By Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz

           FUSION WITH G-D [Emulations]
1.  REVEW [Knowing about G-d]----------We have arrived at a bridge...we began to explore in a very limited way, the concept of knowing G-d, in a very theoretical way. We saw that Judaism teaches that  G-d is a concept that is both as far away as possible [ The Transcendent side] as well as being as close as can be [the Immanent side]....This knowledge is important as a starting point---a foundation point....we need to know about G-d in order to begin our relationship with G-d.....Similarly, it's often a good idea to find out  as much as possible about a person, before we can begin to connect......
2. A  PARADXICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH G-D-------------Let's go back to the basics....We are seeking to connect with the Being that is most radically different from ourselves on the one hand---as we discussed last week regarding His absolute independence and unknowability ...etc..etc... and on the other hand, He is the most intimate and close  significant other Being in our  lives---so much so that the distinction between G-d being outside of us and inside of us often becomes blurred and totally indistinguishable...So how do we develop a relationship with a being whose essence  encompasses 2 sides of a paradox---as far as can be from us and as close as possible at the same time?
Jewish thinking and Jewish Mysticism are no strangers to encountering paradox, especially when it comes to relating to G-d....Even the Angels [as described in the famous account of the Merkava (the most classic of all the   Prophetic Mystical Divine Visions)  brought in the 1st chapter of the Book of Ezekiel] teach us that  the way to encounter G-d or Infinity  is through a process refered to as 'Ratzo vShov' or 'Moving forward/close and moving backwards/distant'...........We pray and Bless Hashem in the following style;  'Blessed Are You [closeness] Hashem,  King of the Universe [distance]....etc'---How does this paradoxical /close and far way of relating express itself in our relationship to G-d?
3. THE MITZVOT OF G-D RELATIONSHIP------The area of G-d Relationship involves numerous Mitzvot....It's important to mention at this point, that the concept of  a Mitzvah,  is not simply a Divine Commandment, but it is also a way of relating to the Divine---The word Mitzvah is related to a word 'Tzavta' meaning a type of  togetherness....The 1st 2  letters of Mitzvah [Mem and Tzadi] when rearranged in a certain Aleph Bet substitution mechanism, are substituted for the letters Yud and Hei---and when joined to the last 2 letters of the word Mitzvah [Vav and Hei ] spell out The Divine Proper Name of Yud and Hei andVav and Hei...........The 613 Mitzvot are thought of as being 613 pieces of advice on how to connect to Hashem.............................All of these ideas point to the deeper meaning of what a Mitzvah is----ie...G-d Connection----elevating an aspect of life [that we connect with through our thoughts, speech or actions] to be a means of G-d Connection .   
 When we add to this, the mystical concept that different Mitzvot correspond to different aspects or organs of the person [  the 248 positive  Mizvot of  the 613 Mitvot correspond to 248 limbs and organs and the remaining 365 Mitzvot correspond to the 365 ligaments connecting these organs], and that the Mitzvot directly concerned with our relationship with the Holy One blessed be He, represent the main organs; the head and the heart ---- the  vital organs--- without which life would discontinue, then we see that these G-d Relationship Mitzvot serve as the foundation point of all of Judaism....Our purpose in this teaching, is not to analyze all of the G-d Relationship Mitzvot, but rather to draw from their infinite wisdom  in order to aid us in our goal of mastering Dvaikut or G-d Consciousness or G-d Relationship....
4.   FUSING WITH G-D------------------ 'Fusion' is perhaps the best all-encompassing term that combines all of the different ways of relating to G-d, a challenge, as we mentioned that demands of us to dance the paradoxical Angelic dance of 'Ratzo V'Shov'---closeness/intimacy   and    respectful distance....   We will define our usage of Divine Fusion, as the ability to bond in the most intimate way with that which is totally different than ourselves , and still hold on to a respectful distance.....We will begin today with one type of fusion----- that of  Divine Emulation ----one of the most important, but perhaps least developed or practised of the Divine Relationship Mitzvot   
5. EMULATION OF THE DIVINE--------------There is a verse in the Parsha 'Ki Tavo' that states 'Vehalachta Bdrachav' ---and you shall go in His [Hashem's] Ways....'     Our Sages and Commentaries teach that this Mitzvah [Commandment or means of clinging to Hashem] directs us to study G-d's ways, and then emulate them.    There are certain limitations pointed out, such as those Divine Actions that are radically different from human actions [and there is one classic commentary of the Maharal of Prague, who points out that just as our Sages in the Talmud seemed to only be concerned with the positive Divine actions (as they point out , that  just as Hashem is benevolent and compassionate, so to should we be that way), so too should we only emulate the positive Divine actions].   Nevertheless [from other more primary sources], it seems that there are no real limitations on the quantity and quality of Divine emulations that we are to carry out, as long as we seek expert\Rabbinic guidance in those areas of doubt. 
