the unknowable head

This morning we went for an ultrasound, (well, I can't do much more than tag along) my wife said it's amazing that we get to know and see someone, before they are even someone, we get to see them and know them before we really know them at all. She described it as ראישא דלא איתידע - the head which isn't (or can't be) known. (a term from the Zohar) It struck me as resonating deeply with Rebbe Nachman's Torah from yesterday. (Likkutei Moharan I:24)

Which made me realize that really, approaching any person is a similar experience. Part of the interaction with a person gives you insight into who and what they are. But, there remains always a part of them which is completely beyond us. A part of everyone, that only HaShem knows. (This is the same part that is hinted at in this previous post about dying to sanctify God's name.)

This goes even further. Not only people, but in any exploration of the secrets of existence, there is that which we are able to know, and grasp, and that which is beyond us. In each of these relationships, the longer and more involved we become, the deeper this knowledge can go, but there's always some invisible barrier, of that which we can never connect to. There is always the infinite underlying whatever it is we may know.

That is the spark of Godliness in everything.

Even though we can't know it, it doesn't mean we can't relate to it. The minute you know that there is Godliness in someone or even something, you relate to it differently. When you know that something that seemed finite bears within it infinite marvels, you tend to look twice, to come back to it, to revisit it, to be more reverent in your relationship to it.

Here's the pitfall. Even though Godliness exists in everything, we have to be careful how we relate to that Godliness. On the one hand, as we see in halachah, we can't waste or abuse anything, be it natural resources, or friendships. On the other hand, we can't elevate that something beyond its status, and deify it, that's expressly forebidden as worshipping other gods.

We have to balance respect for Godliness in everything and remember that each of these sparks is simply another window on the one Divinity that gives life (and hides) to (and within) all of us. (The window metaphor is actually provided by the Baal HaTanya to help people understand the idea that One God may be expressed in a number of different ways within the world.)

Still, we have to relate to this Godliness, we have to always push on that barrier, to see how far we can go, how much we can grasp, how much of this physicality we can elevate until we get to a point where there is raw Godliness that is beyond our touch or a need to be elevated.

It goes without saying that this pursuit must be through the holy path of Halachah, the journey described by Torah, without this compass it is too easy to lose our way and end up in self-delusion and fantasy.

How do we do this in purity? As Rebbe Nachman taught us, through great joy (שמחה) and simple faith. (אמונה) This extra effort that comes from within us activates all of our deep spiritual senses, instruments, and limbs, to fully embrace and explore the explorable but impermeable membrane of the divine.

Through Rebbe Nachman's method we may reach places so special that they are unknown to anyone but us, they are utterly unique. They are the nine chambers of our extra-intelligence, offered up and created in the attempt to draw close to the divine. They have no real existence except in the moment of our attempt to unify with infinity.

[The first Torah in Likkutei Moharan (I:1) talks about how it is necesary for every Jew to seek out the hidden knowledge in every thing.]

May Rebbe Nachman's Torah merit us each to connect to these infinities in our personal relationships in kedushah, in simchah, and in emunah.


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