Posts Tagged ‘ Torah: Output ’

Torah Study: Chukat and the Passing of the Cohort

2011.07.01
By

WHEN JERRY GARCIA AND GENE Roddenberry died, I shed actual tears. Although I didn’t know either of them personally, they had both played important roles in my life — Jerry taught me to dance, Gene taught me to dream — and because of their role in the culture at large, their deaths were like the shutting of a communal door.

There’s a similar circumstance in this week’s Torah portion, Chukat, which notes — among other incidents — the deaths of Moses’ siblings, Miriam and Aaron, themselves beloved by their community. Think what it must have been like for the Israelites: smacked out of Egypt by the back of God’s miracle-hand, given a new constitution beneath a thundering mountain, then doomed by ingratitude to wander the desert for 40 years. Moses, Aaron and Miriam were all the leadership they knew: Moses the mysterious, whose face glows when he talks to God; Aaron, who loved peace so much he’d even tell fibs to achieve it; Miriam, the wise woman whose portable well enabled life in the desert.
Read more »

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Reb Nachum to SF: Keep Your Laws Off My People’s Body

2011.06.06
By

THERE’S A PLACE — CHELM IS its name — where all the inhabitants are so open-minded that they tolerate any behavior whatsoever from anyone they deem open-minded as themselves. It’s a nice place to visit, but I hope never to have to live there.

From the post title, you can guess where I stand on San Francisco’s proposed anti-circumcision measure, which would criminalize the act if performed on anyone under 18 and disallow religious exemptions. But considering that Matthew Hess, the fellow behind it, is the same fellow behind the eye-washingly anti-Semitic “Monster Mohel” comic book, I feel I know as much about his motivations — and defenders — as I need to.
Read more »

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Why Is Purim Like Yom Kippur?

2011.03.16
By

“Yom Kippur brings the joy of teshuvah; Purim the teshuvah of joy.”

(TO UNDERSTAND THIS, YOU NEED to know that this was my response to Rabbi David Wolpe‘s Facebook post this morning. “Every Jewish holiday has its partner,” he said, and asked what ties together Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and Purim, which begins Saturday night and celebrates a thwarted plot to kill the Jews of Persia.

(R’ Wolpe’s favorite equivalence is from R’ Jack Riemer: “On Purim we put masks on; on YK we take them off.” Purim, in other words, is about the teshuvah (repentance, or transcendence) of illusion. But Jews have been pondering this relationship for centuries. Purim is a very boisterous holiday where people dress up in outlandish costumes and drink until the lines blur between friend and enemy. Yom Kippur is a solemn accounting of mistakes and deliberate errors.

(My favorite Chasidic view of all this is that Yom Kippur (which some interpret “Day Like Purim”), as a day of teshuvah through forgiveness, is even happier than Purim: “How not, when all our sins are forgiven?” So my answer: that as intense teshuvah brings joy, intense joy brings teshuvah.

(But you knew that, right? Happy Purim/Chag Purim Sameach!)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

When Tefilin Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Lay Tefilin

2011.03.14
By

Fig. 1.


March 14, 2011 (JTA) — An Alaska Airlines flight crew issued a security alert after three Mexican Orthodox Jews began praying with tefillin.

The flight attendants, who were concerned by the prayers being said aloud in Hebrew and the unfamiliar boxes with leather straps hanging from them, locked down the cockpit and radioed a security alert ahead to Los Angeles International Airport. (See: http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/03/14/3086391/alaska-airlines-detains-passengers-over-tefillin.)

(This sort of thing Nearly Happened To Me, in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in early 2002: the onlookers were a couple of antsy early-morning passengers watching me “wrap up” in a terminal alcove. “It’s a Jewish prayer thing,” I said, and left it at that. They were mollified, I met my obligations, and the world survived another day.)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Unplug: Can You Do It?

