The Quest has always been about searching for and understanding the nature and essence of Divine Truth. Rather than focusing on dogmatic concepts and restrictive rules there has to be more rational approach to something seemingly so enigmatic. For thousands of years man has been searching for answers and trying to discover our purpose in the grand design. The search for answers has resulted in the various different religions that have existed throughout history. I have spent the last several years contemplating and searching for answers and now find myself on a journey that has broadened my sense of purpose and brought me closer to understanding how the complex can be made simple and the seemingly simple becomes more complex. Several months ago I began an in-depth study of the Torah. The primary reason is that the majority of the people of the world are adherents to one of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and the foundational text of those religions is the Torah (even though most of the followers of those faiths have little to no knowledge of it). I realize that taking a non-literal approach to the Torah rocks the foundation of both Christianity and Islam but, truth be told, the Torah is more than a literal text. In fact, it is my belief (and anyone who has really studied it) that it was never intended to be just literal. As one begins to peel off the several layers you discover an ethical application which we see through the Mussar teachings, there is also a theocratic legal code which you see in the Halacha system, a modern commentary approach, and the mystic and esoteric approach found in Kabbalah.
The Zohar is a literary body of work that is the foundation of Kabbalah. Kabbalah has gained in popularity recently due to certain celebrities who claim to be adherents to it however, what they really follow is a store-front blend of mystical, astrological, and self-help precepts wrapped up in a Kabbalah bow. I’ve read a number of books about Kabbalah and some books based on its concepts and they all make it very clear that in order to absorb and retain any of the teachings and precepts of Kabbalah requires an understanding of the Torah. So I studied the Torah mixing the yearly plan of both the Orthodox and Reform Judaism. They both touch on Kabbalah and to my surprise the foundational text – the Zohar – is in fact largely another commentary on the Torah itself.
We now start a new leg of the quest. While this too may be an old path, it is different as it does not use a rigid dogmatic system. It is mystical and open to giving the Divine the liberty of multiple emanations and dimensions. As I now begin a deeper study of the Zohar it is evident that it will take me quite a while to walk this path because it is a winding path to the summit. Most religions force you into a straight and narrow path with no liberty to go to the right or to the left. Kabbalah is different – the path is winding and at times it even requires you to circle back before you can ascend further.
Questions are immensely important as they are half of an answer. Without questions there can be no answers. So here are some questions for you to ponder.
- What is the purpose of creation?
- Is there an active Divine presence, is it in exile, or is it merely an illusion?
- Does human action have an effect on the cosmos?
- Are our thoughts and prayers mere electromagnetic impulses or do they gain substance?
- Is there an essence of evil or is it merely an absence of light?
I hope that those of you reading this will open your mind to the concept that this quest can be yours as well. You do not have to force yourself into beliefs because of family traditions or fear of damnation. We were given a mind to reason and to think. The more we begin to unravel the mysteries of nature through science, the more it is evident that simplistic and dogmatic views of the Divine will eventually be obsolete and unfulfilling. Science may prove a lot of things but, it requires an element of faith and pre-existence. Science can begin to explain the unknown with theories but, even theories themselves have an element of unknowns and preexistent origins and fundamentals. If life and science have layers then wouldn’t the Divine as well?
© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light