Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Nuclear man is the man who realizes that his creative powers hold the potential for self-destruction. He sees that in this nuclear age vast new industrial complexes enable man to produce in one hour that which he labored over for years in the past, but he also realizes that these same industries have disturbed the ecological balance and, through air and noise pollution, have contaminated his own milieu. He drives in cars, listens to the radio and watches TV, but has lost his ability to understand the workings of the instruments he uses. He sees such an abundance of material commodities around him that scarcity no longer motivates his life, but at the same time he is groping for a direction and asking for meaning and purpose. In all this he suffers from the inevitable knowledge that his time is a time in which it has become possible for man to destroy not only life but also the possibility of rebirth, not only man but also mankind, not only periods of existence but also history itself. For nuclear man the future has become the only option.~The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society by Henri Nouwen, pages 6-7
“My parents weren’t crazy-strict religious people. I won’t hit people on the head with a Bible, but I live by example and just try to be the best guy I can be. I have morals, and if it’s something that I feel like is crossing the line, then I’m not afraid to stand up. If you don’t stand up for something, then you’ll never stand up for anything. I just feel like that’s just what I had to do.”
Just wanted to say how impressive that is. A 20-year-old kid walking away from the Western all-American dream. The contrast between this kid and Esther Petrack (just for choosing to be on ANTM, nothing else) is striking.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
But then it occurred to me one day that this olive oil was made especially to light Chanukah Menorahs.
Which means it might have added ingredients to make stuff burn like for example...lighter fluid?
But don't worry! I did not react with fear or woe! Only excitement!
Tis Heshy & Chana- and WE CAN EAT LIGHTER FLUID AND NOT DIE.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
In one of the Kinnot we say, we mention that nobody could persuade God to have mercy upon the Jews until He came to our foremother Rachel. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob- none of them could change God's mind. But when it came to Rachel, God threw out the scale of measurement and justice.
I realized today the reason why.
It is because I am a magician.
I have the power to imbue objects with holiness and also to imbue them with impurity.
My actions directly impact and affect my own fate and possibly even the fate of others.
I can uplift sparks that have fallen to earth.
And to accomplish these things, I must live a rigorously defined and delineated life, in which my diet, dress, habits, thoughts and desires are strictly controlled.
I am one of the chosen, one of those born with the gift of magic. Is it Lily's fault that it was she and not Petunia who was allowed access to Hogwarts? Should Lily then apologize for being chosen? I think not.
It is a gift, but like all gifts, its use is disciplined. Its cost is high. And its power is astonishing.
When we teach our children and they recoil at being told they are Jews and chosen and therefore must obey the laws of the Torah, let us frame it a different way.
Let us tell them they are wizards and witches and therefore must listen to Dumbledore. At least if they wish to have any hope of defeating Voldemort. And they must trust in him, no matter how maligned he may be.
They will be challenged along the way. But that is how it should be.
Only in overcoming oneself (for Harry, dying when he wishes to live) does one achieve greatness.
Your path is the path of justice and also of salvation.
When you are born into this world, the question is...will you rise to the occasion?
Will you be a magician- or not?
Too many throw away their gift, overcome by the long, hard years it takes to master it, the rigorous control and discipline, the difficult tests, the arduous work. They determine that the cultivation of their gift is not worth the effort. They have not yet met the Alannas of the world.
Be an Alanna. Nurture your gift.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
- "So yesterday, I asked a miracle of the Virgin," he continued. "I asked that She take away my gift."
"Yes. I did as the inspiration of the Holy Spirit bade. The fog lifted, and the sun shone on the mountains. I felt that the Virgin understood- because She had also loved so greatly."
On the one hand, there is the idea in the Talmud that the rabbis could say, "I do not want this suffering and I do not want its rewards," which allowed them to relieve their pain.
But it seems to work differently when one wants to surrender one's gift. God eases the burden but does not take it entirely away.
