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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually Awakening people. We’ve done nearly 650 of them now. If you’ve just discovered this and you’d like to check out, others that we’ve done, go to batgap.com Bat gap and go under the past interviews menu or you’ll see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there are Pay Pal buttons on the site and there’s a page of alternatives to PayPal. My guest today is Moshe Gerst. Moshe is a sought out spiritual teacher in Jerusalem, a student of Torah, Kabbalah, and Moshe, how do you pronounce that next one? Chesed de Deus
Moshe Gersht: high status? Just what the hey? Yeah. With the H in the front. Yeah,
Rick Archer: okay, I was way off on that one. He shares ancient mystical and philosophical wisdom in a way that is practical, relatable, and enjoyable. For nearly a decade, Moshe toured the states in the US as the singer and songwriter for popular Los Angeles based rock band. Only two years after signing a record deal, he had a spiritual awakening that sent him journeying to Jerusalem. The next 14 years were spent in deep spiritual practice and in depth study of Torah. Is it pronounced Torah with the emphasis on the second syllable?
Moshe Gersht: I think it’s the first of all, Torah, Torah, I’m sorry. Okay.
Rick Archer: Today, Moshe seamlessly connects and expresses these fundamental spiritual ideas with Universal Principles of Psychology, spirituality and self development. He understands the true nature of the human mind and our collective struggles, and has devoted his life to helping people align with their purpose, peace and inner joy. In 2021, Moshe released his Wall Street Journal, best selling spiritual book, titled, it’s all the same to me. So welcome, Moshe.
Moshe Gersht: Hey Rick. Thank you so much pleasure to be here.
Rick Archer: I think we’re gonna have fun. Yeah. Did you ever see that TV show? To tell the truth?
Moshe Gersht: I can’t say that I have.
Rick Archer: It was before your time, I think it was back in the 50s and 60s, but the premise of it was they had these three people who would sit there and they would all claim to have been something a brain surgeon or you know, something. And then they had this group of panelists who would question them and try to figure out which one of them was the real person and which one were lying. So I think you would do well on that show, because I don’t think too many people would guess that you were a rock star. And I think it was a punk rock kind of band was.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, yeah. A punk rock band.
Rick Archer: If they ever revive that show, you should go.
Moshe Gersht: Okay, well,
Rick Archer: what was the name of your band?
Moshe Gersht: It was called in theory,
Rick Archer: in theory, in theory, okay. Is there any, any stuff on YouTube or anything still?
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, I mean, there’s some music videos that were put up right before I left, I think I left in 2007. And that was kind of right in the beginning of YouTube’s popularity. So I kind of I kind of left like MySpace, if you recall MySpace as a social media platform. Yeah, that was that was the place to be. And it was a found out subsequently was on its way out. And then, you know, Facebook, and everything else took its place. And YouTube was also kind of in its, you know, young stage. So there’s some stuff that you can find out there. But I think you’d have to actually put in theory and my name together to actually get me other stuff to come.
Rick Archer: I think I’ll try that. Later on. So this spiritual awakening you had was it out of the blue? Or had you been sort of getting interested in spirituality and doing some kind of practice or what?
Moshe Gersht: You know, it wasn’t out of the blue like overnight, but I think everyone in my band felt it was pretty quick. It was all in a matter of a handful of months. I grew up in a relatively spiritual home. So spirituality wasn’t new to me. But I was pretty dead set on being a singer songwriter, and everyone in my lane or my small little collective group have had the same dream and vision. We were all working together on something and I think You know, we spoke a little bit about it before we got on the call was my, one of my band members got involved in some pretty heavy drugs, which was not something that I expected. And he stopped showing up to shows and stopped showing up to practice and his life kind of took a turn. And it was the first time that I really had to face the reality that being in a punk rock band might have some side effects to life. And I started just questioning, you know, what else was there? To this reality? You know, what am I doing here? Somebody had asked me, along the way, asked me how long I was going to do this for which I think is, whenever I think of that story, I think it’s a funny thing to ask a musician, how long are you going to do this for? Especially when we had just signed with a label? And I said something to the effect of until we’re successful? And he said, when’s that? I said, once worked. He says when successful. And I think in that moment, I told him to, you know, shut up and get a beer or something like that. He was ruining my, my, my energy. But I that stuck with me. I sat with that for a long time afterwards. And after a few months of really thinking about what, what is the successful life and then having that happen with my bandmates? And there was there was an evening where it had like a very clear opening. There’s, there’s more to life than just being on the stage. And maybe you come back to the stage later, but it’s it. I had an inner calling to go explore. I didn’t have answers, but I did have questions for the first time.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, and even if you had become successful, you might have wondered. So what I mean, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison, were all successful. You know, Keith, rich Nakita. Richardson, well, yeah, him too. He’s still alive. But the other guy, the blonde guy, Brian Jones, Rolling Stones, they were all successful, they all died in their 20s. So obviously, success, success can kill you. I mean, if if they hadn’t been rock stars, they might not have been living such hedonistic lifestyles. And,
Moshe Gersht: yeah, I mean, I felt like it was a talk, there was a moment where I realized I had to brought my definition of success. And success wasn’t the outcome of, you know, an idea, per se, but was much deeper, there’s like a deep success that goes behind the externalities of life.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So this dawning realization? Was it primarily intellectual or kind of a, you know, a dawning of understanding? or was there some corresponding upwelling of deep experience that accompany that?
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, you know, it was, in the beginning, it was intellectual. It had its, it had, it had a crescendo, like it moved up towards an experience, where for the first six weeks, I was on my way back, I visited my family who were living out of the country. And when I landed back in LA, and the day that I landed, our song had debuted on K rock, which was the Los Angeles rock station. And so like, I got the car, and we’re all celebrating, and the next day, we had a meeting with this big booking agency, and then they were going to sign us and everything seems to be going great. And being born and raised in a Jewish home, I felt like I had to do something to almost ground myself in some aspect of my heritage, you know, before going out to this, the wild wild west. And I’m not exactly sure where that came from. But, you know, it felt like a calling inside of me. And so I, I just picked up a book that someone had left lying around in my apartment that, you know, had some spiritual ideas in it. And it spoke to me, and I wasn’t really a reader, to be honest. I mean, now I have what I spend my life doing is reading and studying involved in the world of knowledge and wisdom. But before that, I mean, I grew up on video games, and playing sports and music. So that was, that’s my whole life. I didn’t see myself to be too much of an intellectual. But I was I was being spoken to by the ideas in these books, which was coinciding with my bandmate, who was having a rough time with a drug addiction, which coincided with someone asking me about the future of the music and so all these things were coalescing together. So there was a lot of juice happening inside of me. And then I do remember, there was a moment when I was walking home one day, and I saw this lovely young couple, you know, pushing a stroller. And I just thought to myself, like, I don’t know if that’s exactly what I want, but I know that if I go this way, it’s unlikely that that’s what I’m gonna have, like, I just thought wasn’t the trajectory that I was on. I had done the research. I know that if you’re in the music business, I was gonna be on the road six to 10 months out of the year if I even wanted a shot at this and it was gonna be from Many years on end if you didn’t really want to have a shot at this, so that was going to be the next five or 10 years of my life either way. And I had this kind of inner opening it almost like and I described it as if you were out in the dark, and it’s a stormy night. And there’s a moment where there’s a lightning flash. And when the lightning flashes, the entire view, the landscape opens up, you can see everything just for that moment. And there’s this absolute clarity. And for in that moment, there’s no darkness, you don’t even notice the rain, you’re just taken by the you’re awestruck with the clarity. And it was that kind of, oh my gosh, I know that this path I’m on, it’s now time for me to you know, get on this off ramp or get on an on ramp, whatever. metaphor is the right metaphor to the next destination that I was going towards. And I remember sitting in in the alleyway by my apartment, I just broke down crying because I didn’t know what that meant. But I was filled with tears, because I just knew that something something was now over. Something else was going to begin. And on my flight out of LA, it was filled with tears and laughter was back and I was laughing, you know, surprise, they
Rick Archer: let you on the plane, right?
Moshe Gersht: I’m like, exactly, like a crazy person on that flight. Because I’m like, I was so joyous because I have everything inside of me was reverberating. This is the best decision of your life, you have to go in this direction. And that those are the tears of everything I was leaving behind my best friendships and incredible team teammates that I’ve worked with for years. And it was a lot. But it was when things are clear, really, really clear and obvious. They’re clear, and I got a lot of signs along the way. Also, like it was things things went from clear to cleared to absolute clarity, it didn’t move, there was no there was no moments where it was okay, maybe not. It was just absolute, I feel very grateful for that. I don’t even know what I did to deserve that if I did anything to deserve such a such a gift, it was a gift of clarity.
Rick Archer: That’s nice. I know that the sense of divine guidance is important to you, from what I’ve read, you know, listen to in your book and on. I feel that too, I don’t think that the universe is just sort of dumb mechanism of some sort, but that there’s we’re swimming in an ocean of intelligence, and that intelligence does its best to sort of nudge us in certain directions. If it can’t,
Moshe Gersht: yeah, that’s exactly, it, it’s on us to be able to see it. I think it’s this interplay, right, because we’re also part of the oneness that is the universe, right? We are one with all that is. And then at the same time, in our world of duality, where we experience ourselves as these separate beings, and we’re little individualized, you know, pieces of, of that reality, it’s on us to, if we want to be open to seeing that and reading that and interpreting it through the way that we experience our life.
Rick Archer: So yeah, I guess another way of putting it is we are that oneness. And but we’re also this individual expression of it. And like the wave in the ocean, and you know, and the concept of that is not sufficient. You no one could understand that intellectually, but you’ve got to live it. Yeah.
Moshe Gersht: I mean, and even that, even the words, you gotta live it, I hope we want to live it. Because it’s, it’s a, it’s, I mean, even if I were to just make it simple as it’s so much more fun, more fun. It’s more fun life and a light life, when you know that you’re not alone. And you’re working with the University working with a force, that’s, like you said, an ocean of intelligence.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and I also get the sense that a bit you do too, that if you want to live it, and you do your best to live it. And to, you know, I’m just stretching the metaphor here. But that ocean of intelligence, appreciates your willingness and supports you. And you can become an agent of that, so to speak, or, you know, a tool in the hands of the Divine, and helping to fulfill some sort of divine purpose. And we can elaborate on what we might think about that, what that means, but um, it’s a reciprocal kind of relationship. That is extremely, in fact, there’s actually a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, it puts it in terms of gods, which you can, you know, interpret however you like. But it says that, you know, if you’re really in tune with your dharma and doing this sort of deep spiritual work, then you support the gods and they support you.
Moshe Gersht: Yes, I mean, there’s, there’s actually a there’s a line in ethics of our fathers in Hebrew, it’s pure care vote is one of the most well read pieces of Torah literature, which is all about self development and spiritual connection and obey there. There’s a similar line that says, you know, when you make your will, his well he makes his will your will. And there’s this cyclical nature.
Rick Archer: Yeah, same point. Really? That’s fantastic. And, and so could we deduce from that? That if things aren’t going well in one’s life, one hasn’t made. ones will consonant with God’s will. And as I began to think of that question, I was thinking of stories like the story of Job or others who went through all kinds of trials and tribulations. And we’re actually just being tested. And we’re, in fact, sort of, on God’s team.
