2137 Meditation on "I am nobody"

One of the Jewish mystics' primary meditative methods parallels a method used by mystics the world over. It has to do with withdrawing from the world, finding a place of inner quiet, and letting go of one's sense of selfidentity. It is said that the heart has a covering of psychic material keeping us separated from inner chambers that are connected with the Divine. The sheath over the heart is called the ego identity. This meditation practice is used to circumcise the heart, so to speak, to clear away our personal sense of identity so that we can enter the state of nothingness (ayin) from which we are able to freely explore the heart's inner chambers.
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2138 Meditation on Divine Protection

The divine protection practice is designed to empower the inner guide that protects us as we go through life. This is also an important place of safety and healing as we engage in other deep meditative practices. 1. Close your eyes and sit quietly, observing the movement of the chest as you breathe. Do this for at least five minutes. 2. Imagine that you are on a wonderful vacation, lying on a beach on a warm sunny day, listening to the surf. 3. Imagine that you are now floating on your back in the water in perfect safety and comfort. You are being supported by an unsinkable foam cushion that is securely fastened to your body. You have absolutely nothing to fear because you are in a bubble of protection and nothing can harm you, yet you can experience nature and the sea around you in their fullness. 4. Now...
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2139 Meditation on Healing Dreams

The Talmud discusses dreams at some length; it investigates what they mean and how to deal with them. For the most part, dreams are viewed as openings into other realities, demonic and angelic planes, as well as vehicles for divine revelation. There are many rituals designed for requesting a dream revelation before going to sleep. This you can do in straightforward language as you lie down at night. The dreamhealing meditation is designed to work with dreams that have already occurred. Often our dreams seem mysterious and are difficult to understand. This meditation gives us a method of uncovering hidden messages or deep personal revelations in those dreams. The meditation is best done soon after awakening, while the dream is fresh; but it is a technique that can be used anytime one wishes to work with highly charged dream images that linger in the memory.
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2140 Meditation While Sitting Quietly

QUIET SITTING AS A JEWISH MEDITATION PRACTICE The ancient pious ones used to meditate for an hour before prayer to build concentration on the heavenly realms. Even if greeted by a king, they did not answer him; even if a snake encircled their feet, they did not break their concentration. Babylonian Talmud: Berachot 30b Every tradition has spiritual practices to quiet the mind by some form of meditative technique. The most basic of these techniques is to learn how to sit still and do nothing. Although sitting still may sound quite simple, it is a challenging experience for even the most skilled meditator.
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2141 Meditation on Renewing Your Soul

A day of spiritual retreat is a powerful vehicle for renewing the soul. However, when we find a way to take a day to ourselves, we often do not know what to do with the free time. The purpose of a spiritual retreat is to do things that are different, to engage in experiences that will change our perspective of life and our role in it. Initially, these practices are not the kind of things we would normally choose to do during our free time. Some require strong concentration, some are repetitive, some necessitate great patience. On the other hand, many spiritual practices are intriguing, stimulating, provocative, and transformative. Although the introduction to spiritual practice is often an unusual experience, many of us discover that something within us opens, we gain new access to an inner voice, and we find ourselves looking forward to repeating and reinforcing the experience.
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2142 Meditation on the Mikvah

No person, even if completely clean, could enter the Temple Court without immersing [in a mikveh]. The high priest underwent five immersions and ten sanctifications on the day of Yom Kippur. Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 30a) One of the oldest known spiritual practices is to symbolically bathe and cleanse our bodies, not to rid ourselves of physical impurities, but to attain to spiritual purification. A common practice in traditional Judaism is to spiritually purify by immersing in a mikveh, which is any gathering of "living water" in which one can submerge completely. As long as there is enough water to completely engulf the body, any natural body of water-rivers, ponds, lakes, streams, even the ocean-can be used for spiritual purification.
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2180 Strange Encounters with Angels

One of my most significant angel encounters occurred in Jerusalem on December 31, 1990. The winters are chilly in Jerusalem and many homes do not have central heating. My wife, Shoshana, and I lived in a two story apartment with a storage heater in the downstairs living room. Most of the heat naturally flowed up the stairwell, so after a number of chilly winters in our living room, I realized that a ceiling fan needed to be installed at the top of the stairs. The upstairs ceiling was quite high and I needed to balance with one foot on the railing of the stairs, leaning away from the ladder as I installed the toggle bolt for the fan. I wanted to be certain that the bolt would hold the heavy fan, so I tested it by hanging from it with my full weight, not considering what might happen if, in fact, the bolt did not hold me. Even to this day I remember a clear warning somewhere in the depths of my consciousness. I heard it, and ignored it.
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2181 Mystical Understanding of Angels

