"The Ultimate Release"

By Gutman Locks

This week's Torah portion discusses the seventh-year release (Shemita) and the seven-years times seven-years cycle that brings an even greater release, the 50th year Jubilee.

Seeing these cycles should prepare us for the truly Grand Release - the release that is coming when the slave will be set free and will return to the place from which he came. The soul, which we really are, is being held in the body much like a master holds his slave. The soul was sent here into this world against its will. It was sent to work the land, to improve it and make it a better place for his Master.

When the Torah discusses the commandment to let the land of Israel rest, and that it may not be sold forever, God tells us, we are but "...sojourners and residents with Me." (Lev 25:23)

Sojourners and residents are not landlords. They do not own the ground they are standing on. They are here only with the owner's permission. A sojourner (ger) is a stranger, a foreigner. To be a resident (toshav) means you merely sit down, stay or inhabit.

As usual, the Torah is speaking at many depths. At the superficial perspective, God is telling us that since He brought us out of slavery, we are really His slaves now. And since He gave us this land we are dwelling on, we are not its owners. He can tell us what He wants us to do with His land.

But at a much deeper perspective, we see here that the Torah is telling us that just like the land must go back to its original owner, so will our personal portion of land, our body, go back to its original owner. It is surely going back to the place it came from, back to the earth. Our bodies are merely allowed to sit on the land, having been raised up and formed into humans for a while.

Our bodies are the actual land we live on. We associate with our body so much that often we make the mistake of thinking that we are the body. But when the "Grand Release" comes, these bodies, this land we walk on, will return to its owner, back to the ground from where it came, and our souls will return to their Source.

And even more mystically, our very being, what we believe ourselves to be, our souls, also are merely temporary beings. The souls, too, are tenants temporarily enjoying individual identity as souls. Not only are they temporarily housed as residents in the body, but also ultimately their individual identity as souls will cease and they will return to their true Owner.

Our souls will also cease to be "independent" entities when they return to the One from where they were apportioned. The soul is a veritable portion of God on High. The distinction between God on High and the soul is the soul's characteristic as a portion. When the soul's journey is over, its identity as a soul will cease.

You - your body and even your soul - are merely tenants here, and not the boss you would like to think you are.

Seeing the seven-day, seven-year and seven-times-seven-year releases throughout our lifetimes (and learning about them today) must remind us of the "Grand Release" that is surely coming. This should lead us to use our opportunity here more wisely.

Then some day, God-willing soon, the great ram's horn will physically sound, announcing that the Moshiach has come. Then, with the resurrection of the dead, even death itself will be released.

As with most mystical teachings in the Torah, there are differences of opinions with the subject of souls. There is a strong opinion that states that the souls will exist forever as souls in the World to Come. The opinion cited above holds that ultimately even the World to Come will revert back to the One as It was before creation began. The other school argues, "If it goes back to what it was, then what was its purpose?" The above cited school answers, "For the gorgeous joy of it."



Gutman Locks – also affectionately known as "Guru Gil" – has been a fixture in the Old City of Jerusalem for two decades. He is the author of several books and musical tapes. His website is //thereisone.com . This article is from his mailing list.

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