Moshe Gersht: So it’s funny, you know, when I think about the word test, the Hebrew word for test isn’t a study on which its root word is ness, ness means a miracle, something, what is a miracle, a miracle is something that goes beyond nature, right? It’s something supernatural, it’s probably how we would define a miracle to anyone, you know, from from wherever you’re standing, if something happens beyond your conception of what is to be normal, or, you know, realistic, you would define that if some version of a miracle and there’s probably a variation of that from here until you know, something extremely supernatural. So when I see the word test, and I think about what a test is, a test is really an opportunity for you to rise above your nature or wherever you’re at, in this moment, right. And so I like to, or I prefer to translate every time you know, words like that show up in Torah literature as opportunity. So I don’t see tests as much as tense as much as they are opportunities for expansion. And so in that sense, there are never really times where you’re not totally in consonance, with with God, and we were totally out of alignment. But you are now in a place where a different set of circumstances will present themselves so that you have the opportunity to grow the opportunity to expand. Yeah, go ahead and make me I’m not sure if I, if I said that as
Rick Archer: well, I think I should have understood what you’re saying. And, you know, I mean, obviously, when we go to school, we take tests, and tests might seem like a punishment to some students, but they’re not really they’re just sort of a way of measuring whether we’re qualified to move on to the next level of knowledge or the next level of learning or responsibility as a student. And I think that there can be a danger in people getting too big for their britches, so to speak, in the spiritual realm. And then there are all kinds of stories of people falling crashing and burning, when they over reach their readiness for a certain spiritual role or authority. And so, perhaps in that sense, tests are a valuable thing. They’re kind of a safety check. You know? Feel free to comment. Yeah,
Moshe Gersht: no, yeah, no, I mean, I think the idea of a safety check is, is valid, without question. But I almost see it as well, given exactly what we need for our next step in our evolution, right? It’s even more than just, you know, let’s see, if you’re okay to go to the next level, it’s, you know, if you can’t, if you don’t get this, you can’t get this. So then we’re going to have to bring you through another road or another route to see, you know, where else can we accentuate, you know, the talents, the gifts, the abilities, all of the innate wonder that’s been kind of placed in you and your potential as you came into this world. So now, you get different opportunities in life, to share that and to express that. And sometimes things in life take us in a direction where we would naturally think this is a disaster. And it’s terrible, and this shouldn’t be happening. And for many people, obviously, not everybody, a lot of people will describe that. It’s those low moments that you know, became, you know, the windows of opportunity for experiences and relationships and other successes in their life that may never have come to manifest had they not gone through that more challenging experience. So it’s hard to judge any situation that’s good or bad in its own right. It just it there are some situations that I that the experience is challenging, and it’s painful, and pain is real. So I think we have to honor the pain of of a challenge and the pain of a situation. But the judgment of it being good or bad is ultimately subjective.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and most, most people I know and can consider wise, Don’t lament, or regret anything they’ve been through even though some of it may have been extremely difficult. They see it in retrospect as having been in their best interest and having been all All learning opportunities, growing opportunities.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah. And I think that’s exactly what we’re saying. And that’s the, that is the opportunity of life. And sometimes when you are in that place where you’re so much in a non resistant flow, and and you’re, you know, in a joyous anticipation or what we would call excitement, right about your life or about what things are going well for you, and you kind of living in that state of gratitude. So there is a lot of resonance that, you know, to a degree, the energy that one puts out into the world is reciprocated, kind of like how we were saying before that, that ocean of intelligent the universe, like God is, is not just listening, but it’s completely one with everything that we’re putting out. So the more that we kind of move into that direction, the more we see that coming back in our direction, we can want one can maintain such a phone to expand that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. How do you reconcile these lofty concepts with the horrific things that happened in the Holocaust, or the war in Ukraine, or the fact that in the Horn of Africa, as we speak, someone is dying of hungry every 48 seconds? I mean, people, a lot of people just can’t believe that there’s any sort of Divine Being or consciousness or anything else in light of such heart. And I have I have debates with friends is the you know, what kind of God is it that would kill babies? And now that kind of thing? And I go into explanations that I’ve kind of come to terms with, but what would you have to say about that?
Moshe Gersht: Well, probably the two things I would say is whenever speaking about tragedy, which is just part of the world that we live in anything that we would deem is tragic. The response that I’ve learned is, one cannot answer, a soul or a heart question. With something from the mind, something from the head, it’s beyond a reasonable explanation. And if you try to put words to someone suffering, anyone suffering, on some level, you’re diluting there’s something you’re actually taking something away from it, which is, which is a challenge, because we’re intellectual beings by nature, and we want to be able to have an answer for everything. There’s a story in the in the Torah, in the Bible, where Aaron loses his two sons. And, you know, Moses goes to him for a response. And it says, and, and Aaron was silent, in that place of silence. That was his response. In it, there’s a place where we have to go above the rational mind. There’s another story in the Talmud, where Moses is having an interaction with God, and he’s witnessing someone being tortured. And he says to God, this is a spiritual person. And that’s his reward. That says, You have to be quiet, if you want to come up to the higher part of my thoughts, we have to go into a state of silence, there’s some things that we can’t translate. And if we try to translate, we do it for ourselves so that we can make sense out of life. But there’s also a danger in that because we want might be misinterpreting, we may not be able to understand, and that’s okay. It’s part of the spiritual path is to humiliate or to say, I don’t know. Like, okay, I’m okay. I’m okay with saying, I don’t know, it doesn’t take away from a cosmic truth. It’s saying, I can’t give an answer to that. So that would be the first thing I would respond to, you know, how do we look at tragedy. But when we talk about more of the global phenomenon, like, you know, 600 people, you know, every single hour are dealing with starvation. And, you know, the, you know, close to 2 billion people who still don’t have clean water, and you think about, you know, the things that are happening in this world. For me, on a personal level, part of what I, what moves me and continues to keep me going forward is I look back, I always look back and look to where we came from. And wherever we came from, we’re doing better. We’ve always been on a trajectory of positive human evolution, it’s been a good thing. If you go back 200 years, you sit, you just say thank you for being alive today. When you go back 600 years, you say, Wow, the world is way better than it was 600 years ago, and you go back 1000 years, you know, there were small comforts with peace of mind, maybe less distraction, which might have been some advantageous back then. But the further you go back in time, you know, the more we dealt with, I mean, thank God, we live in a time where even to say the word slavery is like, you’d be, you could be ousted for using the language, let alone the fact that this was commonplace in the world. We’re moving in a good direction, right? I mean, we’re far from there yet, as a planet and as a species, but I feel like we are, we are moving in in a good direction. And so that’s what gives me hope. When we think about, Well, how could it be right that you have there supposed to be a cosmic intelligence? That’s, that’s good, right and moving things in the right direction, look at all the negativity that’s in the world. And I see that as Okay, well, we’re moving in the direction of goodness, right. And that’s that that’s kind of the purpose. When you think about it, if you’re coming from a spiritual lens, either maybe even a religious lens, just a lens, that there’s some sort of, you know, creator creation process, and we’re part of this unfolding process. So we had to start somewhere to end somewhere, right, or to move in some direction. That’s, that’s what’s happening. So when I look back and see where we are, it gives me hope for the future. You focus on that going forward?
Rick Archer: I feel that way, too. And, I mean, obviously, there’s the the I don’t know factor. But then there’s also the sort of, you can also put some kind of intellectual gloss on it. And, you know, what I do is, I think, Okay, well, we have, if we’re going to have a creation, it has to have relative qualities, it can’t all just be some perfect thing from day one. If you have, there’s got to be hot and cold, fast and slow, you know, heavy and light, all kinds of different relative qualities. And same with things that are in the realm of our experience. There’s happiness and suffering, there’s pleasure and pain. And so, you know, Shakespeare, we consider him our greatest playwright, he didn’t just write comedies, he also wrote tragedies.
Moshe Gersht: Contrast contrast.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so and, you know, the Hindus refer to the creation as a Leela as a play. And so it’s, it’s like, how would you wouldn’t want to just all see the, if you were the playwright, you wouldn’t, you might get bored just writing the the comedy stuff. So I mean, that sounds a little insensitive, considering how tragic the tragedies are, and how real they are to the people, people undergoing them. And you and I are sitting pretty in our comfortable little homes and in meanwhile, this situations that if we were in them, we wouldn’t be so glib about this stuff. But I don’t know, that’s, that’s just my way of intellectualizing the whole thing.
Moshe Gersht: Ya know, and that, to me makes a lot of sense. And there are many answers. You know, when you look, if you sit and study the works in Torah, and many of the, you know, this spiritual, you know, paths that one can be on, there’s quite a lot to say. But I think that’s why I would open with first we have to go into a place of silence only only for the fact that, like you said, if it were happening to you, or someone you knew, right, so you wouldn’t be so glib, you, you couldn’t just run with an intellectual answer, if you try to give a reason for why did the Holocaust happen to someone and you start giving them, you know, some pretty intellectual answer, and then they pull out their arm and show you a tattoo of numbers and say, Well, you know, that didn’t that didn’t help me, the answer didn’t help me, it’s like, you know, you would feel embarrassed and ashamed to try to have, you know, rationalize that pain. So we do it for us so that we can continue to move forward. And ultimately, and this is certainly the belief that I subscribe to and my experience has been is that the always always in wellness, right? I’ll is good. This is. You know, there’s a there’s a lot in, in Jewish law that says when something good happens to you, you make a blessing, bless it is that who is good and bestows good. And when something when a tragedy happens, what makes it different blessing blessing is the one who is the judge of truth, right, the judge of an of an ultimate truth. But in the next line, it says, But when one says either of these blessings, they have to be with the same level of joy, and peace, which is fascinating that the idea, the idea of built in is, of course, we have to see the difference between when something that we perceive as good happening, and something that we don’t perceive as good happening. But the way that we experience it on the inside is that the opposite the spiritual opportunity is one can find peace wherever they are. And you can be a Nelson Mandela, who goes through his experience and comes out, you know, the other side is a changed change, man and obviously, you know, the Pain is pain and you can you can have all the blessings in the world and and be, you know, a sad, anxious and depressed human being sitting in your Beverly Hills, you know, mansion, right? It’s the it’s the Inside Job is our opportunity to expand and experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you’re probably well aware of Eddie hilason. Right. Who was oh, she was in one of the concentration camps. And she’s written a book while she’s long deceased now, but she was having a very high level of, of spiritual experience while in, you know, whichever concentration camp she was in, and it’s really quite profound that She was able to maintain that level of realization and understanding under those circumstances, e t, t y h, I ll isum. I believe she spelled her name.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, it sounds like also like Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, right? He came to, he came to such a deep level of positive philosophy from the darkest place, it’s hard to imagine someone to come to that, from the darkness.
Rick Archer: Yeah, we got to read that book, you’re the second person in a few days that suggested that I brought it up, you know, I should read it. One thing I think, based upon what you were just saying a few minutes ago, is that you could cry, I mean, most of the world’s problems are created by people, you know, climate change, and famine, and, and the wars and, and everything else, these if we were all sorts of enlightened beings, you know, really, in every respect, we wouldn’t have these things, you know, we would have the, we easily can have the resources to make sure everybody’s fed and clothed, you know, living getting a good education and all this stuff. But, you know, I mean, there’s 8 billion of us, and we’re all at varying levels of development. And, you know, you can think of the human race in general as being in sort of its teenage years, where it’s doing all kinds of crazy things that some many of which are quite self destructive, and it just hasn’t matured into a, an adult phase, you know, where one has, where as a race as a entire humanity, we’ve gained a high ambient degree of wisdom.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, but I agree with you, I think we’re, we might be very advanced technologically and, and we’ve, we’ve grown up in a lot of ways in terms of our wisdom, but, I mean, you might be generally saying that we’re in our teenage years.
Rick Archer: Juniors, that people get really crazy. And they’ve gained enough independence from their parents to want to do their own thing. And yet they haven’t gained the wisdom to do it safely.
