the case of our ancestors, they were completely dependent on the Egyptians for their survival and knew no other land to go. Hence, their deliverance depended exclusively from the God of their forefathers, and it happened because of Him. God sent them to Egypt and He took them out of there as part of His plan for Israel.
The circumstances now are different because we are under the dominion of our own material illusions that keep us separate from God, because we chose to follow them and not His ways and attributes. Now our deliverance depends on us and not on Him.
Making the choice to return to God implies separating our consciousness from the negative and adverse circumstances that we have created as real in our lives.
It works in the same way of the so called “revolutions” throughout history. People simply get fed up with the status quo, the oppression of the establishment’s ideology, as well as social and economic patterns, and cultural trends that dehumanize our consciousness.
In Judaism, the difference between those revolutions and the Final Redemption is that in the latter all evil, wickedness and negativity will be eradicated, and we will be living only for the purpose of knowing God’s ways and attributes.
This means that we don’t expect it as a sudden unannounced miracle, but as something that we must pursue with all our heart, mind, soul and might. This we do by loving God enough to pursue in all our levels of consciousness love’s ways and attributes as material manifestations of God’s love. Then we will make possible the miracle of revealing His presence in the world, and turn it into a place for Him to dwell among us.
Our ancestors in Egypt had to leave the uncleanliness of the negative traits of consciousness in order to have God, so they could become holy because He is holy. Again, love as holiness does not cohabit with anything different to its ways and attributes.
This is why we must reflect on what is clean and unclean to tell the difference between love’s qualities and ego’s fantasies and illusions (see our commentaries on Parshat Tazria: “Speak Love” of April 14, 2015 and “Living in God’s covenant” of March 26, 2014).
All the Torah’s laws regarding individual and collective purity are intended to make us aware of what is clean and the unclean in our consciousness. We have said often that our levels of consciousness are vessels in which we fill our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts. They are designed to be empty in order for us to fill them with the positive qualities of love’s attributes, and to do that we must first clean them from ego’s agenda.
It’s not an easy task, considering that we have been filling every aspect of consciousness with the wrong ingredients.
We are what we have in our thoughts, emotions, feelings, passions and instincts, and we know this. A negative approach is to start by looking in the mirror and ask ourselves if we like what we see or not. What we see in the mirror is only the reflection of the exterior of the vessel, not its content which is what we must evaluate: the ingredients that make who we think we are. Then we begin to make the inventory by identifying right from wrong, positive from negative, true and false, and so on.
It’s not a judgmental process but a discerning journey in which we put to the test our free will. Discernment and free will go together in this, because if we are not able to discern we will never be able to properly exercise free will. We need to know first before making choices, and we all are aware of this.
The Torah instructs us to discern about everything because that is the way to acquire knowledge. In other words, we have to get smart before making decisions; and the smartest way to be is by discerning in, with, for and through love’s attributes.
Our inner cleanliness is not about reflecting emptiness but by carrying love’s ways and means in what we may believe, think, feel, speak and do. Consciousness contains vessels designed to be filled at all times, and we constantly must check if their content is clean or unclean, pleasant or unpleasant, uplifting or degrading, exciting or depressing.
Let’s be aware that in love’s ways there is no room from anything negative, so there’s no such as thing as “it’s OK to be sad” or “there’s nothing wrong with being angry or upset” because once we fill our vessels with such feelings, they will drive us in their ways. Then don’t blame God for it or anyone for our frustrations as the direct outcome of our fantasies and illusions, either be real or imagined.
Some say that the path of righteousness that leads us to real freedom and redemption is straight and narrow, and they are right.
As we follow love’s paths, there is no point to look to the sides because the only sides are love’s sides. Others say that we have to be constantly vigilant while we walk in those paths, because we can fall again into ego’s illusions. Indeed, it’s not an easy task but we have no other choice.
As long as we are fully aware of God’s love and His goodness, as the moment to moment real experience that they are, we begin to live our own individual redemption. We realize this when we start cleaning who we are and what we have in order to embrace our God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Israel.