The Kabbalists were often referred to as Mistaklim or Chozim, roughly translated as the Lookers or Seers. To get a handle on what that might mean, just imagine how we feel when someone looks at us with erotic, loving eyes.

We feel energized, uplifted and embraced. We become more vibrant, audacious and alive. We feel safer in the world. The sense of alienation, separateness and loneliness that tarred our empty days and painful nights seems to lift.

The more steady the loving gaze is, the more we can steady ourselves and chart our direction and purpose on the path of being. It begins with the loving eyes of the mother – our first lover – and continues throughout our lives. Love’s eyes sustain us, nourish us and connect us to the essential aliveness that courses through the universe. Being seen makes us alove and alive. The same is true of God. The gaze of the mystic sustains and even ”˜creates’ God.

Indeed Israel for the Kabbalists is not merely a national group. The very word Israel is far more profoundly translated from the Hebrew as ”˜The one who sees God’. Love is Perception. Perception is creation. That is the power of the original appearance of the perception word Ra’ah in biblical myth. After every stage of the unfolding creation process in Genesis the text reads ‘God saw and It was Good.’

Mystic Luzatto reflects virtually the entire Kabbalistic tradition when he reminds us that the motive force for creation is divine love. ‘God saw that it was Good’ could be re-read as God loved – perception is love – and brought the world into being.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

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