Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kindred And The Mesorah Of The Ancestors

Chayyei Sarah

and to my kindred ... Bereshit 24:38

The Hebrew word translated here as my kindred is משפחתי. From the shoresh (three-letter root) שפח, as is the word for 'female slave' (namely שפחה), the word for kindred is mishpacha (משפחה). The prefix letter mem (מ) can simply mean 'from.' Taken together, the kindred described in the Hebrew of this phrase from the Torah portion are family who come 'from a female slave,' like Hagar who was the slave of Sarah for example. The word שפחה , as well as meaning 'a female slave', can also mean 'to spread out' - thus significantly, the shoresh שפח pertains to an extroversion of consciousness.

As Calev is a man with a different spirit (ruach acheret), so too does another word for kindred have a different spirit - the Hebrew word קרובים also means kindred. From the shoresh קרב - as are the words for 'to draw near' (קָרַב), 'to be brought closer' (קֹרַב), 'to hasten [an event]' (קֵרֵב), 'interior' (קֶרֶב), and 'innards' (קרביים) - these kindred speak to us through Inner Tradition. Thus, significantly, the shoresh קרב pertains to an introversion of consciousness.

and to my kindred ...

This past Wednesday I purchased a new book for my library - The Cauldron of Memory, Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge And Wisdom by Raven Grimassi. Chapter three speaks to the idea of Inner Tradition:

Today we hear a great deal about traditions. Some people speak of old traditions, eclectic systems, or self-sytled traditions. There is however another lesser-known form of tradition. This is the "inner tradition," or esoteric system. It is also one of the most misunderstood traditions for a variety of reasons.

Raven writes more ...

So what is an inner tradition? The short answer is that it's a system based upon an agreement of consciousness between members of the tradition. In other words, an inner tradition exists and functions within the group mind of the people that sustain it.

Not just stories ...

For centuries, inner traditions have been hidden from the public, or if not hidden, have been presented in ways that made them appear to be something else. This is perhaps no more apparent than in fairy tales and in the old myths and legends of our ancestors, particularly those associated with magical or mystical themes. The old stories appear at the same time to convey different meanings reflected in an outer form and an inner form of the tales. The outer form is the story itself, which seems to entertain and even convey a message or social moral. The inner form transmits a code or set of keys designed to access a much deeper level. This is because enlightenment does not dwell on the surface; it dwells in the depths below. It is what brews in the mystical cauldron.

Each of us inherits the gift of an inner tradition from, the mesorah of, the Ancestors. World through world, and to my kindred, with a different spirit, I draw near.

חֶבְרוֹן--בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן ... Bereshit 23:19
Chevron in the land of Canaan