Ariel Ben Avraham – JERUSALEM IN THE BOOK OF PSALMS (IX)
“Walk in Zion, and go round about her; count her towers. Mark ye her ramparts, traverse her palaces; that ye may tell it to the next generation.”
King David invites us to thoroughly know the city of God for obvious reasons. We have to know our Creator, the One who sustains us and provides us with the goodness necessary to live in this world.
Furthermore, this knowledge is actually more about us than God. As we have said frequently, Jerusalem is the highest level of consciousness by which we relate and bond with Him.
We are talking about elevated traits, attributes and qualities as the strongholds represented by “towers”, “ramparts” and “palaces” we share with God. The more we know them, recognize them, and embrace them as part of who we are, we will begin to also get acquainted with Whom we share them, in the unique place He calls His dwelling.
“For such is God, our God, forever and ever. He will guide us eternally.” (48:15)
Let’s be aware that this process of divine awareness is an eternal one, for God is unfathomably eternal. In this understanding we realize that our knowledge of the Creator is for all times and all generations, which means that our children and grandchildren are also born to share this divine destiny.
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined forth.” (50:2)
We have said that light in contrast to darkness, perfection in contrast imperfection, beauty in contrast to ugliness, are all references and abstractions of goodness. By definition, there is no taint, error, or defect in goodness.
This is the same quality of Zion, for it is the place and throne of the goodness emanated from God. Our Creator “shines” out of Zion, for goodness is the perfection of beauty He wants us to live, experience and enjoy for eternity.
The verse invites us to reflect on our required permanent awareness that goodness is what we must pursue for ourselves individually and collectively as our bond with God.
“Do goodness in Your desire to Zion; build [You] the walls of Jerusalem.” (51:20)
Our Sages refer to this verse as a prayer to ask God for goodness and the protection of Jerusalem as goodness. We can read the verse also as an invitation for us to evoke and bring goodness as the best in us, represented by Zion.
We too have to build the walls to protect goodness as the source and sustenance of our well being, happiness and complete fulfillment.
“Then You shall delight in the offerings of righteousness, the burnt offering and all the entire offerings; then will they offer bulls upon Your altar.” (51:21)
The Psalmist reiterates that the goodness we want to be, have and do, sustains itself in righteousness, for goodness is the ethical ruling principle in God’s creation.
The offerings we elevate in the Temple of Jerusalem represent our willingness and determination to make goodness rule every aspect, dimension and expression of our consciousness.
Ariel Ben Avraham
Kochav Yaakov, Safed, northern Galilee, IsraelAriel 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 20 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 the Creator of all. 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’s Love” is the compilation of many years studying and learning Jewish mysticism. The messages of his book are part of the content, exercises and processes of a series of seminars, lectures and retreats that he facilitates in Israel.