|Posted on April 9, 2018 at 9:35 PM|
In the beginning, two thousand years before the heaven and the earth, before 4000 BC, Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz "In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth;" with 7 powerful words and 28 powerful letters of a perfect synchronized text found in Genesis "Bereshit": 1:1. This is the first verse of the first chapter in the Book of Bereshit in the Hebrew Bible "Torah" and forms the opening of the creation narrative.
In the creation narrative, the Torah seeks to present the basic unit of belief, from which all belief stems: God "YHWH" created the world and YHWH is "the beginning of wisdom" (Hebrew "Reshit Chochmah"). This is the first principle that should be instilled in the readers’ mind that: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Without this understanding, the reader of this text will make no progress in true wisdom. Therefore, no knowledge or wisdom can connect us to YHWH until we devote ourselves, in holy obedience, to YHWH; or the knowledge of YHWH through practice.
According to Maimonides "Rambam": "the study of the laws of nature which are the laws of G-d will draw us nearer to Him. As he puts it: "Knowledge of the Divine can only be attained after knowledge of nature..." The observation of, and search into, the beginning of the universe through the laws of physics, and the beginning of life through the laws of chemistry and biology, will bring us closer to the source of wisdom to G-d." (YHWH)
Within 7 powerful words, YHWH contracted massive energies into creative vessels and configured them into the letters of the Aleph Bet (Hebrew alphabet). Through the configuration and arrangement of the 22 consonants of the Hebrew alphabet YHWH united divine energies above with divine energies below enveloped within the power of "black fire on white fire." YHWH combined both those divine energies above and below which gradually manifested into His brilliant master creation blueprint called "Torah;" a conduit for communication between YHWH and the dust of the ground "adamah."
Now, before you, the reader, turn the first page of YHWH’s Torah in Bereshit, know that the power of YHWH reveals the seen and unseen firmament, dimensions, boundaries, space, time and transcriptions of His world; that He, the Holy One Blessed Be He, created: all from nothingness "ex nihilo." Those of you who read the text of this blog; should come to know through this text, that, the cosmic energy "black fire (seen) on white fire (unseen)" revealed in the form of "text" (positive and negative space) as we know it was written in the opening pages of Torah. So what does all of this mean in the Twenty-First Century?
It means, that the power; meaning; and formation of the Commandment Keepers Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation – Beth Ha-Tefilah Headquarters, "Commandment Keepers" through the vision of Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew zt"l, "Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l" in 1919, Commandment Keepers' foundation and identity was within the creation of the universe and the correspondence with adamah. Chief Rabbi Matthew’s zt"l vision began with all its physical, chemical, and biological systems in place. While the cosmic energy was unformed and void, time was not yet fundamentally structured in the universe as we know it, space simply was a vacuum, but not empty; the heavens above and the earth below were separated, and then YHWH formed ADAM "man" ‘adamah’ and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life "vayipach be'apav nishmat chayim;" and man became a living soul;" an original soul; encased in the body separate yet an indivisible partner in human life; the Commandment Keeper.
What connects YHWH and man, heaven and earth, spirit and matter; the Children of Israel and the Commandment Keepers? In 1919, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l in his vision and formation of Commandment Keepers realized that there is a bridge and a ladder to YHWH. Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l in forming Commandment Keepers opened up the portal leading to the Fifty Gates of Wisdom; the gate for each soul of the Commandment Keeper to climb the ladder and cross the bridge to return to YHWH. Just as the encounter between YHWH and the Israelites at Mount Sinai was a totally unique event in all of human history; so too in 1919 the formation of Commandment Keepers symbolized a revelation of the Children of Israel in the United States of America.
So, spiritually, the 50 Gates are really 49 days or 7 weeks (counting of the omer) of self-elevation and self-evaluation followed by one day of prophetic revelation, that the Israelites strived for from the time of the Exodus from Egypt until the time they received the Torah at Mount Sinai, where YHWH sealed His Covenant with the Commandment Keepers. It is during this time that all of Israel experienced prophecy at this time and heard the voice of YHWH declare the Commandments.
