What Is Devekut?

arizal ba'al shem devekut kabbalah meditation prayer Jul 04, 2023

By Rabbi Amichai Cohen

Picture this: You're in a serene space, eyes closed, and a gentle breeze brushes against your skin. Your mind gradually drifts away from the noise of the world as you embark on a journey of spiritual connection with your Neshama or soul. This is Devekut - a Jewish meditative practice that invites us to experience a profound union with the divine. In this article, we will dive into the essence of Devekut, exploring its meaning, significance, and how it can enrich our lives.

In Jewish mysticism, the concept of Devekut stands as a beacon of spiritual aspiration and connection. Rooted in the Kabbalistic tradition, Devekut represents the profound union between the individual and the divine.

Defining Devekut:
Devekut is all about forging an unbreakable bond with the divine. It's about immersing ourselves in the loving embrace of the divine presence, feeling an intimate connection that transcends the limitations of our physical reality. It's like getting lost in a beautiful melody that touches the depths of your soul or savoring a mouthwatering dish that ignites a sensory explosion within you. It's a state of being where the boundaries between you and the divine blur, and you experience a sense of unity, love, and wholeness.

The roots of Devekut can be traced back to numerous verses in the Torah, particularly in the Book of Devarim- Deuteronomy. These verses emphasize the concept of connecting with or cleaving to the Divine. Throughout the book, some passages highlight the importance of fostering a deep and intimate relationship with God.

One such verse in Deuteronomy 4:4 states, "But you who held fast to the Hashem your God are all alive today." This verse alludes to the idea that those who cling steadfastly to God will experience profound spiritual vitality and fulfillment.

In Deuteronomy 10:20, we also find the commandment, "You shall fear the Hashem your God; him alone you shall worship; to him, you shall hold fast, and by his name, you shall swear." This verse emphasizes the importance of wholeheartedly worshiping God and maintaining a strong attachment to Him.

Furthermore, Deuteronomy 11:22-23 speaks of walking in God's ways, observing His commandments, and holding fast to Him. This verse suggests that one can experience the blessings and guidance of living a righteous life through obedience and a deep connection to God.

The Ramban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman) of Barcelona, Spain, said that Devekut is the focal point of the Torah.
God essentially desires a connection with us via learning the Torah, prayer, intention- Kavana, our emotions, and the performance of Mitzvot.

Ancient Jewish traditions encourage the quest for spiritual closeness with the divine, where one is internally nurtured.

Over the centuries, Jewish mystical teachings, particularly within the Kabbalistic and Chassidic traditions, provided profound insights into the practice and significance of Devekut. Figures such as the Arizal- Rabbi Isaac Luria and the Ba'al Shem Tov emphasized the transformative power of this spiritual union.

The Path to Devekut:

So, how do we reach this state of blissful connection?
Devekut is not a uniform experience but encompasses diverse paths to attaining spiritual union. Traditional Jewish practices like prayer, meditation, Torah study, and contemplation serve as gateways to this state of divine connection. Through these practices, individuals seek to transcend their ego-driven consciousness and immerse themselves in the divine presence, allowing for a profound self-transformation.
Devekut in the form of meditation is a personal journey unique to each individual.

For some, it might be through prayer, where words become a conduit for their heart's desires and a channel to communicate with the divine. For others, it could be through meditation, where they quiet their minds and create a sacred space within to invite the divine presence to enter.

Prayer, or "Tefillah," is central in the pursuit of Devekut. It serves as a vehicle to express one's longing for union with the divine and engage in heartfelt dialogue. Additionally, practices like Hitbodedut (secluded meditation) and Hithbonenut (introspection) facilitate introspective contemplation, enabling individuals to connect with their innermost essence and the divine presence within.

But Devekut isn't just a fleeting moment of connection; it's a way of life, a state of mind that infuses every aspect of our being. It's about carrying that sense of divine presence with us, whether sipping coffee, walking in nature, or engaging in everyday tasks. It's about recognizing the divine within ourselves and in the world around us. When we live in Devekut, we see every encounter, and every experience, as an opportunity to deepen our connection and grow spiritually.

