Illustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar . by Ariel Ben Avraham . We indicated in the beginning of these commentaries on the Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy that the messages of our Prophets are divided in three parts. These are our separation from God and its consequences, the process of our return to Him — usually called repentance –, and the Final Redemption as our permanent connection to Him.
These are also prophesied the last book of the Torah, and the Creator sent His Prophets to remind us about them. Hence we see the same messages delivered repeatedly through their writings. They are stated in different ways, ranging from a direct and severe language to allegoric and sometimes poetic expressions.
These repetitions are aimed to awaken all levels of consciousness regarding our relationship with God, for these are destined to be united and harmonized towards His Plan called the Messianic Era. Hence the Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures speak to us in many levels and dimensions in order to guide our intellect, discernment, thoughts, mind, feelings, emotions, passions and instincts. Thus we understand why God’s messages to us are stated and delivered in many ways and forms. We must grasp God’s words to become fully aware that our choices — not Him — have taken us where we are here and now.
We have to open our entire consciousness to become aware of who we truly are before the Creator. Thus we realize our way back to Him, His ways and attributes. The fifth chapter of Isaiah’s messages focuses again in our bond with God, followed by our separation from Him after choosing ego’s fantasies and illusions instead of Love’s ways and attributes.
“Let me sing for my well-beloved a song, of my beloved about his vineyard. My beloved has a vineyard in a fruitful hill, my well-beloved had a vineyard in a very fertile hill.” (Isaiah 5:1)
It begins praising our beloved Creator for His bond with us, His vineyard. He exalts us in a fruitful hill, which means the awareness of our permanent connection with Him. This fertile hill is Zion, Jerusalem and the Temple. The point here is to realize what we are, have and do in this special place God has exalted. Our connection with Him is something we can’t grasp with our discernment or understanding, for being with Him is beyond conception. Hence we only have the references the Creator showed us in His Torah as His attributes. These are the guidelines as the fertile land to fructify in the material world. The fertile hill as the goodness we harvest out of Love’s ways and attributes. Hence it is our choice to make the vineyard of our consciousness fructify in the goodness of God’s guidance.
“And he dug it, and cleared it of stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a vat therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth bad grapes.” (5:2)
God gave us His Commandments to remove the negative traits and tendencies in consciousness for us to allow only goodness in all facets of life. As we chose we harvest, as we sow we reap. Goodness voices its fair complaint.
“And now, oh inhabitant of Jerusalem and man of Judah, please judge between me and my vineyard.” (5:3)
The Prophet addresses us individually as one who dwells in Jerusalem, in the awareness of our permanent connection with God. Also as the individual Jew who has an eternal Covenant with Him. Our consciousness is summoned to discern, to judge from cause and effect. We already know that Love is its own cause and effect, and that Love does not coexist with anything different from its ways and attributes. Then if Love is not the effect, what is the cause? God calls us to reflect and use our judgement as discernment. He speaks to our common sense at the basic level of cause and effect. Then we have to respond for that we think, believe, feel, speak and do.
We have said often that our Chassidic sages call “vessels” all levels and dimensions of consciousness. They wisely describe discernment, mind, emotions, feelings and passions as empty vessels waiting to be filled with what we choose to pour into them. We also know that thought precedes action, though some of us act without thinking first. The idea is to be aware of the traits and qualities about beliefs or ideologies we entertain in our mind, the kind of trends we impose in our emotions, the sensations we imprint in our feelings, and the expressions we give to our passions. All becomes a matter of choice.
“What could I have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Why, when I looked for it to yield grapes, did it yield bad ones?” (5:4)
The Creator makes us accountable for our choices because we indeed are a matter of cause and effect. The lesson is about choosing Love as the cause, for we know that Love is the effect. Love removes what is different, opposite or against its ways and attributes. In order to make Love rule and prevail in all levels of consciousness, first we must return to God’s Love. We must yearn for His Love hard enough to make us return to Him, His ways and attributes. He tells us through the Prophet that He fulfills His promise of Final Redemption, as long as we begin allowing our Love to remove what is not necessary in our consciousness. Making Love’s ways and attributes prevail over ego’s fantasies and illusions.
“Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its hedge, and it will be eaten up. I will break down its wall of it, and it will be trampled down. And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor dug; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they don’t rain upon it.” (5:5-6)
The Final Redemption in Judaism is about the complete removal of the negative trends in human consciousness, and also in the material world. We must understand it as an individual and collective process we have to initiate. As we say “let there be peace and let it begin with me”, we also let Love and the goodness of its ways and attributes begin to manifest in all levels of consciousness. Historically we have not allowed this total Redemption for a reason of choice. The Creator gave us free will to choose what is right and good, not the opposite. The Torah invites us to understand evil as a reference and not a choice, hence we are commanded to choose goodness as the blessing, as life.
“For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah the plant of His delight. And He looked for justice, but behold violence; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (5:7)
As we said above, the fertile and fruitful hill is our connection with God, and we as Israel are planted by Him. We are the other end of this bond in the material world, His delight on Earth, for we are commanded by Him and destined to make prevail His righteousness and justice. These two summarize His Torah as the entire instruction to eliminate violence and suffering from the world. God has honored Israel to make righteousness and justice prevail out of the goodness of His Love. Once more we must understand our moral and ethical imperatives not only as the outcome of fairness to do what is right, but the outcome of Love. God loves and delights in justice and righteousness, for these come from His Love, hence we honor Him by making our Love the motivation and the cause of justice and righteousness.
In this context we the Chosen People are accountable to Love as the material manifestation of God’s Love. The rest of this chapter reiterates that we are accountable for our permanent connection with the Creator. Through the Prophet, He points out the negative trends in our consciousness that dispossess and oppress the weak among our people. Selfishness, greed, indifference, cruelty and indolence devastate the goodness of Love, leaving behind misery and suffering. The vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions that call good evil and evil good. God reaffirms time and again that evil and wickedness are wiped as He fulfills His promise to redeem us from them.
God’s anger is recalled. Again we understand it as the anger we experience as the result of frustration in the emptiness left by ego’s fantasies and illusions. Anger is what we feel out of our separation from God’s Love. There is no wrath in God but what He tells us about our wrath, to make us return to His ways and attributes. Our anger and frustration become the trigger to our way back to God. The pain and misery we suffer with the outcome of our negative choices hit our feelings and emotions, filling them with anger, rage, frustration, depression, indolence and indifference. These are the enemies that threaten our consciousness and repel our Essence and true identity.
The message in this chapter can be summarize saying that when we don’t care for our vineyard — the goodness God has planted in us –, and embrace the negative trends in consciousness, these turn into the enemies that seek our destruction. This happened to us in the times of our Prophets, and we assimilate it now in our current times as well. Our enemies increase against us as we allow negative trends to take over our consciousness.
“And they shall roar against them in that day like the roaring of the sea; and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and distress, and the light is darkened in the skies thereof.” (5:30)
- Haifa, Southern Galilee, Israel
- Ariel Ben Avraham (f. Zapata) was born in Cartagena, Colombia in 1958. After studying Cultural Anthropology in Bogotá moved to Chicago in 1984 where he worked as a television writer, reporter and producer for 18 years. In the 1990′s he produced video documentaries related to art, music, history and culture such as “Latin American Trails: Guatemala” distributed by Facets.org. Most of his life he studied ancient spiritual traditions and mysticism of major religions, understanding the mystic experience as the individual means to connect with Divinity. Since 2004 he studies and writes about Jewish mysticism and spirituality mainly derived from the Chassidic tradition, and the practical philosophy of the teachings of Jewish mystic Sages. The book “God as Love” is the compilation of his last years studying and learning Jewish mysticism, and the messages of the book are part of the content, exercises and processes of a series of seminars