Moshe Gersht: Right. Right. I my concern would be is that we’re in our terrible twos. But metaphor. So but, but maybe, but maybe, I think, and I think you’re right, I think we are all in varying degrees of growth. And we’re, you know, we really are doing the best we can I, I believe in the goodness of humanity, you know, and I think if you spend time with people behind, behind everything they’re sitting with is they came into this world, with a certain package and a certain placement, and they had the parents that they had, and circumstances that they had, you know, genetics that they had, you know, generational traumas that they carry, I mean, we all come in here with so much package already, you know, before we even get started, it’s almost like not a fair game. But behind it out, you know, people are trying, I think people are searching for love, maybe in the wrong places, but they’re looking to connect with whatever that is that there is that good feeling of that warmth of connection, that that peace and that joy of where you know that everything’s okay. But we don’t necessarily, like you said, we’re kind of young, in a lot of ways, and we don’t necessarily know how to do it. So maybe we think the way to do it is to become extremely wealthy and truly famous, or, you know, to get extremely powerful. And then and then we run after those things. And, and if we do that, as a collective, then there there are consequences. When that focus,
Rick Archer: and wealth and fame can be can actually be a good thing. I mean, there are some very wealthy people who do a lot of good things with their money or with their fame.
Moshe Gersht: Right. So it’s not the wealth and the thing, the problem is if the whole thrust of your life is just to get to that place, and that’s what it becomes about your identity is the wealth or the fame. And that the thing that’s behind it, right, not the soul of who you are, as you’re going through. So that that’s where we find people feeling empty, because they’re identified with something that’s ephemeral and temporal, and not with the eternal nature of who they are, which is one with God and absolute peace and joy. And when you do get beyond all that stuff, get really conscious and present. You experience it. You remember who you are.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So when you say you believe in the goodness of humanity, I presume you mean that, you know, even the Nazis and the serial killers and the, you know, all the people who do nasty stuff, have that same goodness of humanity deep within as the saints do. They just haven’t discovered it. But but it’s there. Is that what you mean, when you say good? Yeah,
Moshe Gersht: yeah, I do. That is that’s what I mean. It we we might find that there are some people who have an illness, right? If there’s a mental illness which is incurable or is beyond repair, that I wouldn’t say that they’re not good, but they may never be able to express that goodness. any more than they have lost the ability maybe someone’s born even without that ability? I haven’t given that enough thought to really say something conclusive. But but certainly I think one can go through their life and, and get damaged. Right? One can, one can damage their psyche, that’s part of the reality of this world, which is why it’s so important to take care of ourselves in our minds. And when what we put into our bodies, you know, we take care of this great apparatus that we’ve been given.
Rick Archer: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, if we all contain the divine deep within or reflect the divine, you know, for all reflectors of that, then, you know, some people like broken mirrors now they’re not. It’s very unlikely they’re ever going to be put together again, and this time around in order to provide a clear reflection, reflection, but doesn’t mean that they still aren’t in their essence. That divinity Yeah.
Moshe Gersht: And that understanding allows you to love them and to forgive them in the process. And I think that’s why this assumption, you know, that I’m that I’m living with today, at least to me has been important because there are people in my life who I’ve experienced as, maybe not having with, at least on the surface looks like the best intentions, right? Or it looks like they’ve, you know, they’ve gone down a path where it ends up not feeling good on the other side to other people that they’re with. And if that’s what you hold on to, you end up living with a grudge, you end up living with resentment. And the problem with grudges and resentment isn’t the fact that they’re not justified, they might be justified. The problem is that now you live with resentment, which isn’t good for you. That’s, that’s the problem. You can have a justified resentment. But now you’re living with a block. Yeah. And your life is affected by
Rick Archer: I’m thinking of the Dalai Lama, who wants to refer to the Chinese Communists who destroyed Tibet as my friends the enemy.
Moshe Gersht: Very nice. Exactly.
Rick Archer: Hope I didn’t misquote him. I think that’s what he said. And there’s one happy guy, you know, who’s been through a lot?
Moshe Gersht: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, it’s a it’s a. I mean, I see life as a remembering process. It’s like, there’s a lot of remembering, of all that there. Before we kind of walked into the veil of being human. There’s a piece of the Talmud that I think about often that says, before we’re born, we’re given all the clarity and truth of life, and then we’re born, and it is forgotten. And so our life becomes the opportunity of finding that truth from this perspective. And that’s the opportunity of humanity is, we get to come here from a place where it’s not clear, and develop that and find it from within our own vantage point.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Do you believe in? What is your take on reincarnation, and the sort of the big picture trajectory of, of souls development?
Moshe Gersht: So yeah, I mean, I was raised with the concept. And every, every time I’ve gone deeper into it, it’s just been reaffirmed to me, that, that a soul has a process that it’s working through, right, and that it’s not, you know, you come in, you have your time, your, you know, any, whoever, average 70 year lifespan, and then you’re out, and then it’s on to eternal, you know, there’s whatever, yeah, whatever, whatever, whatever comes next. But that there’s ample opportunity to come back and to continue to expand, to grow, to experience, to dream to do all the things that are human. And on some level, we carry with us that which we’ve done from the past. But then, on another level, it’s actually quite complex and cabbalistic. Really, it’s a it’s an entire field of study, because there are layers to the soul. Like it’s not, we don’t see it as black and white. You know, there’s a body and a soul but that there’s a body and then there’s five dimensions of the soul. Interesting. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I’d say interesting because Vedanta has the same idea. They have what they call the panchakosha. Model. puncher means five and Kosha mean sheath. So they have it’s like Russian dolls kind of thing where there’s no sir and subtler.
Moshe Gersht: So I had no idea. But that’s exactly the type of bottle that we’re dealing with over here. And they’re called the neuron phi, which is an acronym for nephesh Ruach, Neshama, high fever, which are the five elements of the soul and they do work exactly like that, like the, you know, one within the other within the what are the five
Rick Archer: elements?
Moshe Gersht: I think if we were to break it down, simply the most outer layer is gross body. Yeah, exactly. It’s that which it’s the interface with the body itself. Above that is energy movement, spirit above that is going to be soul which it’s translates more like the breath of God, which is what we would probably call like pure consciousness like or call closer to like, individual individualized consciousness. And then higher is lifeforce. So it’s like it’s the it’s the energy behind that. And then you see the is absolute oneness if that’s the pure consciousness state at the very, very top. Interesting. That’s what it means usually means one.
Rick Archer: Yeah, with the panchakosha, Malchut. goes, gross body. Mind prana, which is breath, intellect, and then the bliss body or an Ananda Maya Kosha. And then beyond that, the Atman are the universal self, which, which ultimately is one with brahman or the totality. Interesting. Yeah. Similar model.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, that is very similar. And you would say the same thing even over here that you’d go to five in and that that’s your connecting piece to the ultimate to the rightness of it. Like, like you said, the Atman and the primate, that one?
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, I was interviewing a woman last week. Sharon Hewitt, Rolette Rolla, and towards the end of the interview, we got talking about abortion, and she had once been a evangelical Christian. Of course, there’s a big debate about this in the US right now, the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade. And I said, Well, you know, what do evangelical Christians think about, you know, when this what the soul is, and when it enters the body, and she said, well, to the best of my knowledge, they, they feel it, the soul just comes into existence at the moment of conception or some such thing. And then you, you never existed before that, and now you’re a human being. And, and I said, Well, obviously, if we could really sort that one out, it would have huge implications for this issue. Because maybe the soul doesn’t come in until three months, or six months, or, or whatever, and, and whatever happens to the body, not that I’m taking public stance on it right now. But whatever happens, nothing happens to the soul. And there may be circumstances in which the soul would prefer not to be not to live a life in the particular vehicle to which it was assigned. In fact, I referenced an interview I did in which a guy sort of remembers having been having entering entered a womb and found the situation just so constraining, not only the the confines of the womb, but the confines of physicality, that with all his might, he wished to get out of the situation. And his mother had a miscarriage. That he sounds like
Moshe Gersht: Christians suffer because it was exactly. I’ve seen some of his work. Yeah. Okay. I like like what he has to say,
Rick Archer: anyway, I mean, I’m talking a little bit too much. But to me a lot of these issues, these burning issues that everybody debates, it would serve to have a deeper philosophical discussion about what what are the market, not that it could necessarily be nailed down exactly as to really how it works. But pondering these things, I think helps put things in perspective.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, no, I think I think you’re right. It’s funny, as you were saying it, I was trying to recollect exactly where the pieces so I can look it up afterwards and send it to you. But I do recall at some point in my travels, in, in learning Kabbalah that it does give a timeline as to when each part of those five sections enter the body. You know, there’s a time when the nephesh comes in, and then you know, a little bit after that, then the roof comes in, and then a little bit after that, it’s not all in one fell swoop. But that it is, as, as the child develops, or as the human develops more aspects of it, kind of a reveal to it or or enter into it. In a sense.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I was corresponding with someone after that interview, who said, you know, I know somebody who never fully came in, he’s living a life but he just isn’t. It is isn’t here. It kind of reminds me that Robin Williams line in Good Morning, Vietnam when he had to get up at six in the morning to start the radio show and he’s walking down the hallway says I’m not even in my body. Yeah. Go ahead.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, no, no, I think you’re I think it’d be fascinating to see what what public opinion would take if we actually took a more philosophical, spiritual approach to, to this topic, in specific and obviously, on some level to, to all the elements of when we’re choosing, you know, life and death. Right. I’m referring not just to the topic of abortion, but also to, you know, death penalty and, you know, and anytime we’re, we’re looking at this, you know, how do we look at you know, It’s big. These are big, big subjects, right? Euthanasia is a real thing, like, you know, why should anybody else be able to make a choice? It’s their own life. Right? So, you know, and but then it gets, it becomes murky water, because the moment you start bringing in other paths, right? So which path are you looking at? And now why are we taking this path more seriously feel it, but then the other path, and then it’s why look at any path at all, like, throw out religion, you know, altogether and throw it anything we’ve learned? Like, let’s just start with where we are. These are huge, huge subjects.
Rick Archer: Which brings up one of my favorite themes is that I hope, and I think I’m kind of seeing the beginnings of a, an integration of science and spirituality in which this the this insights that spirituality is uniquely qualified to provide, become part of the scientific worldview, and the rigor and empirical you know, demand for evidence and verification that science can provide, become part of the spiritual package such that spiritual people don’t wander off in woowoo fantasies, but actually have to sort of nail things down if they’re going to believe them. So anyway, I think, I don’t know when 50 years, 100 years, 300 years, we might not speak of science and spirituality is different, we might see them as two legs of one, you know, conveyance,
Moshe Gersht: right? I mean, I kind of see them as, as a body and a soul. But yeah, science is the study of the physical, right, and how it works. And now, you know, with quantum mechanics, and, you know, kind of more of the new cutting edge science, we’re actually looking at beyond just what we would, you know, five sensory experience. And the deeper you go in, you start to find that the soul of a lot of these traditions, were really just pointing to that which we’re now beginning to understand from a scientific lens. I think it was the film of Gon, who was a huge news lift in Europe in the 18th century, who said that that’s going to be one of the markings of the Messianic era, which is going to be the marriage between science and spirituality. Okay, we’re going to see them together. And I think that, you know, we’re living in a time where we’re seeing that, you know, regardless, regardless of of a Messianic era, we are seeing that that’s the trend. We are we are going in, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And we need you because I mean, you were saying earlier about how much better things are these days than they were 500 1000 years ago? Yes. We have dentists, now we have anesthesia, all kinds of great stuff. But we also have nuclear weapons, and we have climate change. In fact, some guy from Ireland just sent into question II Kelly, in Ireland, surely climate change is where it’s all going wrong, as in the possible end of our civilization, and climate changes is a result of science in a way all these, you know, science developed fossil fuels, and all and no nitrogen fertilizers and farming techniques and all kinds of things that have that are contributing to, to climate change. So, you know, maybe the question is, how could spirituality, render science, a, and the technologies that science gives rise to totally benign and not a mixed blessing as they so often have been?
Moshe Gersht: Well, maybe it is a mixed blessing. But the bright side is the same technology that we developed to create a world that has climate change issues, also developed the technology to spot that right. And that hopefully, course correct, to the degree that we can, right? Oh, yeah. And then and it’s also, you know, we can’t help it. And I think that’s part of our nature is we also see things as almost binary of like, look, we could ruin this whole thing, right? This whole earth this? And maybe, maybe that’s part of the plan. And that there’s more right, meaning. We’re also if all we’re, which I don’t think it has been, that’s not my stance. on reality. I don’t think we came here to destroy the place but and I think we can turn things around and I have a positive outlook on this. And, and hopefully our scientists do as well. Otherwise, we’re in a lot of trouble because someone’s got to be looking for the answer. And, you know, you’re right, you and I are probably not working on the next way to fix climate change, we’re sitting. But what I can say is, even if I don’t think that the world is going to come to an end through our own devices, it doesn’t mean it can’t. And if that’s what ends up happening, so then it’s my subscription that okay, I still think we did the best we could, man we got to hear maybe all of this is to get to, you know, birth eight point out and this is just this has just been number seven, you know, we have to remember that our capacity to truly comprehend the vastness of what life truly is right on all the levels are always going to be limited. We’re going to be okay with that, as we continue to do the best we can to We strive to hit that alignment with our higher ideals and our higher values. And, you know, the joy of being alive, because everybody, everybody wants to live a good life. Everybody does. And so we mess up, like you said, maybe it’s teenagers, or maybe it’s terrible twos. And we, we have, we have messed ourselves up, and we have to clean up our mess. But I believe we can, I believe in our potential to turn around, and to return to that greatness. And I think in a lot of ways, if we turned inward, if we actually turn to the spiritual path, which is the opportunity for the awakening that humanity can have, and our personal I feel like is happening. And we’re living in that right now, you and I having this conversation is, you know, an aspect of, you know, the world waking up to a lot of these ideas, which you don’t have to go too far back to work out that most people weren’t even listening to this kind of material. They weren’t reading this kind of material, we’re living in a very special time. And it’s, it’s only grown more and more since 50s 60s 70s 80s 90s. And now we’re in the 21st century. And it’s, you know, spirituality is ubiquitous, you can find it everywhere. And it’s a beautiful opportunity that we have. And I think that when we do turn inward, it’s going to not just have an impact on our emotional well being, and our psyche, but our ability to channel, the energy we have into a better use of our resources. That’s really what we’re talking about in this conversation in this part of this conversation, right, which is, are we using our resources the right way? Or are we using our resources with our science and technology in such a way where it’s actually being to our detriment? Yeah, I think we can turn that around. And the only way you turn that around is if you start on the inside out. Because otherwise, what it appears to be for a lot of people about $1 sign. And if it’s about money, so then you don’t, you don’t think that big picture, when you go inward, you start thinking bigger?
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s great. I find that whole line of thinking very inspiring. And when I think of vastness, I think of it in two ways. One is the vastness one discovers when one goes inward. And then I also am rather fond of vastness. looking outward. On my Facebook header, I have a photo of the Hubble Deep Space field, and the Hubble Deep Space field is what they, if you if you look through an eight foot long soda straw at a dark spot in the sky, that’s how much sky the Hubble that particular picture took. represents. And there are 10,000 galaxies in it in that little bit. And, and that’s probably not all the galaxies that you would see there if that if the Hubble telescope could see everything that that is there. And when you’re in a galaxy is inconceivably large, I mean, even our own. Anyway, I can ramble on about that. But when I sometimes actually just sit and look at a picture of a galaxy and contemplate, you know, all the lives that were lived there, because it’s at least 2 million years in the past, if I’m looking at Andromeda, and how real and compelling and intense there are, so many of those lives must have seemed to the people who are living them. And there’s a famous photo called the pale blue dot, which is a picture of the Earth taken from way out beyond Saturn or someplace by Voyager One and Carl Sagan talked about, he said, you know, all the battles that were fought, and all the religions that existed in everything else, they all took place on this little pale blue.so If you kind of contemplate vastness in that way, and then at the same time, give great importance to a worm that’s dying on the sidewalk, because it’s gotten in the sun, and it needs to get back on the grass and every little tiny thing, and kind of integrate those two. It’s an interesting perspective to live with.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I couldn’t agree with you more, and you’re probably super excited about James Webb
Rick Archer: is gonna do it. Yeah.
Moshe Gersht: That’s gonna be a lot of fun to see what kind of pictures we get back from there. Yeah. Yeah, this, this idea and the vastness of space and then giving the importance to the worm. I think it’s such a beautiful perspective. And I think, you know, a lot of in the book that I’d written, it’s all the same to me. There’s a piece in there where, you know, we look at ourselves, visa vie the worm and realize that, you know, we’re the same, right in on some level, obviously, you know, dimensionally where we’re on a, we’re higher up on many levels of scale, in terms of intelligence and the ability, when you put yourself in the vastness of reality, you, you and a snail, you and a worm, you are your best friends, there’s that there’s not very much difference between the two of you. And then when you go on the inside, that’s going out when you go in. So, if life is made up of the same stuff, right, that which makes up life makes up all of life. And we’re all made of the same thing. Right? So you and the worm, and the star, and every other planet and every galaxy, we’re, we’re all, you know, intermingled. And that’s, you know, when you go to the quantum realm, you can start looking at the quantum field and how everything is truly connected, and how we’re all affecting each other. And with you, I love the idea of looking out into space and using that as a barometer for how we experience ourselves.
Rick Archer: There’s a verse in The Gita, which talks about the enlightened person seeing the self in all beings, and all beings in the self. And so you know, you and the worm are ultimately the same person, so to speak. our innermost self is also the worm’s innermost self, we’re just different instruments, different reflectors, and then all beings in the self, you know, the self is all pervading, you know, Brahman, whatever you want to call it, and we’re like the ocean, and we’re all little fishes swimming around in that totality. So that’s, that’s looking at it from that angle.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah. And you’ve reminded me have the this idea. I mean, in Hebrew, it slipped up the olam is in Adam Godot, and Adam is an all on cotton, which means the world is a big man. And man has a small world. Right? And, and that’s this, this same idea that, you know, the macro is in the micro, the micro and the macro. It’s no different vantage points and points of reflection. And for me, I mean, what, because they’re nice ideas, right. And conceptually, they’re fun to play with in our mind, but when we, if you really take it to what that means, in a practical sense of how that should impact one’s experience. That’s where peace opens up. Right? It’s really an opportunity for great peace, because then you’re not caught up in the ego, right, you then get to see the personality for what it is and the dramas that we create for what they are, right. And you don’t have to run away from the personal experience. But just to have that perspective, and to know that all is in the one and one is in the hall. And you know, what the self is in the world war does and the self to have that type of perspective, as you move through this world. You know, you your day to day starts to shift, it’s an opportunity to experience life, you know, over here, instead of maybe over here, it’s just a drop above and a notch above makes a big difference in this world.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s really good. I mean, I mean, just to emphasize the point, all this stuff, we’re talking about this, it’s not just sort of philosophical entertainment or something, it has real nitty gritty implications or consequences in the quality of one’s day to day life.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, I mean, for me, when I, when I sit back, and I, you know, I spend a lot of my time in meditation. And sometimes I’m in a meditation, which just, you know, clearing myself out, and allowing, you know, there to be the space. And sometimes in that place, you know, you, you’re given certain insight, not insight that may be any different from intellectual ideas you could have thought of on your own. But it’s almost like they have a different texture, and a different color and a different feeling and emotion, it’s an energy that come with them. And very often, they come back to these big ideas of wholeness and completion and unity and fundamental understandings of reality, not as ideas but as pointers, and pointers and directors for you know, move, move in that direction move in the direction of of this knowing. Because things were unlocked for you and I, in my personal experience, I find that they do.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’s interesting what you said about the insights that come during meditation, all these things were quoting from the Torah and Nikita and things like that. I don’t think they were coined by people who just sort of, you know, sat around, you know, yeah, but they’re forgetting and just, you know, smoking a joint and coming up with some crazy ideas. There were people who had deep spiritual insight and, and that knowledge sort of, they cognize that knowledge and they can say, the cognize the sort of mechanics of creation, within their deep experience, and then gave voice to it. So it springs from a from a real deep level.
Moshe Gersht: Right and the word is only as powerful as the presence and the consciousness that spoke the word forward be which is why some No two people can say the same thing. And with one person it moves you and the other person, it just sounds like paper and, and you try to figure out, well wait a second, I just heard this from this person and didn’t move me. And I heard almost the exact same thing over there. And I’m sure it wasn’t the tone of voice. What was it and it was the tone of like, human. It’s a, it’s a attuning in that when one gets to, it comes through in such a way. And if you’ve ever had that experience yourself, you know it from within. And certainly when you when you are around a person who is you know, somewhat enlightened, or at least in, in an enlightened state, when they’re giving something over. And you can even sense the difference between a person who’s just giving over information, or giving over something emotionally, they’re excited. And then there’s something beyond that, right, which is more like pure, almost pure consciousness coming through like a deeper energy. And if you’re sensitive to it, you can feel it in another. And if you’re, if you yourself are going through that experience, you feel it’s different. And it carries, like you said, it’s like, they’re their channel for some spiritual knowledge when people were giving these things over. So, you know, 1000, people can say, you know, it’s all about love, right. And then one person can say, who’s in that love. And when they say, you’re moved, you may not even have to speak their language. By the way, I’ve met a lot of people who have gone around the world and spend time with spiritual teachers, they’ll speak in a completely foreign language they know nothing about. But the, the person they went to see, was in that place of, of real presence with something divine. And when you’re in the presence of that, that’s what transfers, I had a couple of teachers who for years, they they did not allow themselves to be recorded, right in the beginning when mp3 is were like, you know, they didn’t want to be recorded. And then at some point, after about seven, eight years, they switched over and said, Okay, people can record our talks. And separately, when asked, What was the switch? And why didn’t they allow the recordings before. They said, You know, if you putting something in a recording, it’s the main purpose of it is to convey the information. But the energy that’s transferred, is somewhat dimmed. And I want people coming here for the energy transference, I want them to come for that, for the Holy Spirit that you get when you’re in the room with, you know, however many other people out there, and there’s something powerful in that. I want people to come for the experience, not just for the ideas. And then after about 10 years, the they changed their minds. And they both had people recording this completely separate places, but had the same answers. When asked why did they change their minds? And now, they do allow people to record they said, they felt that anyway, not enough people were coming for the spiritual experience, at least people should have the information, at least at some point. Yeah, at least people should have the pointers. So
Rick Archer: well, a lot of people sat around Ramana Maharshi. And a lot of times, he didn’t say anything, and sometimes he spoke and some of the people around him didn’t speak Tamil, I think that was his language. But that was kind of irrelevant because the profundity of the atmosphere around him was what they came for. I read and I’ve spent a lot of time around Arma and she speaks Mali all and we don’t speak any Mali. But that never really mattered. I mean, it’s just the ambiance that that is created in the atmosphere in the vicinity of such a person that transforms you.
Moshe Gersht: You Yeah, it’s like a bonfire. Like as long as you’re close to you’re gonna get warm.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Yeah, she she uses that analogy. She says like, you can put a damp wall next to a hot burning log. And you know, eventually the damp light will dry out and start to start burning also.
