Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain, Founder & Spiritual Director
"In the blessing, 'Sound Thou a great shofar for our liberation,' we pray for the ingathering of the [Israelite] souls scattered to the four corners of the earth in their transmigrations . . .and also in, 'Gather Thou our scattered from among the Gentiles'; these apply to the ingathering of the Galut of souls which have been dispersed." -- R. Isaiah Horovitz (16th century Kabbalist)
And in the Zohar we read, "Come and see: the world above and the world below are perfectly
balanced." (Zohar 2:176b) And the Midrash states, "Both heaven and earth are balanced by each other." (Bereshit Raba 1:15)
Now whether we agree with this or not, the remarkable fact remains that this pre-scientific, Kabbalistic notion of "as above, so below" literally has been confirmed by quantum mechanics and sub-atomic particle physics which also state that one cannot think of, or perform, an action that does not have a similar result at some level of the universe. Consequently, this Kabbalistic notion has far-reaching implications for the study of Creation and the making of Tikkun. I'll describe these below.
In other lectures, I have been discussing the radical notion in Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah that the God of Creation begins as a UNITY but, as a consequence of his creative act, devolves into a MULTIPLICITY. In Lurianic Kabbalah this is called, "Sheviret HaKelim", or "Shattering of the Vessels". The consequence of this is that mankind -- by virtue of its capacity for making Tikkunim ("spiritual repairs") through its Kavannah ("mystical intentionality") -- is called upon to "repair" the "Face of God", which is to say to return the now-disunified Godhead to its pre-mundane state of unqualified Unity. We see this reflected in Scripture where it says of the Messianic advent, "In that day, God shall be One and his Name shall be one."
Speaking of this in a personal letter to my mentor, James Kirsch, the Swiss theologian and psychologist, C.G. Jung, wrote:
"The Jew has the advantage of having long since anticipated the development of consciousness in his own spiritual history. By this I mean the Lurianic stage of the Kabbalah, the breaking of the vessels and man's help in restoring them. Here the thought emerges for the first time that man must help God to repair the damages wrought by the creation. For the first time, man's cosmic responsibility is acknowledged and mankind is raised to partnership with God." (Collected Letters, Vol. 2, p. 155)
Now, taking this discussion to the psychospiritual level, we come to the concept of the "bicameral event", or that point in the infant's development when its undifferentiated consciousness splits into what Martin Buber has called the "I" and "Thou". That is, the infant's undifferentiated, limitless consciousness of Itself literally divides in two in order to accommodate the presence of the Existential Other.
In this event we see the personal analogue of the transpersonal Sheviret HaKelim, referred to above. In the latter Kabbalistic event, the "YH" of the Tetragrammaton is said to have split off from the "VH" at the moment of Creation; while in the former, bicameral event, the "Me" of consciousness divides into an "I" and "Thou".
Thus, in a very real sense, each time this split in human consciousness occurs, the disunification in the Face of God is repeated, since the dictum "as below, so above" is the corollary of the Kabbalistic "as above, so below". In other words, at the precise moment each human consciousness divides itself in order to accommodate the presence of the Other, the separation between the "YH" and the "VH" is increased and God's Unity is further diminished.
But having once been "whole", having once been in a state of what the Kabbalah calls "Ayn Sof", the Godhead seeks within itself to return to that undifferentiated condition. Here, mankind's unique capacity for "lifting earth up to heaven" and "pulling heaven down to earth" comes into play with what Kabbalah calls Tikkun HaPanim, or "Spiritual Repair of the Face of God". Each of us, therefore, is called upon to engage in this task of cosmic repair in order to not only perfect ourselves, but to redeem the world -- and even God. I have tried to describe the process by which we accomplish this calling in my previous series of posts "The Theory and Practice of Tikkun".
Also, in my Jung Seminar lectures (in the Donmeh West print archives) I described an inner process I call "giving a voice to God" by which such a Tikkun can be at least initiated. But this is related to an even larger issue -- that of liberating God from his imprisonment in the world of Creation (in Kabbalah, "Malkuth",) by becoming a "Sha'ar Elohim", or "Portal of God". (For those who may see a striking resemblance here to Sabbatai Zevi's election by the Sultan Of Turkey to the symbolic office of Kapici Bashi, "Keeper of the Gate".)
By the Tikkun of Shikrur Elohim I mean this: At the moment of creation, a part of God (in Kabbalah, the "Shekhinah", or His creative feminine aspect) literally became entrapped in the physical world and yearns to return to Himself through those men and women who offer themselves as Sha'arim Elohim by such processes as I'm describing here. There are several metaphors for this in Kabbalah, including "lifting up the Holy Sparks", "raising up the fallen Shekinah", etc. -- but all of them are, as I say, merely metaphors for a specific Avodah, or "Mystical Service", one performs that leads not to "personal enlightenment", but to the liberation of God from His imprisonment in the world of matter. It was this "Avodah" to which the Baal Shem Tov referred when he said:
"The holy sparks that fell when God built and destroyed the worlds, man shall raise and purify upward . . . That is the basic meaning of the Service of each one in Israel . . . .Whoever, with the good strength of his spirit, is able to raise the holy spark. . . leads it into freedom, and no setting free of captives is greater than this. It is as when a king's son is rescued from captivity and brought to his father." (Hasidism and Modern Man, pages 187-188.)
It was also to this that Martin Buber was referring when he wrote:
"He who tortures himself incessantly with the idea that he has not yet sufficiently atoned is essentially concerned with the salvation of his soul, with his personal fate in eternity. By rejecting this aim, Hasidism merely draws a conclusion from the teachings of Judaism generally. One of the main points in which Christianity differs from Judaism is that it [Christianity] makes each man's salvation his highest aim. Judaism regards each man's soul as a serving member of God's creation which, by man's work, is to become the Kingdom of God; thus, no soul has its object in itself, in its own salvation....but [in] the work which it is destined to perform in the world." (ibid, pages 165-166.)
Thus, in Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah, the highest spiritual goal is not to become "enlightened", "self-realized", or even "saved" but to achieve the task of becoming a Sha'ar Elohim, or "Portal of God", through which He-Who-Suffers-in-Exile can be returned to Himself and His divine unity. In the words of the Talmud, "Everything else is commentary."