Illustration by Yoseph Savan based on The Zohar . by Ariel Ben Avraham . In his three following chapters (7-10) the Prophet refers to the situation of Israel in his times, divided in two kingdoms fighting each other. Idolatry leads to animosity and war with their devastating results. The kings of Judah in the south, and the kings of Israel in the north found their destruction, fall and captivity.
We see the nefarious effects of ego’s fantasies and illusions as the idols that separate, divide, corrupt and subjugate all aspects and dimensions of life. Yet our Creator pursues peace and brotherhood for all Israel, to be united by and for the Torah, as the all encompassing and harmonizing means to fulfill God’s will. Through the Prophet, God speaks to the wicked kings in order to make righteousness and justice the guidelines and common bond with Him.
“And the Lord spoke again unto [the king] Ahaz, saying: ‘Ask yourself a sign of the Lord your God: ask it in the depth, or in the high above’. But Ahaz said: ‘I will not ask, neither will I try the Lord’. And he [Isaiah] said: ‘Hear you now, O house of David: Is it not enough for you that you scorn human [Prophets], that you scorn also my God’?” (Isaiah 7:10-13)
God delivers His message for Ahaz through the Prophet, to whom the king replies with contempt. Isaiah responds to his insolence. Though these verses refer to a specific situation regarding a wicked Jewish king, we can understand them in the context of the Messianic Consciousness. The Jewish messiah comes from the Davidic lineage, therefore all references to it are linked to the coming Messianic times. God wants Israel, as the encompassing consciousness that heralds the Final Redemption, to be permanently connected to Him. Even in the case of Ahaz, an idolatrous king of Judah, God wants to mend this connection with the ruling aspect of Israel.
God knows His entire Creation. He gave us free will, and knows what we are capable of. He lets us experience the choices we make and their consequences. He gave us discernment to learn from experience. In negative circumstances He expects us to learn, to find the way out and return to goodness. God also expects the same from Ahaz, who refuses to return to the Creator. The Prophet in this case represents the voice of Redemption, which calls on our discernment and common sense. At some point we hear its voice, but we rather ignore it or reject it. The same contempt we show to our Creator. In His infinite compassion He reminds us the traits and qualities of the connection He has with us, and expects from us.
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (7:14)
Our Sages refer to this particular woman, the young woman, as the mother of the future king Hezekiah, the righteous son of Ahaz. The sign includes the name as the identity of a righteous Jewish king who is with God (Immanuel). Israel and its king are distinguished by their connection with God, therefore every Jew’s name is Immanuel, which means God is with me. Israel is destined by the Torah to be a righteous Nation with a righteous king. Hence Isaiah will later refer to Israel and its king as one single entity, he calls “the lamb”.
“Cream and honey shall he eat, when he knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Yea, before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land of the two kings whom you fear shall be abandoned.” (7:15-16)
Again, as we said before, these verses refer no only to the righteous traits of the future king Hezekiah but also the royal Davidic lineage. Cream and honey are the qualities of the land of Israel, the Promise Land flowing with milk and honey. These are allegories of the nurturing goodness of life, along with the happiness and contentment of it. The good qualities of the land as the goodness of life are also part of the people of Israel, and highlighted by their king. As we realize that the goodness of Love’s ways and attributes is our Essence and true identity, we consequently refuse and reject evil in all its ways. Referring to the divided land of Israel in those times, it would later be abandoned after falling under their neighboring enemies.
“For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder. The Wondrous Adviser, Mighty God, Eternal Father, called [Hezekiah's name] Prince of Peace. Upon the one with the greatness in dominion and the boundless peace that will prevail in the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish and sustain it through justice and righteousness from now to eternity. The zeal of the Lord of hosts accomplishes this.” (9:5-6)
Two chapters later, the Prophet continues describing the qualities of the Davidic lineage in his times, and also in Messianic times. During most of Hezekiah’s rule, abundance and prosperity returned to his kingdom, as a sign of the same way also expected in the Final Redemption. The main trait of the Messianic Consciousness is peace, which is intended to be its own cause and effect. As we do with Love, we approach peace as something intended to prevail.
We are peaceful in order to make peacefulness reign. God in His Torah commands Israel to be a peaceful people: “and you — you are to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Israel is the prince of peace as also Israel’s kings are princes of peace, as the result of justice and righteousness. There is no peace without these, and the Creator wants us to pursue them and love them He does: “He loves righteousness and justice, the Earth is full of the loving kindness of the Lord.” (Psalms 33:5)
We must assimilate this in our consciousness. Our peace depends on how just and righteous we are as our Jewish identity requires from us, individually and collectively. These two qualities are the ways we implement Love’s ways and attributes. It is not enough to proclaim Love as the tangible material manifestation of God’s Love. We realize this by being and doing justice and righteousness as the ethical and moral expressions of Love’s ways and attributes. The Final Redemption and the Messianic Era begin with this, and will remain from now until eternity as we establish and sustain peace through justice and righteousness. As the Prophet says, the zeal of God — which is His Love — accomplishes this, as long as we embrace His zeal as our zeal.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him [their oppressor] that smote them; but will rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” (10:20)
We can identify ego in its negative ways as our oppressor. The source of all our idols. In our consciousness these idols are ego’s fantasies and illusions. Once we survive the oppressor of the goodness we are as the house of Jacob, we become the remnant of Israel who embraces the truth of God’s Love in what we truly are, and are destined to do in the Messianic Era. This is the eternal time and space in our consciousness and in life, when we rely solely on God’s ways and attributes, which are the truth. Thus we live in His truth, and realize that God is the Holy One of Israel.
- 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