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A discussion about Jewish meditation and its relation to prayer


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Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

Steve: Does Jewish tradition emphasize transendence and/or enlightenment?

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: we need to establish definitions

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: in odrer to commence this discussion

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: what is the definition of the words that you are asking about

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: what exactly is this transcendence that you speak of

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: or enlightenment

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: I need to know exactly what it means to you in order to answer your question about whether or not it/they exists in Judaism

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: there certainly is a concept of trancendance in Judasim, only I am not sure if it is the same trancendance that you are talking about

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: so what exactly are you talking about?

Steve: Well, I see all of those terms as being (rough) equivalents--they're various faiths' or traditions' *objectives*. They're the various teloi of the traditions. So, I'm going by the normative definitions. Ex. Christiany's salvation, Buddhism's enlightenment, Native American visions, etc.

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: I am not Christian or Bhudist

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: and cannot speak with authority about concepts related to those faiths

Steve: I know. ;-)

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: so i need you to define exactly what you mean

Steve: Well, I guess I mean either union/reconciliation (I don't know if the latter term really applies to Judaism) with God, or enlightenment as to the nature and purpose of life...

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: the terms we are using are ambiguous

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: I propose that I try to explain the concepts within Judaism and we will see if it actually answers your question

Steve: OK. That sounds great!

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: Judaism teaches that a Jew is born with a natural love for G-d that flows from the soul

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: this love, in fact the soul itself, is concealed from conscious thought

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: and it is only when we make an effort to reach it or find it that we come across it

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: there are various tools that help us in this regard

Rabbi Eliezer G: first and foremost there is the study of Torah

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: because the Torah is the work of G-d's intellect and desire, its study forms a powerful unification between our minds and the words and thoughts that it grasps in its study

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: prayer is also a powerful tool

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: because it is our conscious effort to strive for connection with G-d

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: and the lubricant that makes both prayer and study efective is meditation

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: to not only understand the concepts and pray about them, but to relate to them and identify with them, as a part of ourselves

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: to make the concept that we learn and pray one with our mind heart and conscience

Steve: So once we "come across" or achieve this love for God, what happens then? And what is the term for it?

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: the term for achieving this love for G-d is interchangable

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: some call it Mochin Degadlus

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: which means expanded consciousness

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: some call hisurerus, which means arousal or stimulation of the soul

Rabbi Eliezer G: some call it yichud, which means unification

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: the idea behind these terms is that we actualize and bring to the surface of our awareness the natural kinship bond and love that we have with G-d

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: This is the purpose of prayer

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: the one two three pattern is:

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: first study

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: then meditation

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: and then, after the ground is fertile so to speak through the plowing that occurs with study and the planting that occurs with meditation, we water the plant with prayer

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: after those three steps, the connection or unification or connection with G-d can bud and then flourish

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: how long it lasts in the day after the prayer depends on many factors

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: but the important point is to return to it every day, again and again

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: so that the time of prayer becomes a time of connection

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: does this answer your question?

Steve: You're providing great answers! Very helpful!

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Torah » Kabbalah » Meditation
Chassidism » Chassidic Concepts
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