Shlomo Ezagui

Getting inside the Palace to see the King.

Manuel Arroyo

The great Philosopher and Jurist Rambam (Maimonides, 1135-1204) saw the greatest fulfillment in life as someone who, with his intellectual effort and power, understood and appreciated the One who created the entire universe; someone who, throughout the day, even while involved in mundanity, was always in the presence of His Majesty; someone who experienced God with him all the time.

This awareness (God’s presence around us all the time) is the only healthy and blessed way to release oneself from past traumas, current tumultuous emotions, anxiety, stress, and depression. This is the only guaranteed way to happiness and joy all the time.

What I have just written, and what I am about to share with you, our holy Torah tells us, “is very close to you [this matter], in (with) your mouth, and in (with) your heart, to practice.”

As Maimonides is wrapping up his Guide for the Perplexed, he writes, “In conclusion […] explaining the worship as practiced by one who has apprehended the true realities exclusive only to Him, after he has obtained his own apprehension of what He (God) is….”

At this juncture, Maimonides is making a significant and critical point.

The reality of “what God is” is exclusive and unique to each individual. As the Baal Shem Tov taught many times, a person’s world is between his (own) ears, in his (own) brain.

Maimonides offers the reader a parable, which he says he invented, to appreciate more vividly the journey of life for the genuinely interested (spiritual) traveler, where the most significant degree of self-actualization takes place.

The Majestic King is in His palace. His subjects are partially within the city and partly outside the city. Of those in the city, some have intentionally turned their backs toward the King’s Palace, and their faces are in the opposite direction. Others seek to reach the King’s Palace and face in His direction but have not reached it.

Some have made it up to the outside gates of the palace and are walking around the walls looking for the gate of entry. Some have come inside and stroll about in the antechambers.

Some have made it inside the King’s inner chamber and are with him but have not necessarily heard his voice or seen him. More effort is required to bring them within range of the King, the Ruler. According to their ongoing effort, they will hear, see, or even get to speak with the King.

Those outside the city are all human individuals with no doctrinal belief, neither based on speculation nor accepting the authority of tradition. They hardly can be considered humans, for they have not reached the potential which defines being human.

Those inside the city who have turned their backs on the palace are engaged in speculation of God but have adopted incorrect opinions because of their great errors or the errors of the one they follow. Since they hold on to these opinions and conclusions, the more they walk, the greater their distance from the palace. These people are far worse than the first group.

The multitudes of people who follow the law by habit alone, who observe God’s commandments and seek to reach the King’s Palace and enter it, are facing the right direction but never get inside.

Those who have come up to the majesty of His palace and walk around it are the ones who believe in genuine opinions based on traditional authority, study the law concerning Divine practices, but do not engage in speculation concerning the fundamental principles of religion and belief.

As long as one is involved and engaged in studying the sciences, they walk around searching for the gate at best. If they understand well the natural things, they may have even entered the habitation of the King.

Only when they understand Divine science, have they entered the inner court and are with Him in His chambers. On this level, there are many different ranks.

Those who have plunged into speculation concerning the fundamental principles of religion have entered the antechamber of the majestic habitation of the Ruler and King. Even there, people have different ranks according to the extent it is possible to ascertain in Divine Matters.

Then, there are the ones who renounce anything other than Him, direct all their acts and intellect toward Him, and know and feel His governance. This is the rank of the many prophets, their Divine inspiration, and miracles, about which we read in the Torah.

Through their conduct choices, they have refined themselves to receive the full flow of Divinity.

In addition to everyday science, knowledge of  Chassidus, the Divine sciences, places us within the electrifying energy of the chamber where the King Himself is found. In the chamber of the King, you rub shoulders with powerful, truly enlightened energy.

Chapter 287

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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