It seems clear that one of the main reasons for emulating G-d's Ways, is that since we are created in the Image of G-d, we should therefore try to actualize or live up to our Divine root/source, and thereby, when we do emulate G-d's Ways, we sanctify and elevate all aspects of our lives---our life outlooks, our character traits, our words  and our actions----- and also thereby make great strides towards clinging to Hashem, and towards making the world a more Holy and G-dly place to live in....
6.EMULATIONS OF THE DIVINE ---A PARTIAL COLLECTION-------As with any Mitzvah, the more that you connect to it in all ways---intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, creatively...etc..., the more that the Mitzvah's Divine infinite impact is opened up for the benefit of yourself and the world.     Perhaps the impact of this particular Mitzvah of Divine Emulation, will have even greater power than others, simply because, to the best of my personal knowledge, it doesn't yet seem to be a common practice to seek out as many ways as possible to emulate Hashem.      Therefore in the spirit of taking the initial steps into  a new spiritual frontier, we will bring you some Emulation Meditations and Exercises to internalize.....I will bring a number of different sub-categories that I've come up with so far, and what I feel are the most important Emulations from each sub-category and open it up into a meditation or exercise.....
some examples of emulatable traits illustrating G-d's goodness are;
a. His  being Long Suffering
b. His being Merciful
c. He  Forgives Sin
d. He's Good to All ****our meditation
e. His Modesty
f. His being Faithful
g. He Loves all Nations
h. He is The G-d of Blessings
1. Know that when G-d offers something for a person's benefit, He doesn't go back on it.
Emulate this trait by committing to seek out all that you can do to benefit others..........Do as best as you  are able to abide by your word......Start with one person at a time  and work your way up to doing the same for others as well. 
2. Know that all that G-d does is for the best.
Emulate this trait by contemplating a specific action that you do, to see if it will ultimately result in bringing goodness to any and every person effected--------the more that you practice this trait , the better you will be at it.
3. Know that even those Divine actions that appear to us as not being expressions of His goodness, but rather expressions of His revenge or justice--whereby those who are deserving are rewarded and those who are not are punished or rectified------those too are expressions of Divine Goodness to the one being rewarded as well as the one being corrected.
Emulate this trait by first committing to love everybody with all your heart, just by virtue of the fact that they are all created in the Divine Image.......Then, from that same standpoint of unconditional and universal love, seek out whatever you can  find in each person that can make that person a better person.......... If, as is most often the case, your direct rebuke to that person would be damaging---either for your relationship or for the effectiveness of influencing that person,  then don't confront that person, but rather pray for their welfare, healing and betterment........Continue in this manner with this person and with others----always coming from a space of love and having their own good and improvement in mind.
some examples of G-d's emulatable traits of Transcendence are;
a. His work is perfect
b. He knows all
c. He sees all****our meditation
d. He reveals the hidden
e. He's Holy
f. He's the G-d of Life
g. He's One
h. He's great and revered
1. Know that G-d is able to see all aspects of a situation or a person at once.
Emulate this trait by visualizing one particular person or situation that you are presently involved with........See them as wholistically as you can........See the past root causes that brought about this situation or the nature of this person at this point.....See the present impacts of this person and/or situation.....See the future results that will probably be brought about...........Based on your wholistic assessments, do whatever you can do to improve the situation or person.....Do the same for other situations and /or people , until you get the hang of how to see wholisticaly and take appropriate action.
2. Know that G-d sees [below the surface] to the heart
Emuate this trait by stopping next time that you encounter a person-----ask yourself if there is a difference between what their lips are saying and what their heart is saying.      When you do notice a difference, then open up your heart to this person's heart message.....Notice how this changes the way you entire encounter and relate with this person.....Continue in this manner with this person and others until you begin seeing and relating to people's hearts all the time.
3. Know that G-d sees all that is hidden.
Emulate this trait by focusing on one particular piece of wisdom or information that you hear.....Distinguish between what the surface message is and what the hidden message is............Practice deciphering the hidden messages in all sorts of areas of your life, such as------what your children are REALLY saying to you     or   what are the REAL messages of the events in your life   or     what are the hidden messages that your body is conveying to you    or   what are your hidden intutive messages saying to you .............Notice how that the more that you focus on these  and other hidden messages, the more you will be able to truly emulate Hashem in seeing that which is hidden
*******there is alot more Emulation teachings and exercises, frends, but surely I've overstayed my welcome this week and will have to continue later on.
may we truly reap the benefits and blessings that comes from Emulating the ONE who is the  most worthy of emulating

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