In 1919, eighty-three African-Americans are lynched- many of them soldiers returning home from World War I. At the same time the Ku Klux Klan is operating out of 27 states. From May 1919 to October 1919, a number of race riots erupted in cities throughout the United States. James Weldon Johnson names these race riots as the Red Summer of 1919. The summer of 1919 began the greatest period of interracial strife in U.S. history at that time, including a disturbing wave of race riots. The most serious was the Chicago Race Riot of 1919; it lasted 13 days and left 38 people dead, 537 injured and 1,000 African American families without homes. In response, Claude McKay publishes the poem, "If We Must Die." What's that saying? If life gives you lemons, make lemonade? That's kind of what happened here. The Red Summer occurred and then McKay wrote this poem, the first major sound of militancy in the Harlem Renaissance. As a result of housing tensions, many African Americans ended up creating their own cities within big cities, fostering the growth of a new urban, African-American culture. The most prominent example was Harlem in New York City, a formerly all-white neighborhood that by the 1920s housed some 200,000 African Americans. In all of this movement, events, and militancy, YHWH revealed Himself to Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l in Harlem New York City. Legends of America
Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l in 1919, was given the ladder; bridge; the 50 Gates and portal connection called Torah. The ladder, bridge and 50 Gates of Wisdom is meant to lead the African American back to their true heritage. Therefore, Commandment Keepers’ connection to YHWH; connected Commandment Keepers to the original adamah, which is connected to heaven; and matter. Matter being the source of all physical manifestation that is eventually permeated by spirit and energy is the vision Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l used when he formed the Commandment Keepers back in 1919. Through a combination of both spirit and energy YHWH provided the bridge and the ladder and the 50 Gates of Wisdom as an instrument and tool for the Nation of Israel – Commandment Keepers to return and re-connect to YHWH.
So, in 1919 through YHWH, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l was inspired with Reshit Chochmah-the fear of YHWH; the beginning of wisdom for the formation of one of the oldest Israelite congregations in North America and the Western Hemisphere. Reshit Chochmah; being the beginning of wisdom; preceded the beginning of creation. Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l in his legacy to Commandment Keepers; reminded Commandment Keepers of Reshit Chochmah by teaching Commandment Keepers the words now uttered in our liturgy "Adon Olam" congregationally sung at the close of Sabbath and festival morning services: Eternal master, who reigned supreme, "Adon 'olam, 'asher malakh…" "Adon Olam" ruled the world before creation and He is responsible for creation as the first verse of Bereshit teaches us.
The Commandment Keepers in its embryotic; and rudimentary stage in 1919; developed its philosophy out of the message of Bereshit, the creation narrative: "The Beginning of the Universe , the Beginning of Life; the Beginning of Wisdom" "In the beginning…was YHWH…" personified in the mission of the Commandment Keepers.
Though corporeal, the Commandment Keepers began its mission through the precision of the "microcosm" and "macrocosm" as it unfolded in the form of the universe. Our existence as the Commandment Keepers; further began in the beginning of life through: physics, chemistry and biology. The Commandment Keepers in its human form corresponds to Torah and reflects the highest level of spirituality. Thus, the Commandment Keepers connected to Moses, the Man of YHWH, who through His blessing with Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two Tablets of the Testimony in his hand… ("Exodus "Shemot" 34:29) And all the people answered together; and said: 'All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.' And Moses reported the words of the people unto the LORD." (Shemot 19:8 )
Now, as Commandment Keepers, we know YHWH is NOT the main concept of the verse: "Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'aretz." For as Commandment Keepers, we believe in YHWH, and understand without explanation, that YHWH created the heavens and the earth and everything else within and without it. Everything YHWH manifested in this world came to be formed from atoms (man’s theoretical thinking) organized into subatomic particles-protons, electrons, and neutrons from inanimate to animate; from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Then as Commandment Keepers, we read further that: "And God created man in His image." (Bereshit 1:27) Man in His image embodies a basic tenet that "as above, so below, as below, so above."
