The God of the Torah is the God of light and reason, and as a life- and form-giving force, characterized by measured restraint and detachment, which reinforces a strong sense of self. But also the God of wine and music, and frenzy of self-forgetting in which the self gives way to a primal unity where individuals are at one with others and with nature.
The modern world has inherited philosophy's’ rationalistic stance at the expense of losing the human. We now see knowledge as worth pursuing for its own sake and believe that all truths can be discovered and explained with enough insight. In essence, the modern, rational, scientific world view treats the world as something under the command of reason rather than something greater than what our rational powers can comprehend. We inhabit a world dominated by words and logic, which can only see the surfaces of things, while shunning the real world which cuts to the heart of things. We belong to a culture that’s bound for self-destruction.
The only way to rescue modern world from self-destruction is to resuscitate the spirit of Torah.
We have no direct understanding of Torah anymore, but we always mediate the power of Torah through various rationalistic concepts, such as morality, justice, and history.
ecstasy stands as a counterbalance to the thoroughgoing rationality that is so prominent in Orthodox Judaism. In most Torah investigations, the importance of truth and knowledge are taken as givens, and thinkers trouble themselves only over questions of how best to achieve truth and knowledge.
questions where this drive for truth and knowledge come from and answers that they are products of a particular, wrong view of the world. Deeper than this impulse for truth is the impulse to lose oneself in ecstatic frenzy.
He criticizes his own age (though his words apply equally to the present day) for being overly rationalistic, for assuming that it is best to treat existence and the world primarily as objects of knowledge. this stance makes life meaningless because knowledge and rationality in themselves do nothing to justify existence and the world. Life finds meaning, only through prayer while alone is a forest or a mountain top. Art, music, bring us to a deeper level of experience than philosophy and rationality. Existence and the world become meaningful not as objects of knowledge but as ecstatic frenzy experiences. ecstatic frenzy does not find a role in the larger context of life, but rather life takes on meaning and significance only as it is expressed in ecstatic frenzy .
Ecstatic frenzy gains its strength from exposing the depths that lie beneath our rational surface, whereas
Western philosophy insists that we become fully human only by becoming fully rational.
rational methods cannot reach to the depths of human experience. that philosophy is a shallow pursuit. True wisdom is not the kind that can be processed by the thinking mind, We find true wisdom in the dissolution of the self that we find in Torah and the Talmud, and music.
a purified Torah culture can rescue civilization from the deadening influence of rationalism.
This process however starts in a highly counter intuitive way.The way to ecstasy finds its basis in Gemara, Rashi and Tosphot.
The thing that makes Gemara Rashi and Tosphot interesting is not the intellectual aspect of it.
Rather it seems to be part of a process that leads a person into ecstasy and fulfillment. But ecstasy --it would seem can come from God or from the Dark Side. So I think that one of the major advantages in learning Talmud is that it directs one's vector in the right direction.The basic process seems to be learning Talmud for a few years with Musar [medieval books on ethics]-- while trying to improve ones character. And then Kaballah seems to come in. I can't explain what it is about kabalah [Issac Luria specifically] that does this, but it seems to me that when one learns it after proper preparation [Talmud], it has the effect of attaching ones soul to God. I mean specifically the writings of Isaac Luria. At that point if one is properly prepared and comes to Israel, even for a short visit, the Divine ecstasy seems to take effect.