On the Road again.
BS"D Perhaps the very first lesson in the Torah is that G-d created His world with Sefer, Safar and Sippur, text, number, and story, which is basically the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alef-Bet and the Ten Sephirot, the Divine Emanations, and the infinite number of stories in creation. All of existence is a story told by a Storyteller Who wants a happy ending. And this particular Storyteller always gets exactly what He wants.
The Torah does not begin with Bereshit - In the beginning. The Torah begins with B’shloshim v’shtayim netivot pliyot Chochmah - With thirty-two wondrous paths of Wisdom…
The beginning of the Torah is Sefer Yetzirah, which Rav Aryeh Kaplan, zy”a, said that Rav Eliezer Rokeach, zy”a, taught was written by Shem, the son of Noah and the Patriarch Abraham, his ninth generation grandson. Shem is Melchizedek, the first king mentioned in the Torah (other than G-d Himself) and the first priest of Al-mighty G-d in Heaven, and the founder of the first school, the yeshiva of Shem and Eber, and the primary builder of Noah’s Ark, a master craftsman.
We know that Noah was a Kabbalist, and Kabbalists learn from Noah, even today, not to drink wine in excess. Most drink only on Shabbat and not to excess. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy"a, used to say that a bochur could make three l’chaims and a baal habos can make four. Three and four of the standard Torah measurement of a reviit, a quarter of a log, which has various rabbinic opinions ranging from 87cc to 5.4 fl.oz. And this is the one time Lubavitch follows the Chazon Ish. And the Rebbe was not talking about wine, but vodka. But Kabbalists do not do it that way. They eschew the use of alcohol and are able to rectify Noah’s drunken state mentioned in the Torah (Gen. 9:21).
Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Formation, often called the Book of Creation, is Torah that is best suited for the Realized Noahide, because it is their heritage, what the Torah calls the Brit Rishonim, the Covenant of the Ancients. And Sefer Yetzirah is the mayon, the wellsprings that are connected to the Infinite Source of Water, Tal, dew.
Sefer Yetzirah should be approached with love and desire, passionate love and desire. It is beyond the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is the Babylonian Talmud. Sefer Yetzirah is the fountain that waters the Tree of Life. It is the only Torah that preceded the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai by 400 years, that is accepted as an aspect of Torah from Sinai by all the prophets and sages of Israel. One thing I remember from my speaking tour of Texas was that in Vendyl and Anita Jones’s living room there is a wall covered with books of Torah content or pertinent content to the man who fathered the renaissance of Gentiles observing the Torah. And eye level on that wall was a copy of Aryeh Kaplan’s translation and commentary of Sefer Yetzirah, and someone had learned the cover off it and had taped back together meticulously and it was better than new. And I knew that the true energy of the Torah was in that room, which means G-d’s blessings. May they continue forever.
The one thing I will tell you is that Sefer Yetzirah is esoteric wisdom and is the source of the secrets of the Torah, that is, Kabbalah. And there are many levels on which it is learned, as King Solomon wrote (Eccles. 7:24), “Deep, deep, who can find it?”
It is a meditational text and one has great spiritual benefit by learning it and by memorizing certain stanzas, particularly 1:1 and 1:8, which teaches one to bridle his mouth from speaking and heart from thinking. And if your heart runs, return to the place. And this is the classic alef-bet of meditation. Why is this so well-suited for one whom I call the Realized Noahide? Because as a mitbonen, a meditator, his consciousness is on a higher level than a Talmid Chacham. The Realized Noahide will inspire the Jew to tuck in his shirt and fulfill his potential. And the Jew might pick up a case of scabies along the way, G-d forbid, but it is a kind of initiation. L'havdil, it is like Prometheus giving the gift of fire to man. Or, in the realm of holiness and truth, it would be like Elijah the Prophet revealing what will happen in the end of days before the time. He would pay for it, chas v'sholom. But one thing the Realized Noahide must realize is that he or she has a share of the Torah, and G-d asks you to come to the water and drink.
But be warned: There is a youtube video showing a young African elephant coming to a river to drink and when he puts his trunk into the water, a crocodile snaps its monstrous jaws around the poor little elephant’s trunk. But an elephant is no pushover. He lifted his trunk, crocodile and all, and slammed it to the ground by the bank of the river, and another, bigger elephant, came and stomped on the crocodile’s head, and the crocodile let go and fled back to the river. I think people are a lot like that.
Gates of Prayer is a FB page that I contribute to and I believe is on the right track.