David Kolinsky
David Kolinsky

Being Present and Presenting Oneself to HaShem

Literally meaning a continuous accumulation of water, the river called the Yardaen signifies a continuous accumulation of things from experience. Moshe, as the mental faculty drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience, has the job of mentally processing this continuous accumulation of things from experience. He beseeches God’s bringing forth of experience referring to God as my source of contemplation (/aDoNay אדני) and to himself as the one devoting attention to you (עבדך your servant). Moshe wishes to see the good land (הארץ הטובה) upon passing through the continuous accumulation (bank of the Yardaen) which represents the actual behaviors to be engaged by individuals. However, HaShem reminds him to ascend to the place of seeing of many branching paths (upon which one could go) (ראש הפסגה Rosh haPisgeh) for it is his role to assess the many possibilities but not to determine which of those possibilities to engage. That role belongs to Joshua bin Nun, one’s lingering with God’s bringing forth of existence a behavior of persistence. In the Torah, he is described as a misharaet (משרת minister, act of focus) for Moshe of the tribe of Ephraim, one’s disposing oneself to an overwhelming amount of God’s Guidance, being scattered about experience. Instead, they were settling into the act of leaning in and drawing inward – the edge of what comes in when open to the widest breadth of experience (גיא מול בית פעור).

On the level of peshat, Moshe is the giver of the law and the judgments. Allegorically, Moshe (our drawing out particular things from a midst the many stirring things encountered in experience) processes what is channeled in experience (חוקים laws) and makes clarifying declarations (משפטים judgments) for the sake that we shall live, and come in and take possession of the way for a person to dispose oneself in experience (land) that God’s bringing forth of experience, God’s guidance resulting of our taking notice of things (fathers) gives to us. What God’s bringing forth of experience gives is more than enough – we are not to add to it, nor subtract from it. When a person probes the widest breadth of experience (Ba’al P’or), HaShem extirpates (השמיד) a person’s ability to be mentally persistent with experience (איש). However, people who apply themselves in experience (אתם) are those holding fast (הדבקים) with God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H), God’s guidance being presented in experience (Elohim) all of them lively (חיים).

It is imperative that we always be a people that is wise and understanding – those who are ever mindful of the many things crowding in from experience (עם). A people that there is to us God’s guidance (Elohim) and God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H). It is imperative that we never suppress (שכח) that many things driving directly forward in experience (דברים) that our eyes see – what is stirring (יום) when we remain with God’s bringing forth of experience, God’s guidance, with what is ravaging of experience (חורב Chorev). There we stand subdued by the act of bringing things to light ( הר mountain) – burning clear through with mental persistence (fire) unto the heart of the many things put forth in experience (שמים heavens) – what hedges in of experience (darkness), what is overbearing of experience (cloud) and what is to be discovered of what is diffusely spread out in experience (thick cloud). Thus HaShem draws out to us a clear understanding of him (his covenant), making an impression of them upon repetitive acts of getting in closely (two boards) of the many things in experience sticking out prominently (of stone). We must not lay ourselves out to distortions (פסל), an inaccurate approximation of reality, anything being implied (תמונת כל סמל), or a building up (תבנית) of various experiences. For example, we should not make more of something in experience because it is flashy in its being clearly apparent (male) or make more of something simply because we are bored into by it or recepetive to it (female). Nor should we make more of something in experience as a result of an act of pushing in so as to make observations (herd animal) that is with the disposing of oneself in experience (land), nor when retreating, withdrawing inward (all bird of wing) that cowers with the many things put forth in experience (flying in the sky).

“Lest you would lift up your observations toward the things being put forth in experience (שמים heavens) and then you will see: the being headstrong and uncompromising (שמש sun); and the act of wandering about experience (ירח moon), and the many small impressions (כוכבים stars) – all of the remaining attentively observant (צבא host) of the many things being put forth in experience (שמים heavens); such that you will be driven off (from the experience) in that you have laid yourself out to them and devoted yourself to them – it being confirmed that God’s bringing forth of existence, God’s guidance being presented to you in experience has allotted for all of the acts of being mindful of the many things crowd in of experience (עמים peoples) – being subdued by (תחת under) all of the many things being put forth in experience (שמים heavens). Whereas God’s bringing forth of existence took you up. And brought you out from the act of going around and around with (כור furnace) what penetrates of experience (ברזל iron), from the act of feverishly focusing upon the many things narrowing in of experience (מצרים), in order to be for Him regarded as a person mindful of what crowds in…in accordance with what stirs of experience (כיום), that which is overbearingly apparent (הזה).”

