Is there God in our lives, felt, seen, heard? Often we speak of God in theoretical terms, in the third person, as if we were describing a neighbor. We debate whether Gd exists or whether He is just a figment of wild ancient human imagination. The first word of the Torah-book Vayikra (the third of the “Five Books of Moses”) gives us a hint: “(he) called Moses and the Eternal spoke to him...” (Vayikra chapter 1: verse 1).
Vayikra, ויקרא, which literally means “he called” is spelled with a smaller size letter at its end, the letter Aleph (א or “a”) to be precise. The Zohar (13th century mystical Torah commentary) teaches that whenever letters appear small in the Torah they allude to the “lower” world that God inhabits.
A larger א represents the transcendent aspect of God, the incomprehensible one, the God we will never encounter due to limited human capacity. The transcendent God does not exist to human experience. The smaller א, though, to the contrary, represents the direct-experience God that we encounter day in and day out. We know Her when we touch Her.
The smaller א, of direct-experience, is also termed Shekhina, שכינה, the Indwelling One, also the feminine aspect of God. She resides in our midst. Where? You know where as She is within your subjective experience in your moment to moment living. At times She surprises you with little synchronicities, some call them coincidences. Sometimes you meet Her during earth-shaking miraculous events. Other times you meet Her in the intensity of emotion related to life’s significant passages, birth, puberty/sexuality, marriage, and brushes with death. Others meet Her in the quietude of meditative breathing. No one can tell you where She is, because only you know.
Thus you are Vayikra, ויקרא, you are called, by a voice so ancient yet fresh, so subtle yet undeniable, whose poetry sings your breathing from out-of-the-womb to the threshold of the great void. Someone had “called to Moses” (ibid.) just as someone is still calling to each of us moment by moment. Have you heard your unique calling(s)? When we hear, see, touch the “calling” then the spiritual dimension we call “God” livestreams at us “… and the Eternal spoke…” (ibid.), as it were. Do not believe in Him, simply listen and hear Her calling. She is not a “neighbor” but the pattern in the fabric of your own very life.
Like Moses, may we listen.
Rabbi Reuben Modek
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