In a famous biblical episode, Jacob wrestles a “man” who at one point, realizing that he cannot defeat Jacob, touches his thigh and throws it out of joint. All oral commentaries agree that Jacob’s opponent was not an ordinary man, but an angel. There are thousands of commentaries, including the Talmud, the oral tradition (Midrash), the mystical tradition (Zohar and Kabbalah), and the Hasidic tradition that describe and discuss angels. In our modern times, outside of Jewish literature, one can Google the word angel and get at least fifty million hits. It is fascinating to note, for example, that when the Dalai Lama met Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, as described in the book, THE JEW IN THE LOTUS, the Buddhist leader was enthralled by the Jewish perspective of angels. A detailed discussion between Reb Zalman and the Dalai Lama on the angels of the different traditions ensued. Many of the so-called deities in the Tibetan world have almost exactly the same characteristics as certain archangels in the Western world. Moreover, these characteristics are cultivated by using similar contemplative methods of visualizations for protection, healing, blessing, strength, support, wisdom, compassion, and loving kindness.
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2182 Types of Angels

There are angels of all types: messengers, ministering, accusing, guardian, archangels, teaching, assisting, and so forth. The most “ordinary” type of angel is a messenger, and the most prevalent message is simply: “be.” Whereas on the microcosmic level there are angels for the smallest form of matter, on the macrocosmic level there are angels for forests, mountains, seas, nations, the moon, the sun, the solar system, celestial bodies, galaxies and constellations—there is an angel for everything, large or small, in the universe.
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2183 Fallen Angels

Angelic forces are regularly in contention with demonic forces. While our emphasis in this book is on invoking “good” angels, it is important to have a chapter on their opponents to understand the character of the “Other Side.” Traditionally, to avoid suggesting that there was a purposeful creation of demons, the ancient scholars preferred to develop a mythology around angels who failed their calling for one reason or another—referred to as fallen angels. However, we need to be clear that even the idea of angels falling away from the God-field and becoming separate entities in conflict with the will of God is completely unacceptable in monotheistic theology.
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2184 Angels in the Bible

In the Torah, the Five Books of Moses—often referred to as the Old Testament—we find fascinating references to angels. There is an angel in the key story when God directed Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. An angel stops Abraham at the last moment from committing the act. This was seen as a test that Abraham had to pass, and of course this story has been of profound interest to readers over many centuries. When Abraham sent his servant, Eliezer, to seek out a wife for his son, Isaac, Eliezer was guided by an angel to Rebecca. One of Eliezer’s points to convince Rebecca that her intended soul-mate was Isaac was based on his relating to her that he had been guided to her by an angel.
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2185 Introduction for Invoking Angels

My wife, Shoshana, and I moved to the Old City of Jerusalem, in the mid-eighties, on a serious spiritual quest. While living and studying in the Old City for many years, we frequently experienced a curious event that most residents there take for granted. Almost every time we would discuss the need to meet someone or to invite someone to a meal, strangely and almost miraculously, within hours, the phone would ring with that person calling—or we would run into that person on the street the same day. In fact, this happened so frequently, any time someone’s name came up in conversation, we simply assumed that an imminent meeting with this person was inevitable.
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2189 Meta-tron Prince of Presence

Meta-tron, the sar ha-panim, (prince of the Presence), is the greatest, largest, most important of all angels, second only to the Presence itself and sometimes even confused with the YHVH, the Source of Being. Some Jewish mystics refer to the sar ha-panim as the “little YHVH,” which is only one step under God, so to speak. An earlier name for this angel was Yahoel, which translates as either the “breath of God,” or the “God-face presence of God.” In other words, M…tron (sic) is in many ways a greater presence than all of the archangels combined. In traditional Judaism, even to this day, one is quite circumspect in saying the name of this angel out loud, or even writing it. This is why I will refer to this supreme angel as M throughout this chapter. In kabbalistic circles, this angel is often referred to as “the youth,” “the lad,” or “the boy,” as a typical, intentional understatement that is often used by the sages to say just the opposite of what they mean—in this instance, “the enormous,” “the beyond measure,” or “the gigantic.”
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2190 Sandalphon brother of Meta-tron

Sandalphon is viewed as M’s lesser brother, yet so awesome that he too is supreme, ruling legions of angels and the highest, seventh level of the heavens. These brother angels tend to all prayers: Sandalphon weaves them into a mystical crown for the “head” of God, and M handles the response to the petitioner, the one who prays. In this teaching, we can derive that Sandalphon represents all matter and form of the universe (the yesh, or thingness aspect of Ein Sof) while M represents the essential emptiness out of which everything arises and into which everything disappears (the ayin, or nothingness aspect of Ein Sof.) Sandalphon is in many ways the primary intermediary between heaven and earth, between form and emptiness, between source and creation. Kabbalists say that the derivation of Sandalphon’s name is composed of two parts: sandal, a stillborn embryo not yet distinguishable, and fon, the root form of the word “face,” which together the words mean “matter in the process of becoming a face/form.”
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2191 Shekhina: Angelic Divine Presence