2011.03.02
By

LAST NIGHT I DREAMED I was drunk, belligerent and enjoying myself — not a good combination, nor one which I experience (or wish to experience) in real life. The subject of my tirade seems to have been the apologetic and paralyzing self-consciousness of the modern Jewish stereotype, and while I don’t remember exactly what I said I was truly “all het up” about it. (Which I occasionally am in real life, and maybe why it felt so good to express it.)

But that sense of muddy frustration evaporated when I discovered http://www.sabbathmanifesto.org/ and their call for a National Day of Unplugging from sundown March 4 to sundown March 5. Wondering what to do with your time? Ten suggestions are right here (from “Avoid technology” and “Get outside” to “Find silence” and “Give back”), but participants are also encouraged to create their own.

The basic idea is this: No one can run 24/7 without burning out, even someone as necessary and busy as you. So take a regular day off. See what’s within arm’s reach, and maybe rediscover who you are and what you’re doing here — or at the very least, take a well-earned nap. (Remember naps?)

(And if you found this via Facebook during one of many five-minute “just checking” sessions, you might just want to unplug right now.)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

My Plan For Jewish World Domination

2011.01.26
By

(YOU MAY READ THAT TITLE as either “domination of the world by Jews,” or “domination of the Jewish world.” Either way, it may be better than what we have now, or at least more entertaining. Certainly more well-fed. But.)

The point is this: Build fewer Museums of Tolerance and Holocaust Memorials. In fact, stop building them altogether, and instead build more Jewish schools/centers, for both kids and adults to interact face-to-face with well-trained Jewish teachers. We cannot help but carry the past, of course — but with our hands full, who will build our future?

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

The Yad In The Kitchen

2011.01.17
By

IN ONE OF OUR KITCHEN cabinets is a knot shaped like the Hebrew letter “yad.” It’s something we’ve lived with for 11 years but only pondered tonight.

Fig. 1.

According to some of Judaism’s lesser-publicized traditions, “yad” as the first letter of the yad-heh-vav-heh — God’s most holy name — is associated with the element of fire, the tongue of the flame of holy generation and inspiration, which is also the Godhead (that concentrated chunk of God located in the human soul). “Yad” also literally means “hand.” It is also the little sculptured wand (tipped by a hand and pointing finger) which indicate passages in the Torah, itself considered as one long Name of God.

Fig. 1.

So: Yad is the seat of intuition; it is also the hand guided by intuition, and which points to the Sourceless Source of that intuition (and everything else). In orbis veritas. That it’s on the flour cabinet, proves the divinity in food — and ingenuity.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Fsssss. Pop!

2011.01.01
By

Happy Solar Calendrical Artifact Of The Hated Romans Who Destroyed Our Holy Temple May Their Names Be Effaced New Year!
Raise your hands, everyone who detected the irony.

(Everyone who detected the irony, raise your hands.)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Chag Chanukat Sameach from Metaphorager.Net!

2010.12.01
By

Fig 1.

Photo courtesy Ann c. 2009. The ripples roll on, Lord how they roll on.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Al Tirah – Fear Not

2010.10.29
By

A MOVE TO KICK DESPAIR out of Lower North American political life is taking a Biblical imperative to the 21st century — and “joining” is as easy as deciding not to be manipulated by people who want you to hate your neighbors.

“When the heroes of biblical times despaired, God would speak to them. ‘Al Tirah! Fear Not!’ God commanded. Good advice then, good advice now,” proclaims the website for Al Tirah USA, a project of Jewish Funds for Justice. “Al Tirah America! Fear Not! Time to shake off our despair, and get back in the game.”

We at Metaphorager.Net applaud anyone opting for calm over cynicism, reason over rancor and thought over fear. (And the cool thing is, you don’t even need to believe in anything other than your own free agency. Right?)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

5 Thoughts: How To Preach A Sermon

2010.10.26
By

1. Make ‘em laugh with, but not at, you and your topic. But make ‘em laugh first.

2. Remember that you’re a student too, no more learned (and sometimes embarrassingly less) than those listening to you. Your task is to reveal rather than entertain, to share rather than “teach.”

