Deeper Perceptions – By Pincha Winston
Torah is deep. How deep? Infinitely deep. Much of it can be learned on a simple level, but that is only its beginning. There are still the levels of Remez, Drush, and of course, Sod. “Pardes” is an infinite “orchard.”
“Perceptions” is an essay on the weekly Torah reading and has been since 1993. The idea from its inception was to use the parshah as an intellectual springboard to provide unique perceptions and perspectives about life in general and history in specific. The goal was not to be different from others, but it was inevitable because of the approach to the material and the points being made.
Then came Kabbalah. What had previously seemed deep and profound now appeared only to scratch the surface. It was like opening a door and finding an entire universe on the other side of it. Overwhelming was, is, an understatement.
Then came the Leshem. What had previously seemed deep and profound, but also difficult and confusing, became serenely elegant and even deeper and more profound. What appeared abstract and distant suddenly had a message about everyday life that could benefit any spiritually growth oriented person. It could even save lives, spiritually and physically.
This created a need to share. The knowledge demanded a wider audience, albeit on a more down-to-earth level of expression. The ideas had to be able to teach others but in a language to which most can relate. This way lives could be impacted, somewhat, by the brilliance of the more mystical level of Torah.
Thus was born “Deeper Perceptions.” The mandate of “Perceptions” remained, but on an intellectually more sophisticated level. Even when some of the sources require more background than provided and more experience than can be assumed of the reader, the extracted points result in conclusions that require neither.
It is hoped however that readers will be encouraged to further pursue matters discussed in this work on their own. For some the conclusions may be enough. For others, it will be necessary to track down sources and come to a better understanding of their terminology and meaning. Speaking from personal experience, it is always well worth the investigation.
In this sefer most footnotes are an integral and indispensable part of the essay, something the audio files, for the most part, do not provide. On the other hand, the audio version can provide additional information, by intonation alone, that the written essays may not convey.
Often when writing the Names of God, either in the actual Hebrew or transliterated, they are altered slightly out of respect because of their intrinsic holiness. This practice was not followed in this sefer so as to not confuse the reader regarding the Names, especially in cases where gematrios were employed.
In many cases words and concepts are not explained where they are used, but can be found in an extensive glossary at the end of the book.
I would like to thank Mr. Jonathan Straight, a believer in my work for many years now, for helping me to share my ideas and writing with others. He has been a true partner in my personal effort to share the deeper side of Torah, in order to help Jews better survive the present, and to better prepare for the future.
Meeting Jonathan, like everything else in life, was a function of Hashgochah Pratis—Divine Providence. It is God Who gives us existence and maintains us throughout our lives, sometimes in obvious ways, often in ways we do not perceive or appreciate. We owe Him everything, and words and actions could never adequately express that gratitude.
Dovid HaMelech wrote:
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him but a little lower than God, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Tehillim 8:4)
It is nice to know that one is worthy of his accomplishments. Though it is possible to delude oneself into believing it is so with lesser achievements, it is far less possible do so when dealing with Torah, especially on the sublime level of Sod.
There have been occasions when tears have welled up in my eyes after learning a Torah idea whose sublimity was more than I could emotionally handle. It is usually at such moments when you finally begin to realize what a gift it is to learn God’s Torah, and to understand it (on some level, at least).
It is not usually clear why one person or another merits to be the channel for Divine light. All that is clear is that one must be certain to feel eternally grateful to its Source for having been so, and pray that he has pleased our Creator for having done so.