There is a passage in the Talmud (Taanit 31) which states that at the End of Days there will be a great circle dance in the Garden of Eden. All of the tzaddikim throughout the ages will stand around the circumference of the circle and God will stand in the middle. All of the tzaddikim will then point toward God and declare, “This is the God that we hoped for.”

Each of us has a God that we are hoping for. It is a God that suits our aspirations and ideals. It is a God that inspires and awakens the Divinity within us.

As a result, we tend to think that our God is the only true God. We believe that our vision of God is the ultimate. In the End of Days, when God fully reveals Himself, we will see that all of our visions were visions of the same God; all were just different aspects of the Great Oneness.

In this regard, Sri Ramakrishna used to tell a parable about a group of blind men that one day encountered an elephant.

“Once some blind men chanced to come near an animal that someone told them was an elephant. They were asked what the elephant was like. The blind men began to feel its body. One of them said the elephant was like a pillar; he had touched only its leg. Another said it was like a winnowing fan; he had touched only its ear. In this way the others, having touched its tail or belly, gave their different versions of the elephant.”[1]

Each of us has the capacity to touch one small part of the “Body” of the Eternal Lord. We can understand one aspect of His Infinite Being. Whatever conception of God we have, however, is only a tiny glimpse of what is an infinite and eternal reality.

The same idea is true regarding the spiritual path; there are many ways up the mountain. We each need to follow our own path. One person goes from holy place to holy place, another from holy person to holy person, and a third believes that there are no holy people and no holy places – God is everywhere and in everyone. Our own path will reflect the God that we hope for. We all follow the road that will lead us to meet our God.

According to the sixteenth century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, commonly known as the Ari, there is a Divine Torah in the heavens. This Torah contains the thoughts and desires in the Mind of God. The whole of the manifest universe is an expression of the “words” of this Torah.

Each soul is drawn from one of the letters of this Torah. It is the supernal source from which we come and the aspect of God to which we are linked. Our personal supernal letter embodies the essence of who we are. Its quality fills our being and colors our every thought, word and deed.

The Divine livingness that animates our personal letter impels us toward a particular aspect of God. Our spiritual path will reflect our letter’s specific character. By attuning ourselves to its vibration, we will discern the direction that we need to follow in our life. Guided by its light, we will discover the purpose for which we have come into this world.

Our letter empowers us on our spiritual journey, but it is only one letter of the Supernal Torah. There are hundreds of thousands of other letters, each with their own particular radiation and quality. Each letter represents another individual and another path. Each of us has his or her own work to do for God. We each are charged with revealing one spark of Divine Truth. We each manifest one thought from the Infinite and Eternal Mind of God.

“There is just you and God. There is no third person. Although on the outside it is necessary to cooperate with others in your work, still each one works directly for God, and He receives that work.” – Swami Ashokananda [2]

No matter what anyone may tell us, ultimately our spiritual life is between God and us. When we come before the Throne of Glory we cannot plead ignorance, we cannot plead that we were following another’s advice; we ourselves will be solely responsible for the choices that we have made in our life.

Our spiritual life is as much about learning to know ourselves as it is about knowing God. To do this, we need to strip away the layers of artificial facade and discover the point of truth that lies at our core. This is a difficult and demanding task.

Once we have accessed this Divine core, however, its power will flood our being. It will permeate every aspect of our consciousness and illuminate our heart with the presence of God. It will awaken within us the living awareness of the Oneness of all that is.

From this place of unity and oneness, we will perceive the Godliness in everyone that we meet. We will reach beyond their outer appearance to touch their inner spark. We will “know” the supernal letter from which they have arisen. We will comprehend the unique truth that they are meant to reveal.

When we see the Divine quality that is in each person, we are seeing the different faces of God. This Divine revelation is as potent as any spiritual vision we might experience. It is a foretaste of the circle dance of the tzaddikim at the End of Days. It is a subtle hint – a fragrant inhalation of the consciousness that awaits us in the World to Come.

Copyright © 2010, by Yoel Glick

Acknowledgements    (↵ returns to text)

  1. ‘M”, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, translated by Swami Nikhilananda, p. 191
  2. Sister Gargi, A Disciple’s Journal p. 71