The above reminds us to not make more of our observations than actually exist and to not become overwhelmed by those observations. Consistent with these themes, the three cities of refuge are set aside and named. Allegorically, the words meaning three cities (שלש ערים) represent a suspending (three) of the many stirring things (cities) found in experience. These exist so that a person who feels “demolished, subdued and meek (רוצח RuTsae’aHh)” with what he perceives and receives of experience (רעהו his friend) can flee toward what is more subdued (אחת) than the stirred up situations (cities) – the one of advancing forward with initiaive (האל) – and live. The suspending of stirring situations (three cities) were called: splitting oneself off so as to make observations, discern and reflect (בצר BeTseR), in being barraged by experience (wilderness), in disposing oneself to that which drives directly in experience (the land of Mishor); acts of lifting oneself tall and remaining firm (ראמות Ramot), with a revealing of what is evident in experience (גלעד Gil’ad); and repetitively going around so as to review something (גולן Golan), with repetitively driving in upon something so as to visually fix upon it, yet holding oneself back from engaging (בשן Bashan).

Allegorical translation of the Shema:
“A person making a sustained survey of the many things advancing forward in experience (Yisrael) must be attentive! – (because) God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H) is God’s guidance being presented to us in experience (Elohim), God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H) is what sharpens a person’s mental acumen (אחד). [Therefore] you will loving give forth to God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H), God’s guidance being presented to you in experience (Elohim), with all of your will (heart), with all your spirit, and with all your might. And the things driving directing forward in experience, those advancing forward, that through the impression that I make in experience (אנכי), I am demanding of you of what is stirring in experience (today) will be upon your willing heart. And you will teach them (through repetitive honing) to your behaviors (בניך) and you will drive directly into them (דברת בם) through your settling into (בשבתך) what comes into you from experience (בביתך), and through your advancing (ובלכתך) by threshing through experience (בדרך), and through your hedging in (ובשכבך), and through your remaining firm (ובקומך). And you will firmly bind them to be regarded as a sign indicating the way (אות) upon your pointing the way (ידך). And they will be regarded as things flitting and flickering (catching one’s attention)(טוטפת) between your acts of eyeing experience (עיניך). And you will impress (write) them above the fears (מזז) of what comes into you (ביתך) and your taking notice of (other) things in being stirred up by them (ובשעריך).

After all, God’s bringing forth of existence (Y-H-W-H), God’s guidance being presented to you in experience (Elohim), shall bring you into the way of disposing of oneself in experience – it being confirmed that He is obliged to your acts of taking notice of things (fathers) – for a person spreading out into experience so as to take notice of and willingly give forth of oneself to what is stirred up in experience (Avraham), for a person bringing things to light in being meticulously alert to what is around (Yitschaq), and for a person’s constraining oneself, investigating what comes around in experience (Yaaqov).

Notes:
My apologies. Usually, I have about 100 footnotes explaining each translation. But this week for a variety of reasons, I was unable to. If you have any questions about specific words, please IM me.

About the Author
David Kolinsky is a retired physician born and raised in Monsey, New York. While living in Monterey California, David initially lived as a secular, agnostic Jew. However, in his spare time, he delved into twenty years of daily study of Hebrew etymology and Torah study culminating in the writing of an etymological dictionary of Biblical Hebrew and a metaphorical translation of Torah. Abandoning his agnostic views, David was simultaneously a spiritual leader of the world's smallest conservative synagogue, a teacher in his local reform synagogue, and a gabbai at Chabad. He is currently sheltering in place with his family in his new home in Plano, Texas.
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments