75 Notes

Somehow Christianity has become a nonmystical religion. It’s about a reasonable faith. If we believe the right things, then we are orthodox. Frankly whether we ever actually connect to God or experience His undeniable presence has become incidental, if not irrelevant. We have become believers rather than experiencers. To know God in the Scriptures always went beyond information to intimacy. We may find ourselves uncomfortable with this reality, but the faith of the Scriptures is a mystical faith. It leads us beyond the material world into an invisible reality.
Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way (via contrariansoul)

2 Notes

May love alone—love, which results in faith and trust—be the tender and magical language that unites us in God and provides a common ground on which we can stand and endure before God, man, and ourselves.

Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein

(via Vine of David)

Notes

…it is a matter of the practice of faith — and in Hebrew, the root word for both practice and faith is the same — to gain faith (emunah) one must practice (imun) and thereby acquire ever increasing proficiency.
The Long Shorter Way by Adin Steinsaltz

Notes

Do you not know that [the world to come] is like the Sabbath and that [this present world] is like the eve of the Sabbath? If a man does not prepare his meal on the eve of the Sabbath, what will he eat on the Sabbath?
Ruth Rabbah 3:3 - but I sourced it from the Love in the Messianic Age workbook at ffoz.com.

1 Notes

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.”
Adin Steinsaltz - The Long Shorter Way

1 Notes

Today

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…

6 Notes

The Press of Gravities

These;
they fade,
days sorely missed.

Occasions,
pages from an age
pummeled
by the galaxies
and displays of violence.
Arrays like hyacinth.

The darkened stain upon
a solar blaze
lost confidence
in context and
contrast.

Uncomforted
by forces
hiding in
the mass around
your core.

Radiance…
convection —
it’s all the same,
second place
to fusion.

1 Notes

Those who do not learn history are doomed to pre-heat it.
Allegedly first said in some form by George Santayana, but this version should be attributed to my auto-correct.

Notes

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.

6 Notes

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).
Kaplan, Aryeh (2011-01-12). Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide (Kindle Locations 1992-1997). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.