The six times the word “place” appears in the episode of Jacob’s dream of a ladder reaching heaven with angels ascending and descending corresponds to the six directions of a cube, the archetypal form of all space. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his book, Living in Divine Space, explains how the six directions of a cube relate to six constant mitzvot incumbent on all Jews, at all times, and in all places, as taught by Maimonides. In the introduction to the Sefer Hachinuch, it hints to a further connection between these six mitzvot and the six cities of refuge in ancient Israel, where those who killed inadvertently were given the opportunity to find haven in six cities of refuge.
Rabbi Ginsburgh teaches that a city of refuge in a spiritual and psychological sense still exists today in the form of Jewish meditation and specifically on meditating on these six constant mitzvot. Through contemplating the deeper meanings of the mitzvot and their manifold associations with the directions, the sefirot and various archetypal souls who represent these mitzvot and sefirot, one orients him or herself in the middle of the cube, creating a spiritual force field and a true center focus, with which one can then go out into the world.
The one meditating represents the middle, seventh point, which has its associations, as well as a mitzvah which “aspires” to be constant, as taught in the Talmud: “Would that a person pray all the day continually”. King David alluded to this when exclaiming: “And I am prayer.”
This meditation, based on the six directions of space, is one of the secrets of shaking the four species on the holiday of Succot to the six directions.
The six/seven mitzvot and their related associations are:
|Constant Mitzvah||Direction||Sefirah||Sefirah||Inner Sense||Soul|
|Belief in existence of God||Above||Netzach||Victory||Security||Moses|
|Not believing in other gods||Below||Hod||Glory||Acknowledgment||Aaron|
|Belief that God is One||Front/East||Tiferet||Beauty||Compassion||Jacob|
|Love of God||Right/South||Chesed||Kindness||Love||Abraham|
|Fear/Awe of God||Left/North||Gevurah||Strength||Fear||Isaac|
|Not straying after negative thoughts||Behind/West||Yesod||Foundation||Truth||Joseph|
The above chart is the skeleton of the meditation, which is at once mystically potent, yet very practical in its application to daily life. Once the associations are learned there is no limit of depths that can be reached through this and other forms of Jewish meditation.
Meditation in a sense is creating a dream state, where the conscious and subconscious elements of the psyche, the intellect and the emotions merge together in harmony and creative endeavor. As in a dream, meditation lifts us above the strictures of time and space, giving leave of the soul to soar to the heart of heaven. Afterwards, one needs to interpret the meditation, just as a dream needs interpreting, in order to fully integrate that which was learned and gained by the experience.
For those who take the time and make the effort to meditate and contemplate the deep secrets of time and space hidden in the Torah, one is able to come to the same conclusion as Jacob: “How awesome is this place! This in none other than the house of God and this is the gate of the heavens.”