What is redemption?
We have all heard about redemption and intuitively seek and yearn for it. We know that the world and creation is destined for something far greater than what we are seeing and the conscious state of mind which we are in. The Rambam (Maimonides) devotes the last 2 chapters of his monumental books to redemption and what the world will look like.
So what is redemption really?
Turing On The Light
The creation of the world is likened to a house, a dwelling place. Just as we feel at home in our own homes, so too G-d yearns to feel “at home” in this world. We help make that dwelling place for the Divine in this world. The Midrash says that “G-d desired to dwell within this world”.
In addition, just as there are various types of homes, such as a large, small, with a view etc. A common need for all homes is for the home to be well lit. Without the proper lighting, either from widows are electricity and as beautiful as the home may be with its fixtures and furniture, the home is not a home where one really feels at home.
So too, the world needs to be illuminated by Torah and Mitzvot (good deeds) for G-d to feel at home within his creation.
Throughout world history and of mankind, we have cumulatively been illuminating G-d’s home. The effects of this illumination however have been kept unseen and in a way underground, waiting for sprouting (Chesed L’Avraham, Nahar 1, Tanya, chapter 37).
The lack of clarity, certainty and illumination on the spiritual, emotional, financial, physical level is called exile Gola, or Galut גלות in Hebrew. When we as individuals, a society , a human race and the world are not in our optimal “light’s on” phase then we are in a state on exile. There many types of exiles (generally 4, discussed in class #2), but the common denominator is that as refined, comfortable and complacent that one is in, if the rest of the world is “not yet there”, then in truth that individual is not “not yet there”. The reason is that there is a common destiny and responsibility which we all have for each other and for the entire world. Making this dwelling place for G-d, is turning on the lights of the world.
Redemption is the full illumination of the world. It’s the “light’s on” that the human race and the entire universe has been waiting for.
The Maharal of Prague (17th Century Talmudist, Philosopher and Kabbalist) says that the difference between exile גולה and redemption גאולה is the letter Aleph א.
Aleph is the letter which connotes G-d who is “Aluph Shel Olam”, the champion of the world. The Zohar says that Aleph א is comprised of the letter Yud י׳ on top, a Yud י׳ on the bottom and the letter Vav ו׳ which connects the 2 letters Yud. The higher Yud relates to the supernal hidden wisdom called Chochma, the lower Yud relates to the lower wisdom as it descends into this world. The letter Vav connects these to realms.
The Maharal is practically saying that once we have the illumination of the letter Aleph- the Divine, we transcend exile and bring redemption into our personal and into the collective consciousness of the world.
Purpose Of Creation
As we mentioned above, the purpose of creation is for G-d to become revealed within our world, within his world. G-d especially wants to give us the ultimate good and revelation. In order to do that we and the world need to be prepared and open to that form of revelation.
This is likened to a homeless beggar, who’s life wish is to eat a warm meal, take a bath and stay in modest shelter for the night. Imagine a billionaire who sees potential in this hapless individual. Unless the beggar changes the way he thinks, he will never be successful. He first must get out of the small and limited mind frame of his way of thinking. This transition takes time and effort, however when he finally believes in himself, amazing thing begin to happen. Life does get better that thinking that a warm supper is the greatest thing in the world. He begins to receive things that he thought were out of reach.
In the analogy, the homeless beggar is us. We think that surviving is the ultimate. Even if we are thriving on certain levels, it is far from our true potential and the infinite possibilities that we can potentially receive.
In order to receive those gifts, we must change our mind frame and constricted way of seeing our selves and the world.
Exile and redemption are very much within our own minds as they are on the cosmic level. The purpose of creation is “for G-d’s infinite light to give us the greatest good” (Ramchal, 18 Century Kabbalist and Talmudist).
Changing our way of thinking and seeing beyond the scope of our limited perception is a redemptive trait which hastens the personal and collective redemption. So let’s get on that today!
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