"The Way of G-d"
Part 3: "The Soul, Inspiration, Prophecy, and the Supernatural"
Chapter 2: "Theurgy"
It's here that we actually touch upon theurgy per se, which we defined as
"the art of affecting change in the world through the recitation of Divine
names and the like" (3:2:1).
But we'll first have to repeat and underscore certain points made earlier
on about the universe's spiritual backdrop before we can go on to explain
the idea of G-d having various "names" in the first place, and how we can
affect change in the world by using them. (In fact, the very idea that the
One G-d would "need" or assume more than one name should strike us as odd;
it doesn't simply because we're used to the Torah using different names.)
In any event, let it be underscored that everything -- from the loftiest of
entities to the lowliest, from the broadest and most sweeping to the very
most specific, and from the primary to the peripheral -- owes its existence
to G-d Almighty. Let it also be understood that G-d avails Himself to
everything and everyone, and interacts with everything and everyone in a
unique fashion. Ramchal and others refer to His interactions as His
"emanations" (see 2:8:3).
These emanations keep everything intact and are thus vital for everything's
well-being and very existence. Each one affects a specific and particular
change in the world, and each begins on high in the angelic realm, where it
then passes down to this world.
Now, G-d wanted us to refer to Him by name, we're taught. For indeed it's
only by calling Him by name that we become aware of Him and have a means to
thus draw close to Him. (After all, we can't familiarize ourselves with or
refer to things that aren't named -- even if we name it "X"; and we
certainly can't have a relationship with a nameless, "faceless" entity).
G-d's particular Four Letter Name ("Yod", "Heh", "Vov", and "Heh" as
written in Hebrew) is unique to the expression of His Glory, but He makes
use of many other names. The point to be made is that each one represents a
G-d bestows a degree of the sort of illumination and influence we'd been
addressing till now in this chapter upon people who utter His name. And
their uttering it under very specific conditions also bestirs the Divine
emanation associated with it in an arcane manner. And once that emanation
is bestirred, it affects the sort of change in the world it alone can affect.
Uttering those names can also affect the sort of supernatural changes we
spoke of before. It can even elevate the individual uttering them to such a
degree that he can commune with angels and other spiritual beings who can
supply him with information and degrees of enlightenment otherwise beyond
his ken. He can even draw upon Divine Inspiration and prophecy, which we'll discuss in the next chapter. And the process involves repeating one of these
names (or a combination of names, and other utterances) either in his mind
or out-loud while fulfilling other specific conditions.
This series is dedicated to the memory of Yitzchak Hehrsh ben Daniel,
and Sarah Rivka bas Yaakov Dovid.
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