The Joy of joys

The encounter with the Light Divine is clearly joyful, loving, even ecstatic. The "King of Peace" is He Who emanates "the light of the supreme joy from the fullness of his joy" (IV, 98). After God "'divided the light from the darkness'... light continued to emanate from the supernal radiance, and through that radiance to bring gladness to all" (I, 143). When "the Holy Ancient One reveals Himself... all the worlds are irradiated with joy" (III, 270). When "the loving kindness of the Ancient One is manifested... all is satisfaction and joy...." When "the streaming, inexhaustible light" bursts forth "in splendour and beauty," be prepared for "the joy of joys" (III, 272). The light of God evokes a "stirring of all joy, all felicity, all illumination and all freedom" (II, 250). The "place to meet the Most High King" is that place "from whence there issues all light, all blessings, and all joy, to cause all faces to shine..." (II, 282-283). God is the "Wine which gives light and joy to all... the joy of love and mercy, the source of all life and joy" (IV, 16). When someone's spirit reaches the heavenly realm, "there is an effulgence of light all around...," and a "transcendental holy bliss and sublime delight..." (IV, 193).

Not everyone gets to see these things and feel these feelings, however. Consistent with Jewish notions of justice, only the righteous have access to the Divine Light -- darkness is for evil ones. Consequently, God hides the light from evil ones. "The radiance which God produced at the time of Creation illumined the world from one end to the other, but was withdrawn in order that the sinners of the world might not enjoy it, and it is treasured for the righteous..." (I, 120). Indeed, "God created man in the world and gave him the faculty to perfect himself in His service and to direct his ways so as to merit the enjoyment of that celestial light which God has hidden and reserved for the righteous..." (I, 148). The mysteries of the world to come "are imprinted in light such as no eye can look upon, nor can our imagination comprehend the measure of joy and delight which the Holy One, blessed be He, has in store for the righteous..." (IV, 48-49). God even created the Garden of Eden "in order to satisfy His own ardent desire for joyous and continual communion with the souls of the righteous..."(III, 360).

More specifically, and uniquely Jewish, is the view that Israel will lead the way of the righteous. Israelites "saw eye to eye the splendour of the glory of their Lord..."(III, 280). When the Israelites stood at the Red Sea, they "all held the Divine glory eye to eye, and when their singing was ended their souls were so filled with joy and ecstasy that they refused to continue on their journey, desiring yet more perfect revelations of that glorious mystery " (III, 187). Israel is blessed by God because "the Holy One, blessed be He, has chosen them above all the other nations of the world" (IV, 100). God will, "at the proper time cause to shine on Israel that sun which he stored away at the time of the Creation, out of sight of sinners" (II, 273). At that time "the Holy King will restore [Israel] to its place, to unite itself with her in perfect bliss..." (III, 172).

This is not to say, though, that access to the Divine Light and its joys are restricted to the nation of Israel:

while Israel are the foundation of the divine
light from out of which issues forth light for
the whole world, yet when heathen nations come
to accept the glory of the Holy One and to worship
Him, then the foundation of the light is strengthened
and all its rays are unified... (III, 215).

God will first open "a tiny aperture of light, then another somewhat larger, and so on until he will throw open for them the supernal gates" for Israel, and for "the righteous among them" (II, 152).




All content copyright © 2004
Divine Encounters - Judaism - The Joy of joys
site design
site last modified on 05/28/06
"Divine Encounters"
copyright © Brian A. Bain
all other content copyright © 1999-2012