3. Be honest. It shows.

4. Know what you’re talking about, but don’t be afraid of facing questions which haven’t occurred to you. They are inevitable, and can be miraculous.

5. Care about the people you’re talking to(1). Not as “subjects of ‘God’” (or “dues-paying members” or, especially, “the audience”) but as people — maybe scared or sad or in pain, looking for comfort and inspiration and sometimes a reason to get out of bed. So give that!

___

(1) This is in some ways the most important of these principles. If your care is elsewhere than the people you serve, you’ll only disservice everyone.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

I’m Not Going To Say “God” Anymore

2010.10.05
By

AT LEAST, THAT’S MY AIM, and has been for some time, only I didn’t know it then.

Hear: I don’t know how any/everyone else works It, but I think It is universal, appearing to some as “God,” others as The Muse, yet others Science, still others as some unnamed (nor needing to be named) unifying perspective.

But all these other views still seem, in these eyes, to concern what I call “God.” (That’s either a great oversimplification on my part or something shrewd and cogent. For practical reasons, let’s say the latter.) It’s hard talking about It for a couple of reasons — not least because It is impossible to describe — and the language with which we attempt to do so only makes some people touchy (i.e., “Don’t shove that anthropocentric patriarchal authoritarianism at me, you sexist. I worship only the Goddess”). As one more interested in colloquy than controversy, however, I want to touch the essence of the matter without a lot of side-explanations and other verborrheic runnings-about. (I’m a busy man, after all, and so are you.)

Thus, with a throw of hands in the air, we at Metaphorager.Net suggest “The Mystery.” That seems accurate, since a Mystery (philosophically speaking) is something which can only be understood through experience, and one thing we can say about It is that each one of us has a different (if overlapping) experience. An example: No one quite knows what I mean when I say “God,” or “love,” or “chocolate,” since I specifically associate these words with what I have invested in them through lifelong acquaintance. But enough of It overlaps to where I can order “chocolate” and expect the waiter not serve me meatballs. Which is good enough — I seem to be less concerned with Truth than with Usefulness, anyway — but there are certain particulars which do not overlap, and these are the points which either spice the conversation or begin wars.

To avoid those exchanges, we must speak generally. And “The Mystery” is about as general as I can get and still sound like I’m talking about something of interest to those interested in Such Things, whereas “God” just sounds reactionary to those who pride themselves on their modernity. (And we can’t have that.)

So there it is. Of course, as a Hebrew-school teacher, I’ll still have to say “God,” but my students will at least have the ambiguity “built in.” They won’t have to relearn its essentiality like I did, and can better perhaps listen to what people are actually saying — instead of confirming their own prejudices.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Tumblr
  • PDF

Recent Tales

Not Like It Used To Was

Mom in the drug store Called out to her son: “Brooklyn!” Am I getting old?

Read more »

Prosatio Silban and the Starving Survivor

A BUOPOTH IS A STRANGE beast: some say it is half-composed of men’s dreams, others prefer not to speculate. But of the little that...

Read more »

Prosatio Silban and the Visitor From The Sands

PROSATIO SILBAN WAS NOT KNOWN for nothing as “The Cook For Any Price.” He had long ago foresworn the Sacreanthood and serving people’s souls...

Read more »

The Poet

HE COULDN’T TELL WHETHER HE loved beauty or women more until the day he called his mom and said “Guess what? I’m marrying a...

Read more »

Storyteller’s Knot

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF any story is the point at which it’s attached to the reader.

Read more »

Recently

July 2018
S M T W T F S
« Oct    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Rewind

Wine Country Weather


Click for Forecast

Ritual Hat Pass

G'bless'ye, sir or madam.

You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

Favicon Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Briefcases and r4 ds card.