Miryam’s Circle Dance
Creation began when the Infinite Light withdrew from Its center forming a hollow womb that could hold worlds. The progression of history is the undoing of that concealment, the re-illuminating of that dark void by revealing G‑d’s presence there. Each moment draws another trickle of Infinite Light back into the “empty” space that holds our world. This happens via the agency of mitzvot (and right-action) as well as through sufferings, for both are consciousness-raising experiences. Lessons are learned and wisdom absorbed from the school of hard knocks as surely as from the study of holy texts. And, since “HaShem’s seal is truth, ” both, in the end, reveal G‑d.
An elaborate machinery exists to package this influx of light into a form that matches the capacities of its recipients. In the hierarchy of worlds, each creature participates in this relay of illumination according to its position along the continuum. Each receives a drop of light (or teaching) from the level above, digests it, reformulates it, and passes it on in a modified form that befits the level below it.
In this way, through the course of time, the Infinite Light increases its presence in the lower worlds. The evolution of culture, knowledge and consciousness are the visible fruits of this gradual enlightening.
In the world of straightness, each level draws from the one above it. Everyone has a rank in the hierarchy, which extends from above to below with a whole range of points in between. The top is closest to the Infinite Light, the bottom is farthest away. Translated into human terms, a higher soul is one that is awake, in continuous communion, and always chooses the most spiritually productive option; a lower soul is ignorant of spiritual truths and wallows in the entangling repercussions of wrong action. Now, in the linear world, this hierarchy is real, and serves two purposes.
- It defines a descending flow of teaching that draws the Infinite Light down, level after level, from above to below.
- Its hierarchy of status provides incentives for the resource-demanding labor of self-improvement. HaShem placed each soul in the world with a unique potential and the holy chore of assuring that it gets actualized.
Self-development is a labor-intensive process. No one spends that amount of effort without very compelling inducements, both positive and negative. HaShem hangs a carrot in front and a fire behind to assure that the work gets done. One of His most successful motivating tools is “the rule of the Jones’.” Implanted in the human soul is a natural drive to keep up with one’s peers, and in the world of straightness this is a healthy and functional tendency, especially if one’s Jones’s are spiritually striving folk.
Hierarchy of status defines a pecking order whereby each strives to improve his position and defend it from encroachments. Self-worth, for better or worse, is often linked to one’s position on the particular hierarchy that measures success in the area of one’s values and ambitions.
People occupying higher ranks become role models that inspire effort. One looks at them and thinks, “Since they did it, I know it’s possible. If I work hard enough there is no reason that I can’t do it too.”
The whole point of the era of hierarchy is to create a context of values, inducements, constraints, and coercions that press out the full potential of each soul down to its last drop. Its straight line presents a clear direction of growth and compelling enforcements to assure forward motion.