So, the message of the creation narrative, then, is that independently from the question of what the beginning of the universe is; is the basis of belief that YHWH is Reshit Chochmah the "Beginning of Wisdom." He created them both. Therefore, in the prayer book we come to know the verse which is directed toward man seeking the beginning of wisdom: "Reshit Chochmah Yirat Hashem," namely "the beginning of wisdom is the fear of YHWH" (Psalms 111:10).
In the year 1919, this visionary by the name of Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l" understood the depth of YHWH’s creation as manifested in every single thing in this world and therefore he understood that there was no need to mention that because YHWH is YHWH! Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l understood those 7 powerful words. But what is not clear and is a valuable piece of information for us is the ORDER of YHWH's creation and that is the reason why the Torah opens with the Hebrew word ‘Bereshit’ – ‘In the beginning…’
In its general framework, the creation narrative, unfolds itself to each reader through each reader’s reality and perceptions based on physical concepts; and senses. The reader through words and vocabulary is able to express spiritual concepts as the pages of the first book, Bereshit are turned. Each successive page reveals more and more of His Creation Plan to the reader; and the reader in turn is able to express an interpretation based on how the words manifest to their individual senses. If the reader continues to turn the pages of each book: Genesis "Bereshit," Exodus "Shemot," Leviticus "Vayikra," Numbers "Bamidbar," and Deuteronomy "Devarim" –the reader will come to personally know this God revealed in Torah; and revealed to Commandment Keepers: is One, not two or more than two, or a triad, or a trinity but is One!
The Torah contains the sacred names of the Creator, which represents the degrees of His attainment. The reader will come to know YHWH as: Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent, YHWH the Creator; YHWH the Lawgiver; YHWH the Judge; YHWH the Merciful, in other words, based on the reader’s conceptual lexicon, the reader sets into words the Conception of God as they sense him; a key to "return" to YHWH for the African American in post-slavery.
In reality, the Torah as we understand it, can be perceived in terms of time, space and movement. We cannot envision something without volume, therefore, YHWH has no volume; no physical matter; we are unable to imagine Him, He has no form, no shape, yet, no proof is needed that He exists. In a nutshell, we know "God is God" and there is none else besides YHWH! Everything in the universe was created by YHWH, and only by YHWH. All comes from YHWH. As Isaiah said, "I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. I am the LORD, that does all these things" (Isaiah 45:6-7).
Generally, the reader looks for the Torah’s message contained in the written words, the black fire "text." But, what if we look at the white fire, the negative spaces where there is no text, where words appear to be missing? What might we learn from what is not there? What if letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters were removed to conceal, into negative space, the true identity of the Children of Israel - the Nation of Israel – the Commandment Keepers?
As Commandment Keepers; the Children of Israel we are taught about the three Pilgrimage Festivals, in Hebrew Shalosh Regalim. Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Weeks or Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles, Tents or Booths)—three times a year the Israelites would make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, as commanded by the Torah. "Three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel." (Shemot 34:23); "Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which He shall choose; on the feast of unleavened bread, and on the feast of weeks, and on the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the LORD empty..." (Devarim 16:16).
Shavuot 2018 will begin in the evening of Saturday, May 19 and ends in the evening of Monday, May 21 - our journey to return to YHWH is a step-by-step; and process-by-process experience. As the Children of Israel - the Nation of Israel – the Commandment Keepers; we strengthen our bond with YHWH through the number three; as embodied in the three Pilgrimage Festivals. In this case, three indicates a strong unit or bond, as it says in Ecclesiastes (4:12), "A chain of three cannot be undone." So, in our return to YHWH, three times a year when every Israelite harkens to the command to make a pilgrimage and appear before YHWH; we as the Commandment Keepers will re-connect with YHWH. We through our observance, will confirm that the bonds between YHWH remain strong and will not be undone. We as Commandment Keepers will be filling in the missing letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters that have been removed to conceal, into negative space, the true identity of the Children of Israel - the Nation of Israel – the Commandment Keepers.
So, on this day, the festival of Shavuot, we will reenact the entering into a covenant between YHWH, Israel - the Commandment Keepers: "And they took their places at the foot of the mountain (Shemot 19:17); and by saying na’aseh v’nishma "We will do and we will listen," (Shemot 24:7).