Moshe Gersht: That’s beautiful. Yeah. Let’s get
Rick Archer: back to where we started a little bit more about you. So you know last time we were you were getting on the plane and laughing and crying and flying back I guess to Israel or something from from Los Angeles. And then you said in your notes that you spent like 14 years something and deep spiritual practice and in depth study of Torah. So what what was that 14 years all about? What What kind of deep spiritual practice? What were you learning in the Torah? Who are your teachers? That kind of thing?
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, so when I when I got here, I didn’t even really know what to expect. I did get on the phone with a rabbi of an institution for higher learning. Before I got here, it was Shiva. It’s called cognac of and I knew very little other than the one other person I knew, who knew about places in Israel said, you know, you should get in touch with this individual. Certainly Barrow Gershenfeld. He’s very special. He was like, he’s like the Harvard of yeshivos. I said, I don’t know, I could barely get into like a community college. I don’t know if I can make it at the Harvard of issue is
Rick Archer: Shiva is like a religious school right spirit? Yes, exactly.
Moshe Gersht: Okay. It’s a spiritual school, it’s for higher learning and education in some form of Torah. And,
Rick Archer: and for isn’t just the Old Testament, right? There’s all kinds of other books.
Moshe Gersht: Correct? Correct? Yes. turiya is a combination of 24 of the original written books. And then a subsequent, I could try to count, but we’re talking, I think it’s another. No, I’m not gonna give it a number. But it’s many, many 10s, if not hundreds of other smaller pieces that came later, which are part of the Oral Torah, the old tradition. And then 10, in tandem with that is also like the tradition of Kabbalah, which is the mystical side of Torah, which is almost entirely oral, all based in verses of one form or another, but the vastness of its tradition was only written down to the man, who probably writing it down almost 2000 years later from original transmission. So it was given teacher to student teacher to student teacher to student for many, many generations before they codified it, you know, in some way. So we’re dealing with with ungodly to say, the least amount of information, you know, so it
Rick Archer: was the Old Testament cobbled together from bits and pieces of all these other things. And a lot of things just didn’t make the cut, or
Moshe Gersht: no, it’s more like the, if we really want to go into it. The first five books were direct transmission, you know, God to Moses. And that’s what you have as what’s what’s called like the, I think that’s what they call the Pentateuch. No, that’s the whole 24. That’s the Five Books of Moses. It’s the first the first five, which is in Hebrew, it’s what you’d call the Chumash. And when most people refer to the Torah, if they’re referring to the the source text, that’s like the source text that was followed by 19 other books, which were written with what you would call like, some of them were prophetic. And some of them were more divinely inspired, like Psalms was written with what’s called a Kodesh, which is more of a divine inspiration. Right. And I don’t remember from the 19, which side breaks down to prophecy and which is divine inspiration, but they’re all considered of a certain caliber that stays above a certain line called the Written Torah, this was written and given over and then everything after that, is a, it’s a combination of oral tradition, which means it was given over at the same time, which was at Sinai, but not written down. And then there’s the other half of oral tradition, which is conversations and interpretations of. So those are two different parts of the Oral Torah. So if you above the line is written, and on the above line, there’s three levels, there’s divine inspiration, prophecy, and then the direct transmission guide to Moses, under the line is oral tradition from the time of Sinai, which wasn’t written down, and then oral tradition, which is conversations of Talmudic scholars on how to understand pieces in the Torah. And after that, I think, then it’s just that, then it’s just our understanding of those pieces.
Rick Archer: Okay. And that was, I know,
Moshe Gersht: that was a large breakdown. But I think if we’re, if we’re looking at it from that standpoint, that you have the full picture.
Rick Archer: Well, don’t make me take an exam on that, but I’m there. So you mentioned, you know, deep spiritual practice. So presumably, we’ll talk about that. I mean, did all these guys who wrote all these books have some kind of deep spiritual practice that gave them the insights to write the books? And are such have such practices been handed down? And is that what you learned? And how does the experiential component counterbalance the intellectual component?
Moshe Gersht: Sure, okay. So let’s, I’ll just tell you about my experience, because I think if you ask a lot of people, a lot of people have different experiences when it comes to any religion for that matter, not just Judaism. And for me, when I landed, ended up in a place that I immediately fell in love with the intellectual side of what Torah was, that was for me, was a lot of truth. I just let the truth resonates. You know, truth isn’t something you learned. I think it’s something you recognize. And there was a lot of soul awareness for me, as I was, you know, learning bits and pieces of it. And what it looked like day to day is, you know, you’d have a class, there’d be a group of us and they’d be teacher, sometimes from a tech sometimes not from a text giving over certain ideas, and we’re talking that was probably seven, eight hours a day, but every day there’s It was a full time job of learning. With in between, there’s prayer, you know, prayers and meditation depending on where I was in my, you know, kind of evolution. And in the beginning, it was very basic. I mean, we’re talking, you know, there are prayer books that you read from and you learn about what, what the idea is that the prayer books were written 2000 years from now, we go back about 2000 years ago. So these are like ancient prayers that you’re studying, and then you’re using. And then there’s a lot of just one to one like personal prayer between you and the divine and trying to connect to God in a way that is of your own relation. So that was my first couple years was kind of like entry level. And then as I then went, it’s funny the way my my journey went, was I went as far in as I could, I moved into a city called me a shotgun, which means 100 gates, which in Jerusalem is like one of the most ultra ultra orthodox communities like in the world, not just in Israel, like on planet Earth, like it’s up there. Like it’s probably top two or three, I don’t know. And I lived there for a couple of years, which was a fascinating experience.
Rick Archer: And did you have the long dangly sideburns and all that
Moshe Gersht: I didn’t, but everyone around me did meaning like I was, yeah, it was, you know, long coats and fur hats and long, long pays.
Rick Archer: It must have stuck out with like a sore thumb, if you didn’t have those things,
Moshe Gersht: didn’t have those things there. A lot of us did out. So there were a lot of lot of young people over there trying to learn and to grow and develop. But it was the community itself was very much like that a lot of wonderful people, you know, it was a community like any community, some people get along with some people you don’t, it was, it was nice in the next, I would say four or five years was almost truly intellectual. I was trying, I was trying to learn as much of the ideas again, if we go back to where I mentioned, where it was kind of like in high school, the first 20 years of my life, I didn’t read anything, I’m almost embarrassed to say it the first time we finished a book cover to cover I think I was 20. And in Israel. Like that was the first time I was ever really immersed in anything. And then I started devouring books, like, all day, every day, that became my life, I had a thirst for knowledge, I wanted to know what what these things were, I wanted to understand not just the ideas, but the underpinnings behind which they were coming from. And I had a couple really profound teachers in the process, who were experts, not just in, you know, Jewish culture, or Jewish law, but in more of the spiritual side, the self self developmental side of and purpose, my purpose for life. And what we’re doing here focused much more on awakening as a human being. And so even though my days were spent reading about things that you couldn’t possibly imagine why these things are important day, it’s all over, like, the Tom Woods discusses everything under the sun from, you know, what happens when your ox, you know, hits another ox into a pit, and now you have to pay for this guy’s you know, you have to pay reparations on that. And we’re talking about, like, you know, you know, the judicial system, and also all sorts of cosmic Torah law. But then behind all of that, there’s an entire world, which is what got me like, that’s, I fell in love with a system that covered not just everything on the, what we would call like more of the scientific cultural side of things, but all of the spiritual in our psyche, psychology, the world of consciousness, that morality, like it’s an unbelievable depth that was there. And it took about six years before I had some some kind of, you know, inner break, I broke at some point because I think I went so far into the intellect. And I stepped away from my nature, which was, I think, more energetic, emotional. That’s why, as a musician and an artist, I think that’s where I naturally find myself. And I don’t think that I feel blessed with a, with a good intellect, but I don’t think I’m naturally inclined to be thinking all the time, all day long. I got to a point where I felt I might have gotten lost in, in the laws instead of found in God. And I took another turn, like in intra study, to, to a different form of understanding. That’s when I started going. I didn’t leave my my other study habits altogether, but I did. Start looking into the meditative side. Torah and spirituality were, you know, what is the depth of prayer? And how do we understand how everything works in a cosmic way and that that led me down a path of you know, tea Meditation cabbalistic concept. So you asked what that looks like, practically. So what that looked like was, you know, getting up in the morning, and, you know, spending a good 3040 minutes a day, you know, in some version of the silent meditation or meditation with, you know, certain cabbalistic names and letters and things that make up, you know,
Rick Archer: like, mantras, kind of mantras, Ka’bah, exact mantras. Yeah,
Moshe Gersht: exactly, you know, some versions of chanting, I looked into, and then and then practice, you know, whenever I could, either in the morning or the morning and the afternoon. And then if I was having a great, great day, it’s the morning, afternoon and the evening, surrounding all my regular, you know, times to pray and learn with, you know, kind of extra extra meditative practices, in that sense, which also, you know, I found groups of people who I feel so privileged to be connected to, like, there are a lot of people who, they don’t want to stay on the surface, they want to go deeper, and they want to go underneath and just a great community of other individuals who are on kind of that same path. And, you know, we share meditations and we shared ideas. And that that’s when the learning itself became a meditative practice. I think for me, that’s when things really started to open up, which was, it wasn’t I meditated. And then I learned meditation, and you learned that you learned to bridge the gap. And then we, when you go down, and you look at something in the Torah, that itself starts to become a continuation of that meditation. And a lot of beautiful things started flowing through. It was only about 10 years in that I think I started looking at other forms of spirituality, just to see what kind of language they use, I think that was my entry point to looking at other forms of psychology and psycho spirituality and what we would call New Age. I don’t pretend for a moment to think I have any sort of real grasp or understanding of Buddhism or Hinduism, I’ve never studied it in a deep wave Christianity and or Islam, for that matter. Everything that I’ve seen, has been digested, and somewhat diluted through some other teacher who’s gone and done the work for me, you know, maybe in a similar way that I’ve done it in Torah, you know, and kind of bring that to the surface. So many other people have gone through their, you know, direct practices, and then, you know, written it into some sort of book form. So people like me can go and start to see what’s going on there. And what I was hit by and I was so striking, was not only was I was learning all this amazing language to express these ancient ideas that I was seeing in Kabbalah, and for Siddhis and tamas. But how there was so much overlap, you know, that we are we are so connected as a people, and when you when you boil things down to their most basic, simple, where and where I find to be most profound ideas, we are we are living in a unfolding sameness, right. So in practice, you know, we all are doing different things, living different lives. And, you know, whether it’s religion or no religion, whether you’re an atheist or whether you’re a devout Catholic or your religious doing me a charmer, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’re part of this amazing thing called life in your person that’s moving through it. And the underpinnings of every everything that we’re all working on from every path is, you know, coming from a very, very similar source out, I hesitate to say the same. But I think when you point back, it’s just a lot of different language that covers up a human experience. Yeah, that in that shifted a lot for me, when I started to see that, you know, more of in a global way.
Rick Archer: Yeah, when I listen to your book, it’s all the same to me. Every single theme was just a nice expression of the kind of wisdom that I’ve been pondering, and that I’ve been discussing with people from every tradition under the sun. And, you know, just expressed in a nice way. So, I don’t know, if you haven’t delved into, you know, kind of contemporary spirituality from other traditions. I don’t know whether you would have written the same book, or maybe you would have because maybe all these themes are there in Torah, just as much as in Eckhart Tolle, or, you know, Byron, Katie, or any of these other people,
Moshe Gersht: ya know, and I think they are, I mean, that that’s what was like, you know, when your eyes get opened, it’s it’s another, you know, I felt, you know, that was that whole second part after my six years in Israel was where I would call it like my second awakening, like I really started to awaken to a whole, a whole new lens on life. It was almost like first awakening got me in the door so that I started learning the depth of what my heritage had, and then a second awakening for its own kind of purposes and reasons led me to say, well, and where does that fit within more of a global and cosmic way. And you see that it’s like, you know, there’s a line in the in the Baal Shem Tov, who’s the founder of the Hasidic movement. And, you know, he says every person has to know the Hebrews and Leola Artha, tele Alpha Rakshasas Shraddha, which means every person has to know, you only have one moment in the world. And that’s the moment of the noun. And you know, you hear that you say, Oh, well, you know, who copied who? And the answer is NO ONE copied anybody, right? It’s, we’re all working with the same foundations all trying to come to the same place. And language is so important language as much as it’s a prison, because it traps us into certain concepts. With the right language, you can, you’ve changed the world. Right? You really can.
