The 49 Stages of Spiritual refinement of King David
“There is no other ‘water’ but Torah (knowledge of G-d)”
(Talmud tractate of Baba Kama 3:22)
Psalms 145:9 states: 'God is good to all and His mercies extend over all His works' and
Proverbs 3:17 states: 'The Torah's ways are pleasant ways and all its paths are peace.'
In Hebrew, the word for “water” – mayim – is in the plural (or “dual”) form, implying that in every body of water, even the smallest drop, there are in fact two facets/dimensions of water. This alludes to the reflection of the consummate union of the higher waters – rain from the heaven - (alluding to spiritual knowledge) and the lower waters – water from the oceans and rivers – (alluding to scientific knowledge) in every single drop of water.
Additionally, mayim – spelled mem-yud-mem – is symmetric, that is, identical, wether read from beginning to end or from end to beginning. In Kabbalah (the esoteric dimension of Torah), mayim is the symmetric for of the word for “who?” – spelled mem-yud, alluding to the verse, “ Lift up your eyes and see Who [mi] created these” (Isaiah 40:26). Every drop of water reflects the secret of : Who created these,” for in every drop of water the higher waters meet the lower waters to create, in perfect union, new forms of life.
In the creative process, it is the very same Divine “Who” which descends as the higher waters (alluded to in the first and second letter of mayim) and ascends as the lower waters (alluded to in the second and third letters of mayim) to create new life.
The Divine state of consciousness aroused by the appropriate study of Torah (for Gentiles, the Noahide Code) stems and arouses the spark of Machiach (the Messiah) son of David with the person and allow him to experience a redeemed state of reality.
The numerical value of maiym is 90, which is two times 45, the value of the word for “what” (mah), implying a state of true selflessness.
Thus, we see that water represents the union of two manifestations of “who” and two states of “what.” The two states of “what” correspond to the two manifestations of “who”: The male dimension of the higher waters (present in every drop of water) possesses its inherent state of selflessness, in descending from on high – giving itself over to unite with the lower waters; and the female dimension of the lower waters possesses its inherent state of selflessness in ascending – rising up and out of itself – to unite with the higher waters.
Why did G-d chose to use a Flood of water to start a new the project of humanity?
Noah was six hundred year old when G‑d told him to go into the Ark with his whole family, and to admit the animals which G‑d had selected.
The flood commenced on the seventeenth day of the second month. The gates of heaven broke loose, and the depths of the earth opened to send forth streams of raging, boiling water, swallowing everything in its path. Rain fell for forty days and forty nights and the water which covered the earth rose higher and higher. It covered the peaks of the highest mountains. Every living thing died, and all growing things were destroyed. Amid this terrible scene of ruins and devastation the Ark, guided by G‑d, floated securely. But the ship was fiercely tossed about and shaken at the heights of the stormy flood, so that it seemed to Noah that it was about to break apart.
A flood: The word for "flood" (mabul) is related to the word for "confusion" (balal). Metaphorically, the waters of the flood drown us, along with our minds, by confusing us as to what is primary and what is secondary in life. The truth is that the purpose of the soul's descent into this world is to fulfill its Divine mission. Furthermore, the soul's relationship to material matters, such as eating, is also -*when the soul is confused, the awareness of its true mission becomes submerged and forgotten. We then go about our material lives "soulless," lacking Divine meaning and purpose.
“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see that the mouth of the Lord spoke.” Isaiah (40:5)
In the six hundredth year: The Zohar interprets this verse as a prophecy: "In the six hundredth year of the sixth [millennium, i.e., around the year 1840], the gates of supernal wisdom and the wellsprings of earthly wisdom will open up. This will prepare the world to be elevated in the seventh [millennium, i.e., the messianic era]."
"Supernal wisdom" refers to the wisdom of the Torah, while "earthly wisdom" refers to secular knowledge. Indeed, the era referred to in the Zohar's prophecy saw an explosion of knowledge, both in the realm of rational articulation of the inner secrets of Torah as well as in the realm of revolutionary scientific discoveries. On the one hand, we can readily understand how the revelation of the inner dimension of the Torah prepares the world for the messianic era; we are taught that these revelations are a foretaste of the Divine knowledge with which the world will be filled at that time. On the other hand, in what way do the revolutionary revelations in the realm of secular knowledge serve to prepare the world for the messianic era?
The answer is threefold:
(a) Firstly, the newly-revealed technologies provide us with a foretaste of the spiritual climate of the messianic era. At that time, our perception of Divinity will not be limited to intellectual appreciation alone. On the contrary, the physical eye will be able to see the Divine energy that sustains the world. Modern technology affords us a glimpse into such empirical perception of Divinity. For example, the knowledge that a telephone or radio can enable us to hear a voice from the other side of the world gives us an empirical example of the concept that God sees and hears all that occurs in the universe.
Without this and similar examples, our appreciation of God's omniscience would be limited to an abstract, intellectual understanding, which does not always affect us fully. Now, however, with the aid of such examples, we can meditate upon the concept of God's omniscience based on our own empirical experience. Such meditation has a much more powerful impact, both on our emotions and on the three "garments" of thought, speech, and deed.
(b) Furthermore, new technologies can not only serve as an example of Divine concepts (as above); they themselves can be used to convey the new revelations of Torah's inner dimension in a way that helps prepare the world for the messianic era. In fact, this is their true and primary purpose. When the secrets of Torah are broadcast over the radio waves, for example, they can be physically heard wherever they are broadcast throughout the entire world. This is a foretaste of the messianic era, when Divine wisdom will spread without any restriction or limitation throughout the entire world and will be perceptible by our physical flesh (just as the teaching of Torah's inner dimension on the radio can be heard physically and instantaneously).
(c) Furthermore, scientific advances do not serve merely as a tool to broadcast the secrets of Torah, a means to an end; rather, they themselves reflect the concepts expounded in Torah's inner dimension.
This concept of God's oneness, for example is evidenced in science itself: scientists used to believe that every organism comprises many, distinct elements. But as science develops further, the more it recognizes that the diversity within the universe is only superficial and that the universe is essentially the unification of form and matter.
This explains the intrinsic connection between the development of the sciences and the revelation of Torah's inner dimension as a preparation for the messianic era: The revelation of Torah's inner dimension automatically leads to the development of the secular sciences. It is indeed through the latter that the foretaste of the Divine knowledge that will fill the world in the messianic era is experienced in an empirical way. When we see the world's oneness through the eyes of science, we realize that this oneness is identical to the oneness of Divinity (which is revealed through Torah's inner dimension). This, in turn, "prepares the world to be elevated in the seventh" millennium.
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