When one achieves Devekut, the transformative power becomes evident. The individual experiences a heightened spiritual awareness, divine inspiration, and a deepened connection to the broader cosmic order. The fruits of Devekut manifest as an inner radiance that radiates love, compassion, and a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings.

Let's be honest; the path to Devekut isn't always smooth sailing. Life throws curveballs, distractions abound, and our doubts and fears can cloud our vision. But remember, it's all part of the journey. Embracing the challenges and using them as stepping stones can deepen our connection with the divine. In those moments of struggle and vulnerability, we discover new layers of ourselves and the profound support of the divine presence.

While Devekut is often associated with transcendent experiences, its essence can also permeate our daily lives. Integrating the consciousness of Devekut into our mundane activities allows us to infuse them with purpose, meaning, and a heightened awareness of the divine presence in every moment. Whether in acts of kindness, ethical conduct, or the pursuit of justice, the path of Devekut influences our interactions and helps us cultivate a sacred way of living.

Devekut serves as a spiritual compass in Jewish mysticism, guiding seekers toward a profound union.

Cultivating a connection with the divine opens doors to wisdom, guidance, and a profound sense of purpose. It awakens our inner light and allows us to shine it onto others, spreading love, compassion, and understanding. Devekut enriches our lives, infusing every moment with wonder, gratitude, and joy.

As we conclude this exploration of Devekut, I invite you to embark on your journey of connection. As the Passover Haggada says, “Go and learn,” when we leave our comfort zones, we can learn and grow.
Whether you choose prayer, meditation, or any other path, embrace it with an open heart and a curious mind.
May you find solace, inspiration, a deep sense of belonging, and purpose in the divine embrace to connect you to Hashem/G-d in your life and to the universe he created.



Devekut Meditation

Find a comfortable and quiet space to sit undisturbed for this Devekut meditation.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath, allowing your body to relax and your mind to settle.

Begin by bringing your awareness to your breath. Take a few moments to observe each inhale and exhale, feeling your abdomen's gentle rise and fall.

Now, focus inward and imagine a soft, golden light surrounding your body.

Visualize this radiant light enveloping you, creating a protective and sacred space.

As you continue to breathe deeply, feel yourself becoming more grounded and centered.

Allow any tension or worries to dissolve, releasing them with each exhale.

Now, bring your attention to your heart center, the seat of your soul.

Visualize warm, glowing energy emanating from this area, expanding with each breath.
With each inhale, imagine that you are drawing in divine love, wisdom, and light.

Feel this energy permeating every cell of your being, filling you with a profound sense of connection and peace.
As you exhale, release any distractions, doubts, or negativity that may be present within you.

Let go of any resistance or barriers and fully surrender to the divine presence.

Now, imagine yourself entering a sacred space of spiritual significance to you. It could be a peaceful garden, a serene mountaintop, or any other location that resonates with your soul.

Feel a deep connection to the divine as you immerse yourself in this sacred space. Experience a higher power surrounding you, supporting and guiding you on your spiritual journey.

Take a moment to offer gratitude for this connection, expressing your appreciation for the divine wisdom and love that flows through you.

Allow yourself to be in this moment, basking in the divine presence. If thoughts or distractions arise, gently acknowledge them without judgment and then release them, bringing your focus back to the sacredness of the present moment.

Stay in this state of connection and deep communion for as long as it feels right. When you are ready to conclude the meditation, express gratitude again for the divine guidance and presence that has accompanied you.

Slowly bring your awareness back to your physical surroundings, gently wiggling your fingers and toes. Take a few moments to ground yourself, feeling the connection between your body and the earth beneath you.

When you are ready, open your eyes, carrying with you the sense of peace, connection, and devotion that you cultivated during this Devekut meditation.


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