Back in 1919, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l" heard the call: Na’aseh v’nishma "We will do and we will listen." He heard the call; he envisioned the foretelling of the prophecy; and envisioned that every man, woman, and child in North America, would herald to the call to readily and voluntarily accept the Torah; na’aseh v’nishma. Accordingly, through his vision, Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l connected the Commandment Keepers to their Heritage, and their ancestors, who stood 3,322 years ago at the foot of a mountain known as Sinai.
YHWH provided the ladder; the bridge; and the 50 Gates of Wisdom to unleash the tradition to Commandment Keepers. Chief Rabbi Matthew z"tl at that time, in 1919, not only connected the souls of every Commandment Keeper from the newly released slaves from Egypt but he connected every soul who were accompanied by the souls of all Israelites that would be born in the future; and into the Twenty-First Century. Chief Rabbi Matthew zt"l when he found the Commandment Keepers in 1919, began the return of all those souls who stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Those souls who spoke those words na’aseh v’nishma set into motion the ladder; bridge and 50 Gates of Wisdom; we need only obey YHWH faithfully and keep His covenant.
So, the process was started in 1919; the gate was opened; now all we need to do is continue the work so that we will become His: "treasure;" "a kingdom of priests;" and "a holy nation" as it says; "Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Shemot 19:5-6).
3,322 years ago, at the foot of a mountain known as Sinai, the Children of Israel – Commandment Keepers had no hesitation and no dissent, no debate and no discussion on what was to be the most important decision in all of Commandment Keepers’ lives. The question for you the reader to answer, is if you "Commandment Keepers" was there at Sinai? Did you Commandment Keepers reply: "All the Lord has spoken we will do!" (Shemot 19:8) Do you, Commandment Keepers, hear the call, in the Twenty-first Century na’aseh v’nishma?
Commandment Keepers, do you recall, YHWH first brought you out of Egypt, divided the sea for you, sent you manna, then quails for meat, and brought about the defeat of Amalek, so that when YHWH came to Commandment Keepers - Israel, He could recount those events and then ask if they would accept Him to which you replied, "Yes!"
Therefore, in the blessed memory of Chief Rabbi Wentworth Arthur Matthew, z"tl, we don’t second guess our history. In 1919, just as in the Twenty-First Century, we know that on Shavuot each of us must answer in our personal lives; the same question that was presented at Mt. Sinai. In the Twenty-First Century, we want to obey YHWH and follow YHWH’s commandments. In the Twenty-First Century, we want to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. In the Twenty-First Century just as our ancestors, who we live, breath and have our being, in the breath of YHWH stood 3,322 years ago at the foot of a mountain known as Sinai; accepted "Malkuta de-Adonai": The Lord shall be King", "The Kingdom of God shall be revealed"; and the ancient liturgy culminates in the prayer that "God may establish His Kingdom speedily" (see 'Alenu; Kaddish).
We, Commandment Keepers, in the Twenty-First Century must continue to "take upon himself the yoke of the Kingdom of God" ("Ol Malkut Shamayim"). We the Israelites; the Commandment Keepers must take upon ourselves the yoke of the Kingdom of YHWH daily as we recite the Shema.
We the Commandment Keepers, must recall our history when we first sang the praise of YHWH's Kingdom; and recall at Mount Sinai that we stood; and we accepted the yoke of God's Kingdom just as our ancestors did; we continue to do so today. We the Commandment Keepers must then look within the Torah and within the tradition of our ancestors to find the way to make our lives meaningful and help ourselves to be a better people. In these words: "If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them…" (Vyikra 26:3); and "And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…" (Devarim 11:13) "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day; and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known." (Devarim 11: 26 – 2 )
Commandment Keepers – Children of Israel; choose you, this day a blessing or a curse! In 1919, YHWH ordained the formation of the Commandment Keepers - Know for a surety, nothing happens by accident. There are no ‘Accidents’ in this World – YHWH ordains all that happens above and below. Commandment Keepers - recall your birth at the foot of Sinai; choose life; choose the Covenant; and choose the Commandments na’aseh v’nishma "We will do and we will listen."
Chag Shavuot Sameach!