Rick Archer: I have several questions to throw out. Yeah. That are kind of practical. And then another question came in from a viewer, but I’m wondering how you juggled sort of practicality with all this study? For instance, you were in the school for a long time, did you have to pay for it? How did how did you pay for it? And did you begin? Did you get married and begin raising a family? I hear a little baby in the background there. Did that have to wait until you finished all this study? Or were you juggling that at the same time as going through all this intense study? First, I
Moshe Gersht: appreciate so much for your question. Because it’s so grounded. It’s such a good question. I think from all the podcasts that I’ve been on over these last couple years, this is only the second time somebody asked that. And it’s a good question. And let’s start with the second one. First, the answer is unequivocally, yes, I’ve been juggling for a long time. And to learn how to juggle at a very young age, when you’re in a band, you have to learn how to juggle. And when you’re in college, which I never went to. So into some study somewhere else, you learned how to juggle, you have to learn how to juggle a lot. And I married my wife, in like my fifth year of my study. So the first five years, it was very bare bones, it didn’t need very much, I was on a some version of a scholarship from the institutions that I was at, which was I was incredibly grateful for. So I still I’m sending back in their direction today. Because I’ll be eternally grateful for what they’ve done for me. And then when I did get married, so my wife was working. And she in the beginning, before you have kids, like you can make it work on one salary. And we had a lot of support, you know, both mentally, emotionally and financially from family members who really were believing in in me and my wife and our vision, and saw that, you know, we wanted to do this, for the long haul. It wasn’t like, it wasn’t a hobby, but it was a life. But then, the more children you have, the more you know, you start to wake up and realize that things, the electric bill does not get paid with a Mantra. We have four kids. So Mike, we haven’t we have a newborn, right now who keeps us busy. And but I love them, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And they’re, I would say, they were very much a part of, you know, my continue to awaken and go deeper into myself, you know, they having kids, and then that with financial trappings actually challenged me in a way that I had never had that experience before. Right. And I found that to be a good thing. Eventually, I would say it was probably in my seventh or eighth year. That’s when I started teaching. And I started, you know, I had to pull my weight to some degree, which if my wife even heard me say that she would laugh and say, did not start to pull my weight until, and then should probably go with the dot, dot dot, you know, like, until, until around now my wife, my wife has been nothing but amazing, you know, and it has worked extremely diligently, you know, for the last, you know, decade or so. That’s that’s how we did it until most recently until the last couple years, when you know, we put out this book, and we’ve been doing a lot more teaching and seminars and workshops, etc. So that was that was the shift. And it was almost like, you know, the whole time. We kind of knew this was where we were heading. It was just a matter of when when I started sharing, it wasn’t about it wasn’t the motion gross show of like, I just want to sit and study and that’s all I want to do with my life. It was more like, I want to understand the world and the depth of life to the degree that I can and then I want to shine that light into the world to the degree that I can. And it’s funny, it’s not so different from being the musician being on stage and being a rock star in that sense. You know, I never thought of myself as a rock star then. I don’t think of myself as a rock star now. But I mean the The ability to get onstage and then to share an idea is not all that different than sharing a song. Especially when it’s something that’s come through you and you’ve digested it, you’ve crafted it in a certain way so that it can be palatable to people. You know, I really, really care. I enjoyed this conversation with you immensely. And I hope in this conversation, there are people who are like, yeah, that was a cool conversation, man, and maybe something moves even just to drop. The only differences there’s no mosh pits, you know, to our conversation.
Rick Archer: What’s that? Oh, mosh pits, mosh pits. I thought that was a Yiddish word. Where the rock star jumps into the audience. What’s interesting, before we started, you, and I were talking about the fact that I had also been in a band and that I had given that up to become a meditation teacher. And it’s interesting. I didn’t regret it in the slightest. And I found that when I started teaching, it was another form of creative expression, but on a much subtler level, and therefore much more gratifying. To me, which is nothing, which is not to demean all the great musicians in this world and what they do, but for me, my role, I felt like this was a good shift.
Moshe Gersht: It’s like you felt like you were home a little bit more? Yeah. Like you’re grounded. And this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
Rick Archer: And it kind of refined me rather than course, and to me. Now, I would, after a night of playing, there was something really cool and integrating and all about playing. But I would feel kind of jangled afterwards. Whereas with teaching, I felt like I had kind of shifted to a deeper level of experience in the process.
Moshe Gersht: That’s beautiful. I feel the same way. And I remember the first time I got up and spoke, you know, after leaving, it was like two years into my journey. And I was asked to speak at a at a small gathering of those probably 3040 people, and specifically to share some spiritual ideas. And it’s almost like the same way that I knew it was a good concert in the band, when it was just a flow, and you weren’t trying to remember or think or do you were just complete, you are living in concert with something bigger, right, you are in alignment with your higher self and flow, and it came through. And I hadn’t experienced that yet, in terms of teaching. And when I shared, I felt that it wasn’t me sharing, you can kind of feel that that deeper part or that higher part of whoever you are, to kind of come through and choose the words and the timing and the placement of how everything comes through and almost like a calm exhilaration. And I felt the energy in the room. And I felt the people there. And I remember in that moment, going to one of my mentors and saying, I think I know what I’m doing next. You know, it took it took a number of years before that manifested but you know, that was like a clarity point of, oh, this is this, this is I almost felt like all of the time in the band was like a preparation for this next stage of like, good. You’ve learned how to be in front of a camera, you’ve learned how to be on a stage, you’re not stage fright. You’re you know, you’ve learned what it means to practice an idea for a long time, you don’t have to craft everything that we that we did there. It’s like the ability to transfer that into a spiritual dialogue and a conversation you get to have with with students or with an audience. Yeah. But like you said, it was more calm and more subtle and feel it but like the feeling is the flow is very similar. Yeah, that was like my, oh, I know, moment. Did you
Rick Archer: ever experience or do you experience even now that when you get up on a stage to teach, there’s a period of time, while you’re you’re actually starting to teach where your physiology is just kind of adjusting to the higher vibration of what you’re doing, and you can kind of feel it getting, shifting into that higher gear, and then at a certain point, it’s totally smooth, and the teaching is just flowing through without any, you know, need to adjust any more. It’s like your physiology is on that in that gear
Moshe Gersht: fully. Absolutely. And you know, it’s unbelievable that like, I wrote a whole piece on that today. Just today, just today. I’ve never written on that before in my life. And that you would say that that to me is like, man, that’s so beautiful. I love that. No, I love that. And I was I was writing about having having the physiology and the body catch up to the ideas that you’re that you’re living in align with. And especially when you’re you want it to show up and you want it to teach it’s not always there in the beginning.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I say it because that was my experience, too. It’s like at first it’s almost like you had to keep teaching because you’re up there on the stage but you’re kind of inside your body is going oh It’s kind of like, gotta get up to this level of vibration or something. And then at a certain point, there must be some kind of analogy of a rocket ship taking off and then eventually escaping gravity and just going into a smooth orbit without all the, you know, the, the whatever. You know,
Moshe Gersht: it’s funny, but the Tom Woods says that when a person gets up to speak, they should always start with a joke. Good one. Yeah. Yeah. And I think part of the reason for that, is it when you’re laughing, and when you’re laughing with people, I think it’s like a hypersonic rocket. In your metaphor,
Rick Archer: let’s share jokes. I’ll tell you a joke that at one time, I was giving a talk to a fairly large audience, maybe four or 500 people. And I was talking about Transcendental Meditation. And I was teaching that and my mother was there in the front row. And some guy gets up and he says, What does this do for your sex life? And I said, Well, looking at my dear mother’s face in the front row, I can only say that I’m totally unqualified to answer that question. So what’s yours?
Moshe Gersht: What’s a good man? You know, I’m, that’s my spiritual work. I work being funny, I would love that. I appreciate humor so much. That’s all I got
Rick Archer: about Robin Williams. He’s with regard to like, he said, God gave man both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately, not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.
Moshe Gersht: And Robin Williams, he was, he was special. He
Rick Archer: was great. I laughed just thinking of a second time in this interview that I brought him up. Okay. Shifting gears. So you were talking about this phase you went, you hit a wall in terms of all this intellectual thing? And what do you do if somebody pushes your ox into a ditch? And at a certain point, you you needed to shift into the more mystical nature of things? Did you have some living embodiment of that that you could learn from? Were there? How in the, in your journey? Have you had some teachers who were real mystics and for instance, I read a book about the Baal Shem Tov back in the 70s. And he was every bit as awesome as the kinds of stories that Yogananda tells in the Autobiography of a Yogi, really, cosmic guy. Have you encountered such other such people in your circles, was inspired by
Moshe Gersht: I wish there was about Shemtov, anywhere around here. Like on that level, that’s a it’s a very special level. But yes, there are some really special people that I’ve met along the way. And more or less, not all, but more or less, in the, in the Hasidic movement, they’re all you know, in one form or another, other than my, my direct, you know, my, what we call my ready was like, my closest Metro survey Bureau Christian fell to, although he himself is not a mystic he is, he has a profound understanding of everything on that side of the turiya table. So I kind of felt like I had, I got my sea legs from there, that’s where I felt like I learned how to walk in the, in the words, I could at least get the words but until I found people who were actually living it, I did go to different places, there was one particular I remember sitting down with him. And he’s, he’s asked me not to say his name in public. So I’m not going to when I tell the story, but a particular mentor of mine who is well known in this community, like very well known individual, may told him about my process. And I said, you know, I kind of feel like, when I was in the band, that I was much more spiritual, and I felt more connected. And my intuition was working on on a better scale, you know, then the now and I explained to him everything I just told you. And he said, You got a gift in that you had a minor the bottom, he said, I said, Okay, please explain. And he said you your gift was that you got to develop the intellectual side of your mind, which isn’t natural for you. And that’s a big gift, because not everybody gets that some people do just go and, you know, I probably would have been some sort of space cadet, you know, flying up in the mountains somewhere. And he said, But you developed a certain part of your mind that allows you to be more grounded and intellectually sound when you read and learn and talk and speaking. But it’s a bit now you have to go back towards yourself, and you have to move in the direction of your soul. And for that, he said, I would suggests moving in the direction of the Hasidic movement. So and he suggested, specifically, the teachings of Rati Nachman of Breslov which if I don’t know if you’re familiar with Rubinoff, Monoposto
Rick Archer: heard the name, but I couldn’t tell you anything about him. Yeah, he,
Moshe Gersht: he’s, he’s against. I think it’s two generations after the Baal Shem Tov, but his, his work is so deep. I mean, you read, you read his work, and you kind of go to another dimension, even just reading it, there’s, there’s a lot of energy in his words. So that was one thing, he told me to move in that direction. And then he said, and go find the living embodiment. That’s basically what he said, Go find rabbits who, who live this way, and other and find a community of people who are doing this. So for me, I think one of the first people who started introducing me around was somebody named after Neil cats, who, if you don’t know who he is, you should look into him. He’s been unbelievable. Human beings are so special. I have a lot of gratitude for him. And we’ve become great friends since we first met. And he’s also a teacher. And he opened a lot of doors for me. He also pointed me in the directions of, of people who had this to somebody named of inch admire Morgenstern who lives here in Jerusalem, and is one of these individuals, again, when you started with the Baal Shem Tov, so it’s hard to compare anybody to someone of that caliber, but there are there are people who are here. The option of already who, you know, he is, he also lives in Jerusalem. And as the embodiment of a person who, you know, when he, when he makes a one sentence blessing, it takes him a few hours, you know, and he’s in a deep meditative state. And if you’re like, if you’re anywhere in his proximity, like, you’re lifted up, there have been times where when I went to spend time with these people, one particular name is Rahul Yash ships, and he, I would go in, if I were to go sit, and just, if I was in within eight feet of him, I would totally feel my consciousness, like, just blast up. So I went and found these people, I wish I could say, I found the one that I felt like this is, you know, the end dial and be off. For me, I didn’t find that, I found a lot of great people found a lot of inspiring people. They continue to be kind of like lights on the path. And if it is, for me that, you know, there’s going to be that one out of the sky special. Okay, I want to go spend six months just sitting in front of you type of person, I’ll do it. But they haven’t shown up for me my like that. So I just continued to grow and learn myself.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I don’t think that it’s necessary that they do. I mean, if if if it is, then they will. But, you know, some people kind of glom on to a particular teacher, and that’s it for them and others. There’s a lady named Amira by star who gave a nice talk once called bees in the garden where she was talking about how bees go from flower to flower, they get the nectar from many flowers, and that that works for them. One thing I’m wondering is, you know, looking throughout history, there have been some people who have just somehow been born as saints, you know, like Ramana, Maharshi, he just woke up or, um, or other people, they didn’t do a whole lot of spiritual practice or anything. And then there are others. Like, there’s there was a guy named Valmiki, who wrote the Ramayana. And he was a highway robber, and probably killed people and stuff. And he encountered the sages who were walking down the road and, and they went through a whole dialogue, which made him realize the error of his ways. And then he sat in meditation for six or seven years. And suppose that they went so deep in meditation that an anthill, built up around him, which is called Valmiki means the ant, ant born sage or some such thing, but anyway, it’s probably mythological, but it’s an example that okay, this guy had to do a bunch of spiritual practice in order to attain a St. Louis state. So, in your circles of experience and learning, are there practices which you feel can really transform a person from you know, not such a nice person maybe or just an ordinary Joe Schmoe into into some can raise one spiritual status to Enlightenment or to saintliness are the saintly types that, you know, do they just seem to have been gifted with that, you know, from birth, and they just naturally blossomed into it without a whole lot of doing?
