Your face, YHVH, do I seek (Psalm 27:8)
Our person and sense of self is an expression of Godself. There is no other. While we experience individuality, each of us are an expression of the Holy One. Mystics and gnostics understand this nuance everywhere in scripture God is characterized with pronouns like “he” and “his” or with physical attributes of a “face,” “arm,” or “womb.” While such metaphors grant exquisite access to what is transcendental, they can also mislead anyone hearing them in twoness. Kabbalah constantly warns against taking any anthropomorphic representations of God literally. Otherwise, we make idols of our own projection upon the Holy One. Yet for those who hear and feel in oneness, there is indeed the awareness of God as Father and Mother, as Bridegroom and Bride. All of this figurative language is means by which to relate with the immanence of the Holy One in our human experience. Perhaps this is obvious. Yet after so repeatedly warning us in their texts, Kabbalists go on to present a highly sophisticated model of divine attributes personified in gendered relationships with creation. Kabbalists call these divine personifications partzufim.
Partzufim pervade Yeshua’s teachings of the Divine. Consider how often he speaks of himself as a Son of the Father: If you know me, you will know my Father also (John 14:7). What “Father” and “Son” mean still eludes many good Christians who lack the Jewish, mystical sense of partzufim. “Father” is the divine perspective of being from outside of time, who sees souls from within their innate perfection. The “Son” is the revelation and mirror of our perfection. This is how Yeshua spoke of the Father with such overpowering parables of mercy, love, and grace. His use of Abba—“Daddy”—is the most intimate term with which a child could love the Divine.
How does a child know their father apart from their mother? Whose love is like a mother’s? The Father and the Son imply the Mother—the divine perspective of becoming—who sees souls from outside and inside time as they grow, evolve, and remember their perfection. Yeshua often implies the Mother where he speaks of the Spirit through whom we worship wherever we are (John 4:21), who gathers us together (Matthew 23:37), and who births us from above (John 3:3). As a body conceived between the love of the Bridegroom and Bride, so are we a communal body conceived by faith, hope, and love in the Divine in each other. This indwelling sense of community, of Shekinah, of Holy Spirit, is the Jewish, mystical sense of the Bride—the divine perspective of embodiment—that fulfills God’s intention to create.
Mirrors of Human Experience
We too are to be and become partzufim. Tau Malachi grounds this when he teaches that, “The reality of Holy Partzuf is the truth of who and what we are in God, the True Light: our Divine Self, or Divine I Am.” Rather than historical so long ago or so high and holy in heaven, partzufim who stir our hearts and imagination—such as the lives of Yeshua, Mother Mary, or the Magdalene—are living mysteries of our own soul as we are in God, here and now. In fact, what draws us to them is something of them inside us. Who is Mother Mary, but the pristine space and matrix of all that is possible? Who is Yeshua, but the Presence of Awareness, our enlightenment and liberation? Who is the Magdalene but the mystery of how we, in an anointed community, may embody this Presence of Awareness, this Messiah? Deep within us, drawing us to Godself, is the Holy Partzuf—the Divine Person—we are here to recognize, realize, and actualize.