The word “shechane” in Hebrew means a neighbor or an inhabitant of a place; and “Shekhina” has the special meaning of being the Divine Presence. The “ah” sound at the end of a word in Hebrew usually indicates the feminine gender. Thus, the Shekhina is viewed in traditional Judaism as the God’s Divine Presence, which is a feminine aspect. In addition, the same root is found in the word: Mishkan, which in times past was the home of the Shekhina. In the Hebrew Bible, the Mishkan was considered to be the dwelling place of God on earth, a portable sanctuary that was carried by the Hebrews during their years of wandering in the desert. What is meant by Divine Presence? In the earliest times, the Presence was awesome. If the high priest entered the holy of holies and stood in the physical presence of God, a single ill-timed thought would result in the priest’s immediate death. On Yom Kippur day, when the high priest was obliged to enter the Holy of Holies—a special chamber in the center of the Temple—and speak the secret name, a rope was tied around the priest’s waist so that if he died because of his wandering thoughts, those standing on the outside would be able to pull him out. Otherwise, anyone that tried to enter the holy space to retrieve the dead high priest would himself surely risk death that would result from his own impure thoughts.
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2192 The Archangel Gabriel

he angel Gabriel (pronounced Gav-ree-ayl in Hebrew) means the justice or righteousness of God. The root form of the word, g-v-r, is connected with courage and heroism, as well as a word meaning a man. Thus, Gabriel could be literally translated as a “man of God,” who courageously lives according to the universal laws. The root of Gabriel is also connected with the attribute of Gevorah on the left side of the Tree of Life. Whereas Michael is on God’s right hand, Gabriel is on God’s left hand. The left hand is the one that metes out punishment; the right hand overrules strict justice and is more merciful and thus more lenient. Gabriel is the angel that is sent to destroy the cities of sin, Sodom and Gemorrah, and some sources say that it was Gabriel, not Michael, that annihilated Sennacherib’s camp. This view is obviously more consistent with the general description of these two archangels, however, it is important to note that there are many opinions expressed by biblical commentaries that often are in opposition with one another, depending upon the point being made. Therefore, as the trans-rational realms of souls, angels and heavenly beings are, beyond definitive description, we must be careful not to assign any limited constructs.
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2193 The Archangel Michael

Angelology, the study of angels, has always been of particular interest to mystics who believed that the more we understand how angels function, the more we will be able to interact and work with them. Some of the earliest known mystics in the Jewish tradition were the Essenes, who lived in Qumran. They developed an elaborate system of guardian angels that were represented as heavenly princes. When we compile references to different angels there are thousands of names that appear, strange names such as: Zagzagael, who was revealed to Moses in the Burning Bush; Dubiel, the guardian angel of the Persians; Gezardiya , the guardian angel in charge of everything in the Eastern direction; Pesagniyah, the angel in charge of the South; Petahyah, the angel of the North; Zebuliel, the chief angel of the West; Kafziel and Hizkiel, chief angels under the archangel Gabriel; Zophiel and Zadkiel, chief angels under the archangel Michael, and on and on the list continues.
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2194 The Archangel Raphael

The archangel Raphael is the angel dedicated to healing. In addition to the healing of humans, this angel is charged with healing the earth and all of its creatures. Raphael is also the angel that defended God’s decision to create humans against the opposition of almost all of the other angels who believed that it was a grave mistake to create what in their opinion would be an offensive, trouble making, and mostly unconscious human species. The jury is still out.
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2196 The Angel of Death

Death is arguably the greatest mystery in creation. Some sub-atomic particles have “life” spans of micro-seconds and some trees live for thousands of years. Some stars exist for billions of years. And yet, everything that exists, sooner or later will cease to exist. When we fully realize this universal truth on a personal level, it can either liberate us or it can be a terrifying reality. Most people, however, do not ponder death until it enters our homes. In the early days of spiritual inquiry, death was viewed as the enemy of life. Many stories were built upon cosmic battles between the two, and the natural assumption was that death was a force separate from the Godhead. As monotheism developed, however, there was no way to separate death from an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God. So, instead of being the great enemy of God, it was simply viewed as an aspect of creation—death is a natural law of the universe.
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2195 The Archangel Uriel

The archangel Uriel, whose name means “light of God,” was the messenger sent to Noah to announce the coming of the Flood. As the story of the Flood captured the imagination of many commentaries, there is a fairly wide array of angels mentioned by different commentators. Some say it was Raziel—the angel connected with Adam and mysterious book—who gave Noah the same book so that he would have the instructions on how to build the ark. The late professor Gershom Scholem of Hebrew University, who popularized the study of Kabbalah a half-century ago, said that Raziel and Uriel were one and the same. Indeed, from a mystical perspective, both have identical numeric values in which the Hebrew letters of each of their names add up to 248, which is a kabbalistic proof that there must be a distinct relationship between these two angels. Another way of saying this is that the revelation of “secrets” (Raziel) brings a special “light” (Uriel) that raises one’s Awareness of the nature of Presence.
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