Jewish meditation: Have a divine day!

A couple of days ago by chance,I noticed in my bedroom a small booklet titled “Living in divine space”, which I had borrowed from a friend some months back. Something drew me to pick it up. I have recently attempted to feel more connected.

What unfolded as a result, makes me question whether I picked the book up by chance, or whether it was a case of divine providence.

Who has not tried to connect and feel G-d’s presence in their life? Spiritual upliftment is a wonderful feeling and central to Jewish practice. Having a divine experience is something most of us aspire towards, yet many find elusive or even unimaginable.

Is there a way to live in divine space? Is there a technique that will enable me to feel heard, guided, protected and empowered by G-d?
In this Shabbat’s weekly parasha “Teruma” we read about the very first physical dwelling place of Hashem – which came about in the desert.

“They shall make a sanctuary for me and I shall dwell amongst them.”

Interestingly Hashem does not speak only of dwelling in the sanctuary, but even “amongst” those in it.
This apparently suggests one of the most fundamental Jewish meditations outlined by world renowned Kabbalist and Hassidic author of many outstanding books, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, in that little booklet of his which I happened to stumble upon this week.

We picture ourselves within six extremities or directions, which provides us a space to feel Hashem’s presence as if we are in the very sanctuary related to in this week’s Parsha.

Below I will share the essential aspects Rabbi Ginsburgh offers as a way to enter this divine space.
In the meditation, one needs to picture oneself within a sanctuary created within our six extremities, each of which is based on the six corresponding, constant mitzvoth of the Torah which are the six commandments that apply to all Jews, in all places and at all times. These are considered to be the “duties of the heart.”

These six mitzvoth are:

1. To believe in the existence and providence of G-d.
2. Not to believe in the existence of any other god.
3. To believe that G-d is an absolute, non – composite and all-encompassing unity.
4. To love G-d.
5. To fear – be in awe of G-d.
6. To guard oneself from “foreign” thoughts.

We picture ourselves inside a “sanctuary”, which is defined by our conscious, heartfelt observance of the six mitzvot.
Each mitvah corresponds to a Torah phrase which embodies that particular direction.
These are the six phrases and directions.

1. Above the meditator:

“I am G-d, your G-d, who has taken you out of the land of Egypt.”
This is the first of the Ten Commandments. Belief in and connection to G-d, is the rope one uses to climb upwards.

2. Below the meditator is the second commandment:

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

This mitzvah is below since the natural forces are those earthly ones below and when one disconnects from the belief from above, one potentially falls into the reliance on the natural forces alone.

3. To one’s front is the commandment and most central statement in Judaism:

“Hear O Israel, the Lord is G-d, the Lord is One.”

Here one contemplates the absolute unity of G-d. By being cognizant of this Oneness of Hashem, one can overcome feelings of anger. Therefore the awareness of this mitzvah should always be in front of us.

4. To our right is the commandment we read in “The Shema”.

“And you shall love the Lord your G-d, with all your soul and with all your might.”
This commandment is placed to the right, since in Jewish imagery this side is associated with love and loving kindness.

5. To our left is the commandment:

“And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your G-d ask of you but to fear.”

This is the commandment to fear G-d or to be in awe of G-d. Fear and awe create spiritual equilibrium and thus this left side balances the right (love).

6. Behind us is the commandment:

“And you shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes.’

“After” also means behind and therefore we focus on the direction behind us, protecting our backs from danger and distraction.
Rabbi Ginsburgh suggests we construct this meditational space in which we should consider ourselves to move in at all times. I am currently nowhere nearly capable of that.
Yet having been drawn to his booklet during this week in which we read about Hashem’s first dwelling place on earth, a place within our midst, I have meditated on it this week and decided to share it here with you this Shabbat.

Wishing you a divine day. Shabbat Shalom.

About the Author
David Skolni is a South African immigrant. He came to live in Israel in 1982. He is a special needs teacher and a practitioner in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. His current interest is in the connections between body, movement and Judaism.
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