Moshe Gersht: So, I mean, the question is beautiful and profound. My experience is that, well, that’d be fine in my experience, so let me just start with from from that, which I’ve learned, there are soul types, you know, that come from different elements of, of the within, right, you know, when you go into kind of the spiritual dimension, and so therefore, some, it makes sense that they would have an ease Your time accessing those places than others. Right. And then there’s also the, the factors of life, right, where a person is born, and who they’re born to, and the type of experiences they’ve had. Now, putting the information aside, if you just look out into the world, I think the people that I’ve seen radical transformation from are the ones who are ready to take most simple teaching and make it their life practice. And it’s, it’s so simple, it’s almost like that. That’s it, that’s your, like, your big mystical teaching. But But I think what, what separates the the adults from the children in the room are how much a person really steps into gratitude. That’s what I have, I see, the people who have the right, like, you would say the saintliness they’re not, it’s not about how smart they are. I mean, they might be brilliant, but that’s not what makes them unique. It’s not about even how much they do, or even how much time they practice. It’s that the ones who lean in, let me lean all the way in to a, some version of a practice of appreciation. And if you couple that with meditation, just those two things, those two things, the person who becomes aware of their, of their programming up here, and then leans in with a perspective of, of gratitude. I see people, and over these last 15 years, I’ve seen a number of people who want to go from, you know, the difference between zero to one, zero to 10, or how much they they lean into those two practices. All the other things are wonderful, and they’re great, and they feel good. And there’s, there’s, there’s so much beauty and energy and all those things. But it’s almost like you can have a lot of moments where you’re inspired, and then you fall out and then you’re inspired, and then you fall out. And that happens to a lot of people and totally normal. And that’s part of the spiritual path. The people who don’t fall out are the people who are who are living in gratitude, gratitude becomes a moment to moment practice, they’re looking, they’re looking for things to be happy about. Looking for, for things, to recognize good. Looking for the goodness in people, the goodness in situations, the goodness in moments, and then being able to at least not go down the momentum of a negative mind pattern, you know, spiral, when, when they go in the other way, with some version of meditation. Everything else is extra.
Rick Archer: Do you feel that their ability to do that is something that anybody could culture the ability to do? Yes. So God given you know, exceptional quality or something.
Moshe Gersht: I think the God given exceptional qualities exist for the people who are let’s say, you know, there’s a story about one of the Hasidic Rabbi’s, his name was the SAS Ms. And somebody wants came to him, and said, you know, Pastor master, teach me, you know, how do you get to the top of this mountain? Right, you’re like, that’s beautiful. And he said, Don’t ask me. You said, why not? He said, Because it’s foolish to ask a person who was born at the top of the mountain. He said, You know, some people are born there. And they’re born with all of those qualities, you know, if some people have a more innate ability to look at the good, what, how that comes into being and why psychologically, they’re able to be more spiritually aligned in that way, we can probably have a wonderful conversation about and so I do think people have a natural proclivity to that and those who have that are more easily accessing, you know, a spiritual dimension. But I’ve seen it, I’ve seen people who were, who spent time in prison. And this becomes their practice. And now they are saintly, no one’s perfect. We’re not looking at perfection. But if there is anybody that’s perfect, like, you know, the, the, the avatars, the the individual, you know, you know, generational teachers, sometimes the millennial teachers, radio, you know, the one and 1000 years, the one and 500 years are special. And yeah, and I think they were I think they were born with that. And maybe they didn’t have to unlock it. And that’s, that’s, that’s the praise that you would you would give to someone is that just because you have the ability doesn’t mean it has to unfold.
Rick Archer: Those are good points. Yeah, some people are naturally born. Everybody’s born at different levels of evolution, because we all die at different levels of evolution. And then we pick it up where we left off, but there have been some teachers who were quite eloquent. But they were sitting on top of the mountain and they were really good at describing their the view they had from the top of the mountain. But it didn’t connect really well with their students like Jai Krishna Murthy is an example. And, you know, people spent decades with him feeling frustrated, because and he was frustrated because they weren’t getting it, you know, and because they didn’t have a methodology that he could provide them to get it. So and I’m sure some people around him got very inspired, and perhaps some who were pretty well up the mountain themselves anyway, you know, could relate, you know, tune into what he was saying, and perhaps get a boost. But it’s really, I think, what makes a Teacher Great. There’s a, there’s a metaphor for this in the Indian tradition that when the mangoes are ripe, the branches bend down so that people can pick them easily, you know? So what makes a Teacher Great is the ability to connect with people at whatever level they happen to be at. And then provide a teaching that’s relevant and doable for them at that level.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, in Habad, for Siddhis general, if you’re familiar with Kabbalah, they’re probably the most widespread Hasidic movement in the world. I think they’re in just about every city on planet Earth everywhere.
Rick Archer: So I don’t think we have any in Fairfield, Iowa.
Moshe Gersht: Okay, you can, you can, you can find them, they’re not far from wherever you are, they’re not too far away. And they have they have a teaching, similar to that, which is the, the, the greatness of the teacher is not how well he knows what he knows, but to how young he can teach the student. So the younger the student, if you can give over the same information to a younger student, that’s great, you know, the teacher is, right. So the idea, we can sit and talk quantum physics, but if you can’t explain the same idea to a three year old, so we’re there’s still a, it’s not a lack. But there’s something great that you get when you find someone who can speak to all the levels, right, yeah. And all the way down. And, you know, even when you were saying that piece about Krishna Murthy could be honest, and I was thinking about it before even as the words were coming out of my mouth, we were talking about teachers. But I don’t know if everybody’s meant to be a teacher in the same way that you and I, you know, are describing teaching. I think some people can. And many people for that matter can be saintly in their own way and never never share a word. And yet they are they’re a wonderful and beautiful teachers. I met a Satoshi sound I can’t remember. I was in Atlanta recently, and just met this most wonderful woman who she was not a teacher, but she was a devout spiritual individual. I forget what sector of spirituality she was a part of. And she taught, just by the way she spoke, and by the way, she walked, right. And her being was was emanating, like emanating light, just her existence. Right? And, you know, I think she was just feeding her cats. Yeah. And you can you and you felt that, you know, you were in the presence of someone special. And you know, and there’s obviously been a ton of research in science, it’s been devoted to the power of, you know, meditation and group meditation and what that does not just for the individual, but for the collective that surrounds that place. So, you know, could be someone like Krishna Murthy, and others, you know, even if they can’t get it down, you know, maybe they don’t have the blessing of right mangoes. But they, but they do have the ability to have their light shine because they they stay in that space. And so even if you’re not in the, you know, proverbial teaching space, you’re still inspiring in some way, you know, reality.
Rick Archer: Yeah. That’s a good point. There were also are, are also perhaps people that marshy Mahesh Yogi used to refer to as babbling saints. They really are saintly and high state, but they just don’t have together on on any kind of intellectual level. So they they speak a lot of nonsense, but they’re actually in a good state. Yeah.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah. It’s funny. I went there was somebody here in Jerusalem, who is well known for being off the charts special internally, and I went to go see him. And it sounded like babble. And he was speaking into a napkin. He was speaking into a napkin. And he was saying, all these strange things, which were hard to really wrap around. And after about an hour of that, he looked up and he said something like, do you think it was even speaking to you? I was speaking to the angels, you know, you know, and like, you guys were just listening to the conversation. Interesting. It’s like it was that was that was like a wild experience. So you know, everyone’s everyone in their place.
Rick Archer: Okay, here’s a question from Steve Classen in Minnesota. And there’s some words in this I don’t understand, but you can interpret them for us. So do you think the Torah and scriptures are metaphors for meta Question. That is Moses lived 40 years in the household of esoteric Drew’s priest, his father in law, Jethro, Does that all make sense to you? Yeah, it okay good actually interpret that for us? And, sure.
Moshe Gersht: I mean, I think, if I’m understanding, Stephen, and I guess you can correct me if I’m, if I’m misunderstanding you is that the question is the way that Scripture is written? Could it not be possible that they were written as opportunities to learn different meditations like going and spending time in the desert, and it wasn’t just, you know, 40 years, but it was 40 days, I’m just trying to, I don’t have an exact picture as to what he’s looking for in his metaphor. But the first half of the question was, is the Torah, in Scripture, meditation opportunities? And the answer is certainly yes. Anyone in the Kabbalistic tradition will tell you the same thing that you can take any single verse, and use that as a meditation. And it will take you to a certain energy that that verse carries. And in addition to that, there are many aspects of Scripture, where, you know, the story itself is coming to teach you a meditative process, right. So when we talk about the sea splitting, you know, and crossing the sea, right, and which is a, it’s actually a story that comes up, you know, several times in twice in Scripture, and again, in Tom would have the idea of crossing the sea and water into our literature often will reflect the idea of the physical nature, which by definition, lacks independent structure, meaning water can always take the form of whatever it is you put it in. So it’s not that it’s it has a standalone being, but rather, it’s being that will mold to the situation. And the idea that you could split the water and walk through it is the opportunity to meditate on the idea that anything you are is like water, but you can split that apart to actually see something deeper, which is inside of you, and you meditate on the water that’s within you, and on that splitting apart and letting something deeper come through. So the story of is not just talking about a historical event, but it’s actually pointing you in the direction of a deeper idea and a meditative process. Okay, good.
