The tree, like the Menorah has seven branches and also represent the 7 kind of souls, as we are created in God’s image. While there are more meanings inherent in this statement, they represent the soul’s composition based on God’s divine attributes..
These seven divine attributes are: Kindness, Severity, Harmony, Perseverance, Humility, Foundation and Royalty.
While each soul possesses all of these qualities, usually one of them is more prominently present, shaping the individual soul’s unique service of God. These seven can lightly be described as :
Kindness: a soul whose service of God can be characterized as calm and loving towards humanity.
Severity: a soul who serves God with a flaming passion, is highly disciplined and has high expectations of himself and of others.
Harmony: a soul that has achieved a perfect synthesis of kindness and severity becomes compassionate.
Humility: a soul who exemplifies self-abnegation in favour of allowing itself to be overwhelmed by God’s goodness.
Foundation: a soul whose unique talent is establishing giving relationships, intellectually or otherwise.
Royalty: a soul who serves its creator in a majestic manner.
The reason why the menorah’s branches were hewn from a single block of pure gold is to point out that they are as one in God. It is in Daath, the high point of the pentagram which reaches in the star of David. Being of royal blood.
To become a genuine self in the truest sense, you go through stages of development or different spheres of life or, in other words, different levels on which people live out their lives, the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious and to become genuinely human as a spiritual individual involves a moving towards the religious sphere of existence. A sphere that includes but also transcends the two other spheres. With the aesthetic life I mean a life lived for the moment, a lifestyle in which people are absorbed in satisfying their desires and impulses, whether physical, emotional or intellectual. These people are mainly concerned with their own happiness and believe that the key to happiness is found in externals, who they know, what they do, the role they play, what they possess, where they live and what they achieved. They live for enjoyment on the surface of life, they are observers, spectators, tasters but not serious participants.
They do not have a real inner life and no real self to offer others. Their wellbeing is determined by the choices or moods of others and by forces that extend beyond their control. When they make decisions, they are not internalized. And thus, when something does go wrong they never accept responsibility or blame. Such people are apathetic, indifferent and not integrated. They are unable to commit themselves to any one thing, something better might always come along and so split their energies in different directions.
Then there is the philosopher (not the true meaning of the word) of today who I would call the speculative thinker, like all intellectual- lizers who confuse thought with existence, who assumes that truth can be formulated into a system of ideas and so in doing this, the philosopher becomes a mere observer of life. Forgetting that he exists, that he must choose and act and take responsibility for what it is he knows. A speculative thinker makes any religion into theology, instead of recognizing that a living relationship to God involves passion, struggle, decision, personal appropriation and inner transformation.
To move to the true life, to become authentic, is to move beyond the aesthetic sphere and into the ethical. The ethical life recognizes the significance of choice. Here one accepts his duty as a moral actor. This person lays aside his many desires or impulses, his careless so called freedom and heeds his conscience, takes responsibility and fulfils his moral obligations. Aesthetic freedom is really enslavement to the passions and other emotional impulses and as such will lead a person to the brink of despair. By contrast, ethical freedom is the enjoyment and fulfilment of doing one’s duty. He who lives at this level tries to realize in his life what is of eternal, universal value, and realizes that within the soul there is something that cannot be satisfied by a sensory life. Hence the realization of enduring values – justice, freedom, peace, love and respect beyond their own immediate interests. True freedom lies in the ability to fulfil one’s duty to move from what is to what ought to be. The ethical involves both choice and resolution. It also involves struggle because the realisation of ethical values takes effort and time.
The key to the ethical sphere is freedom. A bad choice therefore is better than no choice at all. The aesthetic person drifts along with the currents around him. The person who lives ethically however, determines these very currents. It is not enough to just do one’s duty. One must passionately choose the path. Life is an either/or, not just between good and evil but between choosing and not choosing. The person who lives in the ethical sphere lives intentionally, intensively. Such person possesses character and conviction and is thus willing to sacrifice himself for something greater than oneself.
While such a life as admirable and necessary as it is, life must ultimately be lived on yet another level: the religious sphere. This sphere has nothing to do with institutional religion, rather, an individual lives religiously when he or she realizes that the ethical life is insufficient for solving life’s riddles and choices. The ethical life fails to adequately deal with exceptional situations. Doing one’s duty isn’t always simple, especially when different duties conflict or when one’s various obligations cannot all be fulfilled. Consequently, there is something higher than universal duty, the absolute.