1) MosesGod does spreads Moses' spirit amidst 70 men, but he does not simply take away his gift entirely. He does not tell him he can retire as leader now.
|ד וְהוּא-הָלַךְ בַּמִּדְבָּר, דֶּרֶךְ יוֹם, וַיָּבֹא, וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחַת רֹתֶם אחת (אֶחָד); וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת-נַפְשׁוֹ, לָמוּת, וַיֹּאמֶר רַב עַתָּה יְהוָה קַח נַפְשִׁי, כִּי-לֹא-טוֹב אָנֹכִי מֵאֲבֹתָי.||4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom-tree; and he requested for himself that he might die; and said: 'It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.'|
So God has mercy and also compassion, but He does not heed entirely. Once chosen, always chosen. The gift must run its course.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
It then occurred to me that in Genesis the following verse appears.
|27. And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.||כז. וַיִּבְרָא אֱ־לֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱ־לֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם:|
Rashi cites Midrash Agada that the first human was created as a hermaphrodite. Both the feminine and masculine aspects were in that first being.
It then occurred to me that finally the words 'in the image of God' make sense to me. The first human was created in the image of God. Meaning, with both the feminine and masculine aspect as one united being. Hence as a hermaphrodite.
However, God realized that what worked for Him did not work for the human. He noted:
|And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him."||יח. וַיֹּאמֶר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱ־לֹהִים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂה לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ:|
God realized that what worked for Him did not work for man. God is in perfect union with his masculine and feminine attributes and aspects. But man was not able to sustain this existence. He was alone. Therefore God needed to make a helpmate for him who was k'negdo. Not part of his being any longer, but separated from him. And thus God seperated the woman from the man so that what had once been one creature was now two.
In Chasidic tradition, the Shechina (as the feminine aspect of God) and the male aspect of God unite as one on the Sabbath. The Shechina is also identified as manifesting as the Sabbath Queen. As is well known, there is a special emphasis about the man and woman coming together in love on Friday eve. It occurred to me that perhaps this is why. When the male and female aspects unite, they return to what they originally were, God's image.
It occurred to me this may be one of the reasons the Bible speaks so strongly against homosexuality and calls it an abomination. If man and woman as one unit were created in God's image and God Himself represents the union of the feminine and the masculine, the homosexual is choosing his own passions, desires or pleasures above that of returning to his original state as the image of God (joining with the feminine). This may be one of the reasons these actions are considered so displeasing to God.
Note that when the Serpent tempts Eve, he presents her with the following argument:
|For God knows that on the day that you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like angels, knowing good and evil."||ה. כִּי יֹדֵעַ אֱ־לֹהִים כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְכֶם מִמֶּנּוּ וְנִפְקְחוּ עֵינֵיכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם כֵּאלֹהִים יֹדְעֵי טוֹב וָרָע:|
The translation here says 'angels' but another translation would be 'gods.' The Serpent tells Eve that if she eats from the Tree of Life, she will be like god.
What Eve does not understand is that she is not meant to be like God. At least not in the way the Serpent is suggesting. God saw that when he originally created man and woman in His exact image, as hermaphrodites, they were lonely. They could not stand that loneliness and thus he had to separate them. For them to be like God, to form His image once more, they must unite together in holiness, coming close to one another, sharing their souls and their bodies.
Eating of the fruit is an act of distancing herself from God. According to Midrash, where the Serpent was possessed by the angel Samael and Eve slept with him, it's in fact the exact antithesis of being like God. If being like God is taking the male aspect into oneself and re-joining the two halves that were broken, a female can only mate with a male of her species. To mate with an angel, beast or a member of the same gender will not accomplish this. This is why the angels who mated with women to create the Nephilim were frowned upon. (I wrote a paper about the Nephilim for those curious to learn more. I can email it to you.)
The statement about their creation is repeated in Chapter 5:
|Male and female He created them, and He blessed them, and He named them man (Adam) on the day they were created.||ב. זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בְּרָאָם וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמָם אָדָם בְּיוֹם הִבָּרְאָם:|
The creature God created was originally named 'Man,' 'Adam,' from the earth. Then God seperated out the woman and the man named her 'Chava,' Mother of all Life, Eve. But as one unit, one flesh, we return to Adam. We encapsulate that image of God, binding the masculine and the feminine together. It is a form of redemption; perhaps even a reclamation. We have returned; we have reclaimed. We are now One.