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Liberation and Enlightenment: The Democratization of Enlightenment: Marc Gafni

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Hebrew Wisdom as a Path to Liberation:

Part One.
Marc Gafni
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In yesterday’s post I mentioned the idea of enlightenment. The common wisdom is that enlightenment is not a Jewish idea. One example of many for this anti – enlightenment prejudice in Jewish circles might be author Rodger Kamenetz in his book who makes the blithe confident and wrong assertion, in his book Stalking Elijah, that enlightenment is not a Jewish term.

Of course this is simply not true. R. Tzadok HaCchen from Lublin regularly uses the term HeArah –which is the literal Hebrew equivalent of enlightenment. Of course the word Zohar – the name of the 13th century locus classicus of Hebrew mysticism which unfolded from the soul of second century master Shimon Bar Yochai- could also be literally be translated as enlightenment.

The great teaching of Hebrew wisdom is The Democratization of Enlightenment, what we call in Hebrew He’arah or Devekut.

In this teaching Self Liberation or enlightenment or Devekut is not the province of the elite few but is a genuine option for every person.

It is towards the re- activation of this Jewish Liberation Wisdom that are initiative is dedicated.

In line with a great lineage of Hebrew wisdom masters, we read the Torah as a guidebook to liberation.

We subscribe to the ancient Hebrew wisdom teaching that all ethical failure, is ultimately rooted in a failure of realization.

The potential for realizing one’s true nature is the birth right of every human being.

Every human being has the potential and possibility to realize their true nature as part of the God field and to act – compassionately and courageously – from the integrity of that realization.

Because realization is the potential and possibility of every human being it is not merely an option but it is the very purpose and invitation of our lives.

In the Jewish liberation tradition the words of the divine to Abraham, Lech Lecha; are literally translated to mean ,“Go to Your Self. Realize the your Divine self is “literally part of God”.

Once the human beings solves the perpetual identity crisis by realizing his identity with Divine, he or she is able to act with courage, compassion, wisdom, responsibility and holy audacity.

It is this courage and audacity of human action,

which activates the indwelling Shekinah energy,

that opens us to the realization of Liberation and Devekut,

necessary to bring about the most evolved vision of Tikkun Olam,

the healing and transformation of the world.

The goal is not merely the liberation of the elite;

When we understand the Torah as a handbook for the Liberation of every human being, we realize that the intention of Biblical ideal, of “Kingdom of Priests”- is no less then what we have called, The Democratization of Enlightenment.

The Hebrew tradition is a four thousand year old transmitted lineage of Liberation. Beginning with Abraham Isaac Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, continuing to Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, David and Solomon, transmitted to the communities of elders, prophets, priests and sages, the inner transmission is one of liberation.

From Akiva to Hillel to Judah the Prince, from Abulafia to Maimonides, Luria and Cordevero, Luzattto and Meir Ibn Gabbai, from the Gaon of Vilna to the Baal Shem Tov, Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and Mordechai Lainer of Izbica, to Menachem Mendel of Schneerson in our time.

The tradition teaches that none of these people were perfect. Perfection and absolute piety is a tyrannical ideal that ultimately separates us from the divine. Toxic shame undermines the liberation process. All of these liberated figures were flawed, some dramatically so, at different times in their lives. In the words of the ancient teaching, “The Tzadik falls seven times and rises, the wicked falls and does not rise”. The ability to rise like a Phoenix from the fire and to transform human failing into human greatness is core to the shadow work of Hebrew Liberation technology. As the schools of Kutzk and Izbica taught, one’s unique flaw in transmuted into one’s unique gift and gorgeousness.

We are all unique flames emerging from the same fire. It is in the realization of one’s authentic unique self that the human being merges with the God field. If one tries to round out the curves of a puzzle piece it cannot fit into the great puzzle of the Kosmos. It is only by highlighting the unique curvature of your self that your merge with the larger divine Self.

What I would like to talk about later tonight in the next blog post is what exactly does enlightenment mean?

And to clear up a rumor I heard going around that two and half years ago at a shabbot with Andrew Cohen, i proclaimed myself enlightened:)


Marc Gafni
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