A fully actualized person has to see himself “before God” to see himself as he really is. When this occurs, the wide chasm between oneself and God become apparent, both because of one’s failure to fulfil completely his moral duty. The ethical individual, if he is completely honest with himself, is one who lives in constant fear an dread precisely because of his inability to fulfil the moral law.
To see the difference between ethical and religious spheres we should look at the father of all those who believe. Abraham, a righteous man, is the paragon of faith because instead of heeding the moral law, thou shall not kill, he heeded God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham acted as a true individual because his relationship to God, not to the moral law, was primary in his life. He did not merely perceive God through morality or reduce God to the moral law. As a man of faith, Abraham subjected everything, including his ethical actions, to God. He was willing to sacrifice Isaac for the sake of his own relationship to God. He acted because God commanded him to act. He stood before God, answering to no one but God.
When an individual stands before God he no longer sees himself as self-sufficient. He recognizes his own inability to transform himself. The religious person strives to allow himself to be transformed by God. Such transformation includes 3 things, one, infinite resignation – dying to the world, the willingness to sacrifice any finite good for the sake of God. Two, suffering- undergoing a transformation of the self, though not by the self, it is the process of undergoing self-annihilation, so that God, not self, can do his transforming work. Three, guilt- the feeling of one’s inability to give oneself completely, unreservedly to God. Seeing as being ultimately incapable of fulfilment, not because of external barriers but because of his own inner condition. He recognizes his sinful state. The person of faith relates himself to God not in self-confident action, but in repentance. He knows that he not only fails to fulfil his chosen ideals, but that he fails to have ideals of sufficient worth. To put it differently, he knows that his chosen ideals are themselves insufficient and incomplete. An ethic which ignores sin is an absolutely idle science. Allowing oneself to be transformed by God is, in short, more important than fulfilling one’s duty.
Herein lies the significance of Christianity and the gospel. Genuine Christian existence is different from religious existence in general. The religious person believes that the key to finding God is to recognize and realise his own guilt and need. The true Christian, and other religious believers however, recognizes that he, by himself, cannot do even this. He realises that even his understanding of God, let alone of himself, is incomplete and thus defective. He acknowledges that there is an abyss between man and God. An infinite qualitative difference between him and God. True awareness of sin comes not from within but only through God’s revelation to the individual. Sin’s corruption is total and one’s ability to choose is in itself a gift. The distinguishing mark of a true Christian existence is, the central paradox of the gospel- the fact that God, the Eternal, becomes a human being. This, unlike the truths of the ethical life or religious insight, cannot be known by means of intuition only. It comes in revelation and is received by faith: the highest passion of inwardness.
Looking at objective thinking and subjective truth. For me, faith is not a belief but a certain way of being in the truth that extends beyond reason’s ability to grasp. By “subjectivity” does not mean subjectivism: a belief is true because one believes it to be true.
Be concerned with the degree to which a person “lives within” the truth he confesses. Subjectivity means turning away from the objective realm of facts – that can be learned by detached observation and abstract thinking and immersing oneself in the subjective, inward activity of discovering truth for oneself. At its highest pitch, subjectivity culminates in faith – an infinite passion that is both rationally uncertain and paradoxical. Faith requires risk, which objective certainty abhors. But this is the distinctive mark of Christian faith. Faith means to wager everything and to suffer for the truth, despite the offences of the Incarnation and the Cross.
Faith therefore, requires a leap. It is not a matter of galvanizing the will to believe something there is no evidence for, but a leap of commitment. _ “The leap is the category of decision” – the decision to commit one’s being totally to a God whose existence is rationally uncertain and whose redemption is utterly an offence. This is why, all proofs for the existence of God and the deity of Christ fail. To try and prove God’s existence by means of a purely neutral, objective standpoint is completely backwards. It is to go back to the aesthetic sphere. To the contrary, God is known by way of passionate, undivided commitment. Besides, Christianity is not a doctrine to be taught but rather a life to be lived. “Proofs” are thus not only unconvincing but irrelevant when not given by God himself. God is spirit and therefore can only be known in a spiritual (i.e., subjective, inward) way.
Royal blood of the linage of David is unlike what most people think a physical blood type but gained through a leap of faith. Uniting your will to His will.
“A human being who realises the potential of their mind by means of introspection and contemplation does not lack self-confidence, the one who has control over their mind is able to realise their full potential.” Sama Veda.
Moshiya van den Broek