Rick Archer: As you know, some people are very upset with Israelis because of the treatment of the Palestinians. And a question came in, which is a bit challenging, but I think you can handle it. This is from Lisa Teasley in Los Angeles. One of your old fans was getting, how have you discussed with your children, the recent murder of the Al Jazeera journalist Shareen, Abu Arklay, the brutality suffered by her pallbearers, the world witnessed as well as the atrocities perpetrated in general against Palestinians in Israel. How do you view all this from a spiritual if not political perspective?
Moshe Gersht: Okay, so three questions in there. There’s the last one, which is both spiritual and political. And then there’s the first question, which is how do I explain these things to my kids, right? So piece by piece. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people do cruel things to people, and still where we’re at. And that breaks all the borders. And it’s, it’s an unfortunate reality. You know, we teach our kids to love, we teach our kids that murder is wrong. And that when you see another human being, you have to see another human being that an idea. ideologies. Ideologies can lift people up, and it can destroy reality. And once when you see another person for a symbol that society teaches you, you miss it, you miss what life is about. So that’s the main message we teach our children is that, you know, there’s no better or worse type of person, and there’s no one who deserves to be had violence done to them, you know, assuming that, you know, they’re not literally, you know, chasing after you. Right. So that’s just an unfortunate reality. You know, I know you’re asking me about the journalists, you know, in the same two week span, there were I think, 12 Israelis that were murdered by people from from the PA. I mean, it’s like it was it was a hard few weeks for a lot of people. No one wins. When that’s what the Win Win that’s at stake. Nobody wins. We’re all we’re all losers. We all have to do better, the same way that we have to sit here and pray for the end of world hunger. And we have to pray for you know, more love to enter the homes in the hearts of people who didn’t receive it. We have to pray for the same thing on on an individual basis. So that’s the message I send my kids it’s hard. You know, when I think about the people have to go through pain because somebody He had a bad idea. Right? And now we have to live with that. I think that touches on when we think about now, how does that reflect in a spiritual way? I think we all want the exact same thing. I think we all want peace. I think anybody who doesn’t want peace is living in a delusion. No one, no one should want to continue a world of separateness, that that is the illusion, I think, if there’s one illusion that keeps us in this cycle of madness, is that we still see each other as all separate. And, you know, it’s some sort of separate theology, where there’s an us and a god as separate and like, we’re not automatically connected, which turns into, you know, a separate cosmology. And then, you know, ultimately a separate pathology, it’s, it’s a problem. So on an on a spiritual perspective, our job is to go inward, always. And when you go inward, you stop seeing separateness, we start seeing connectedness. I wish I was smart enough to truly have a political opinion. I don’t, I don’t really think in those terms, I don’t think it’s my place. If for some reason in my life, it showed up to be my place, I would make it my place. And I would rise to that occasion, I don’t know what this what me and politics have to do with one another. Most of the politics today unfortunately, have to do with people who are lying about something, which is unfortunate, unfortunate truth. And I just have to accept that. But I give everybody the benefit of the doubt, I look forward to a time where we can all sit at the table together, you know, where I go to get coffee every morning. You know, it’s it’s me. And, you know, it’s probably a handful of Israelis and a handful of Arabs. And we’re all sitting there laughing together. And we all share the same supermarkets. And we all share the same, you know, coffee shops, and most people here are living in peace. That’s the truth. A lot of people who don’t know, I know, this is a tangent, you know, the Israeli Palestinian conflict does come up every now and then I invite everyone to come here and experience it. If you’ve ever spent any time in Israel, you don’t feel it the way that it’s portrayed in the news. You know, there’s a lot of a lot of really great relationships that do take place here. There’s great friendships that are here. And by and large, we all live together. There’s a lot of work ahead. And we’re taught, you want to talk about generational trauma, man, this goes back to Abraham, man, like we’re where this is, this is deep, it’s embedded. We’ve got work to do. But I’m hopeful, I’m hopeful with this just as much as I’m hopeful with climate change, just as much as I’m hopeful with world hunger and everything else we’re looking for. You know, I believe things are unfolding in a good way. And they can be better. So we stay present and look forward to a better potential future.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I want to do more shows BatGap shows on generational trauma. The I’ve interviewed Thomas Shubho, a couple of times, you know him? Yeah, sure. Yeah, he’s German, married to an Israeli woman. And he’s really into somehow dissolving the, the generational trauma between Jews and Germans. And there’s so many examples of this around the world. And it is like a thing. I mean, it’s a real thing that has built up in the collective psyche of different groups. And it’s like, it’s like static electricity built up between, you know, two different clouds, or the cloud and, and the ground. And it’s, you know, it theoretically can be neutralized without having to strike out as lightning. But without a lot of neutralizing taking place, we keep getting these lightning strikes, you know, that are that are damaging. But I think that with the development of consciousness, spiritual development there, the neutralization can take place more and more. And so this, and collective trauma can eventually be healed, and so we won’t have to act it out on in violence and other terrible things like that.
Moshe Gersht: Yeah, I would like to see if I, if I have a dream for the future of Israel. And I do, I would like to see Israel as being a spiritual beacon, where people can come to and connect to that inner side, which focuses more on the divine connection and less on religious, you know, the, the, what, as soon as you get into religion, in Israel, so then that’s where a lot of these things start coming up. And that’s like, we’re totally missing the forest for the trees as a people, right? It’s it, we have to find a way. If we’re going to live together in this world, we have to find a way to get beyond that and realize that there’s great opportunity. We’re living in the greatest time in history moving in a great direction. And and there is something there are places in this country there’s a reason there’s a reason why, you know, everybody feels connected to something here. There’s some things, there’s something special about a place, you know, you go to certain views in the world and you see the Swiss Alps and you go, wow, you know, and you see the Great Wall of China. And it’s like, it’s breathtaking. And there’s certain places in Israel you go to and you feel something special, there’s something beautiful and awakening that happens here. And I hope and I wish that we can come to a place where people come here and that’s what they’re looking for. And, and we’d love to go beyond those borders. Like let’s come for those awakening experiences. And find that piece together. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Again, I think it’s there’s many things we can say about it, but one of them is just expanding when this vision you know, to to the vastness and realizing how silly in a way these small small boundaries are and clashes between different little boundary niches, you know, Carl Sagan is pale blue dot I mean, it just absurd. It’s absurd. When you look at it from the bigger picture.
Moshe Gersht: We’ll get there. Yeah, we’ll get
Rick Archer: there slowly but surely. Let’s see here. Now, a question came in. This is a good one from sound Daria Lakshmi am from India. What do you suggest for a person who has no purpose in life not interested in anything? Don’t know why the hell I’m alive. No desires, no passion for anything. Not because they have faced failures in life but have fulfilled all the desires and now are on a spiritual path. Tired of trying out everything? How do you live?
Moshe Gersht: Well, I wish I knew how to pronounce your name, but Hello.
Rick Archer: Soundarya Soundarya Soundarya Lakshmi
Moshe Gersht: Santeria. Lakshmi. Well, nice to meet you. And thank you for your question. Before I get my own personal response, if you haven’t read Ecclesiastes, which was one of the 24 books of the Pentateuch, ah, Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, I would start there. Because that is how that that is the nature of the book. Yeah, the whole, the whole book is a treatise on what do I do? When I feel like, you know, I’ve had everything I want to have, and I feel the world is, you know, empty, and in Vanity, and there’s some deep insight that you may find in that place for someone who’s sitting in that place, which is, I think, more unique than it is widespread, that that particular human experience. And what I would say is, I don’t know if you spent any time in meditation, but if there were a focus, I would, I would actually go into this place of asking, what is it that I want? And if I, if there is no answer that comes, I would move forward in that and say, Well, I want to want an M open, I want to want an M open and make that be something you return to throughout your days. And stay open. I don’t know if it is the natural human condition to have no desires, and no preferences, though you don’t need to be identified with them. I’m not saying to need anything. I mean, just from a place of want the way that the question was written, it sounded more sad than it did expansive, which leads me to believe that it might be that there are wants and desires there that aren’t being seen. And maybe it’s just the desire to come closer to yourself to love yourself. That’s how I would start this conversation. But this is the type of thing that you know, I would sit with someone one on one when I meet with people and we do one to one, you know, we’ll sit down for an hour or two and work on a question like this, because I think everybody everybody’s in their own reality. But as a as a general response. I would I would do some self inquiry onto the truth of that statement. Is this really true? Is there truly nothing that I want to experience? And then I would I would go into that. And the answer is yes. There’s truly nothing I want to experience. Okay. So what are you doing here? I don’t know. Does it feel good to not know, know what would feel good?Fill in the blank. Oh, see, we’d like more of that. Right, and we can move down that road together? I think self inquiry would be beneficial on that type of question.
Rick Archer: One thing that came to my mind with her question is the 23rd Psalm my cup runneth over. If your cup is really full, if you have no desires, no needs no passion for anything. And is it’s so full that it’s actually starting to spill over, then start irrigating your environment, you know?
Moshe Gersht: By doing it towards contribution. Yeah,
Rick Archer: exactly. Start giving to others, and helping others in whatever way you can. And if you have no needs or desires, then others certainly do. Maybe you can help them fulfill there’s, there’s a lady I interviewed, not too long ago named Shelly to Gail ski. And she’s really, she’s really wonderful. She’s just such a giver, you know, just incredibly dedicated to helping in every way she can. And she’s, you know, nearly blind, I mean, she’s blind in one eye, and the other may go blind, and, but still, she just, she just came back from her period of time in Poland, helping Ukrainian refugees, and she’s got all these projects, helping people in various ways. And as anyone will tell you, who dedicates themselves to giving in such a way, it’s, it’s more blessed to give than to receive in a way because the giver actually receives more than the, than the receiver, you know, you if you’re going to be a conduit for goodness in the world, then the divine provides you with more with which to give. So anyway, that would be my take on her question.
Moshe Gersht: Love it. Love it, beautiful songs. Yeah. Songs. You know, there’s a famous piece of Torah, that the word I have, which means love. Sources from the word have, which means to give, that it’s not that you give to those who love but you learn to love when you give, right giving itself produces the love inside of you, or awakens the love inside of you. Yeah. And what I found is, that’s true, so long as you’re not giving because you have to, as long as there’s no resentment, if you if you’re giving because you realize, Okay, I’ll try it out. Like at the bare minimum, it’s, it’s not a resentment filled giving, but it’s a and then you start to see the fruits of, of that experience. Yeah.
Rick Archer: already? Well, we’ve spent quite a bit of time maybe we should end on that note, any any final thoughts you’d like to express? Before we do? And?
Moshe Gersht: And no, this is a pleasure spending time with you, Rick, I really appreciate you taking this couple hours out of your day to have this conversation. And you know, what
Rick Archer: kind of thing is the highlight of my week, not taking anything.
Moshe Gersht: I want to give you a blessing that you should, you should, you know, live a long and full life, you know, with everything that you need to continue doing the work that you’re doing. You’re creating a platform for people to tap into the deepest aspects of themselves and a reality. And I don’t know if there’s a greater work. So thank you for being here.
Rick Archer: Oh, thank you so much. And likewise, you know, and I’ve been inspired by getting to know you over the previous week through your book and your YouTube videos and keep doing what you’re doing and hopefully we’ll get to meet in person one of these days. Okay, I’m looking forward. Alright. And thanks to those who have been listening or watching. You can find out more about motions work, but through his page on my website, which I’ll provide links to his website and in his book and all that stuff. And while you’re at the website, explore the menus and you’ll find some things of interest. So see you next time.