I really enjoy our library trucks…
Loki endorses Natalie Portman and the new Miss Dior fragrance…
scribbles and sketches of dreams
The Torah… provides man with the tools to experience the Divine, even if, at times, in a rudimentary fashion. As some Chasidim used to say: “We study…, learn about the existence of other worlds, angels, seraphs, and heavenly beings; but I don’t see any heavenly beings, and I don’t believe that anyone who studies more is able to see more. Nevertheless, the difference between the one who studies and the one who does not study is that, in the future, when these things are made manifest, the one who studies will be able to recognize them better, to relate them to what he has learned.”
I’ve been reading The Seven Beggars: & Other Kabbalistic Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov with commentary by Aryeh Kaplan. In the first story there’s a blind beggar who states that he is very old and, yet, very young. I’d like to share a few gems from the commentary at the end of the chapter. Of the blind beggar’s youth, Kaplan says that his secret was how he approached each moment of every day:
"Since [He was] always making a new beginning, it [was] as if [his] life were just starting. God thus speaks of the commandments "that I command you today" (Deut 6:6), and the sages teach "The Torah should always be like something brand new" (Sifri). Likewise, Moses told the Israelites, "Listen, Israel, today you are becoming a people to God, your Lord" (Deut. 27:9). Rashi comments that this means that one’s serving God should always be as if one were starting today (Likutey Halakhoth, Tefillin 5:5)."
He goes on to say that in God’s creation every moment is completely rejuvenated. As of this moment, you must begin anew serving God. All that is in the past is gone, good or bad. There is no left over merit in the service of the past, we must serve God with a heart and an enthusiasm that is fresh.
As we grow older, we become more set in our ways. Our beliefs and practices can become so ingrained that we can’t see another path. Kaplan writes about our enemy, Satan, as a king who is old and foolish (Eccles. 4:13):
"He is given this name because the foolishness that he teaches people is that one is old and weak and cannot change anymore. But here we see that true old age is being able to look at life as if it were just beginning."
For some, old age may set in during their twenties, but none of us has to stay old.
"Moses thus told the Israelites, "You, who are attached to God, are all alive today" (Deut. 4:4). When a person is truly attached to God, then he is in a constant state of renewal, just as God is constantly renewing creation. His life is just beginning "today".
This redemption, again, can only be brought about through repentance. This is the concept of beginning anew, and particularly, a new start each day. This is the concept of the youth of the blind beggar.”
My mom used to ask pastors about New Year’s Eve services. They’d say… oh, people never keep those commitments. It just causes discouragement. Likewise with altar calls to re-dedicate your life to God. It always frustrated her, because she had seen good things come of it.
But if we can truly see each moment as new, forgetting what is behind us (Phil. 3:13)… If nothing good or nothing bad from the past matters, but only what we’re doing now. If we can see that God sees us like that, constantly renewed by His mercy… constantly in future tense. That He constantly delights in us without regard for our failures. That He only sees the end, the one with Him in eternity… How different could we be? At least for me, this has poignance…
days sorely missed.
pages from an age
by the galaxies
and displays of violence.
Arrays like hyacinth.
The darkened stain upon
a solar blaze
in context and
the mass around
it’s all the same,
And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, built himself a house, and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
Genesis 33:17 (NKJV)
So the first thing Jacob did when he returned to the promise land was to build a house with an apparently odd addition; shelter for his livestock. A stable.
The most powerful expression of will is love. This is also an integral part of the Shema. Every Hebrew letter has a numerical value corresponding to its position in the alphabet. The value of echad (), the Hebrew word for “one,” is thirteen (1 + 8 + 4). This, however, is the numerical value of ahavah (, 1 + 5 + 2 + 5), the Hebrew word for “love.” Love is the power that breaks down barriers and unifies opposites. Two people who are deeply in love become one. The Torah says, “A man shall leave his father and mother, and attach himself to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).
It may, therefore, be said that for God to develop the photographic film of the world, He had to create a darkroom. And one needs a limited source of light, controlled and restricted, in order to function. Once the desired effect is achieved, the windows can be opened.
Page 1 of 81
This work by William B Miller II is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.