Shabbes Inspiration Re’eh

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Re’eh

See, I have set before you this day, a blessing and a curse
the blessing —
if you shall listen to the commandments of God
which I command you this day
and the curse —
if you shall not listen to the commandments of God
but turn aside
out of the way
go after other gods
which you have not known. [Deut. 11:26 ff.]

Goodbye Moses our mother
farewell old friend
sorry you’re not making the trip with us
ciao.

You are preparing us for life without you.
Wear your rubbers
stay out of the rain
drink plenty of water
say your prayers

everything you’ve taught us before.
Don’t walk around in wet socks.

It begins with See – the intuitive grasp of everything
the momentary aha!
switching to listen
the way a message unfolds in sequence
as – I – am – writing – this
and you are hearing it.

Two ways of knowing
the intuitive grasp
the momentary apprehension
and the careful unfolding through sequencing
seeing and listening.

Something else:
See is singular
switching to plural
listen is plural
all the verbs and pronouns go plural.

Every singular has the power to go plural
to tilt the world
— the world may be that evenly balanced —
one singular on this side
shifts it here
one on that side
shifts it there. [B.T. Kiddushin 40b]

To choose blessing seems obvious
this from the Italian: we are always extremist
we can choose either blessing
or curse [Ovadia Sforno 1475 – 1555]
it is always either/or for us.

Not all of us —
Choose it this day
this day three times in the passage
it’s a daily choice
good news
you choose wrong today
you can choose right tomorrow.

Something else, from the Gerer rebbe
you know what listening is don’t you
listening implies blessing. [Sefat Emet, the Gerer rebbe]
You know what blessing is —
when you attach to the life of Life
the source
the heart of the world.

What specifically is the blessing?
What the curse?
You know which choices are blessing
you know which are curses
so forget about this last point.

Here is the blessing
found in the mud:

I will bless you and increase you as the earth,
as the sands of the seashore as the sea,
look at the algae now
and the horseflies buzzing around your face,
I will make you as great as the algae, as the grasshoppers.

Look up now to the sky
you will be as great as the stars
as the darkness too
you will be as great as the darkness
as the sand and the sea and the stars
the mud and the dark and the green
the sticky stuff on the surf
the early rains and the later rains
the mud and the mud the green the sand the dark.

You will be a blessing —
as great as the dark
as the sea
the sand
the green
the flies.

Amen.

jsg, usa

Commit: Shabbes Inspiration Ekev

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Ekev

So God afflicted you and made you hungry
and had you eat the manna [translate: what it is]
which you had not known and which your ancestors had not known
in order to make
you know
that not by bread alone do human beings live
but by everything that issues from the mouth of God
do human beings live. [Deut. 8:3]

Not by bread alone
we don’t live for money
slip me some bread Fred
it’s not enough.

The rabbis tell us that Torah is bread [Sifre on Ekev]
not by Torah alone do we live
we need the commentaries
to unfold the text
breathe into it.

No bread – no Torah
No Torah — no bread. [Avot 3:21]

No bread no Torah
here meaning no parnassah
no livelihood
it’s hard to be wise or holy or smart
for that matter
when you’re hungry.

No Torah no bread
the Dow fell a hundred points
because Mr. Merrill and Mr. Lynch
weren’t learning?
That’s the point:
it’s the Tao stupid.

It’s a hard point to make
Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya
you in the second generation of Tannaim
second century
a person of wealth and good genes
you could trace your ancestry back ten generations
to the scribe Ezra
you became Nasi (prince-leader) as a young man
your beard turned white
overnight
so your colleagues would accept you
I’ve seen it happen.

What were you thinking?
No Torah, no bread?
No learning no wisdom no program
bread will never be enough
you are always hungry
money won’t do it
love won’t do it
drugs won’t do it
booze won’t do it
a person remains hungry
there will never be enough bread
to fill the emptiness that only Torah can fill.

And it shall come to pass
because [ekev] you listen to these ordinances [Ibn Ezra: if you listen]
and keep and do them
God will keep the covenant and the mercy
sworn to your ancestors. [Deut. 7:12]

Ekev
don’t stomp on me with your foot
curious conjunction this – ekev –
we are expecting something more common
im for example if
but it’s ekev
translated because

Because
the mystery of the uncommon conjunction
something a preposition might admire
ekev also connotes heel
it refers to those acts
ordinarily not paid attention to [Midrash Tanhuma 1]
those that are thrown under our heels
so to speak
Rashi calls them the light ones
the ones that might not attract our attention
the unglamorous deeds
I LIVE FOR THEM
FOR EVERYTHING THAT ISSUES FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD
the conjunctions of the mitzvah world
their lovely low-li-ness.

Every generation is a heel generation
every person a heel person
everything previous rests on us
every act every word every gesture
contributes inscrutably
to the what it is.

Every word every conjunction every preposition
every mitzvah light or heavy
counts
contributes
everything
We are the heel on which everything rests

Amen.

Everything counts in some ultimate way
as hidden as the heel that supports
the weight of our bodies.

Ekev – Because you listen and safeguard and keep [Deut. 11:13-21]
you do for Me
I do for you
neat and balanced.

If the nature of the relationship is more nuanced —
If it turns on the lowly conjunction ekev
don’t insult that conjunction
be a conjunction for a while
be a preposition.

You know the laws that I gave you to protect?
Do them and I’ll keep the covenant and the kindnesses
You know the mitzvahs that you didn’t keep
the ones that you walked on
the ones that were thrown under your heel?
For that, too, I will keep the faith.

What you did and what you didn’t do
what you remembered and what you forgot
what you honored and what you desecrated
it all rests on the heel of your generation
maybe on you yourself
and only at the moment of transition
will it be clear that everything
preceding
every single thing
was necessary
everything contributes
the big the small the good the bad
the beautiful the lowly the lofty
the intentions
the mistakes
all of it.

Can you dig that?

jsg

Commit: Shabbes Inspiration Vaetchanan

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Va-et-cha-nan

The most famous passage this week
Shema Yisrael [Deut. 6:4]
Listen up Israel
translated in its several possibilities
God is one
God alone [Rashbam and Ibn Ezra]
God the one and only
God integrated and unified [Moshe Cordovero]
the seamless embrace of Existence
O holy God help me understand —
Amen.

Just let me know it
Eid – be a witness
let me climb up that large ayin
slide down the big dalet
let me know it, let me be a witness to the seamless –
or let me turn it around in dyslexia
plow the language like a palindrome
Da’ – let me climb the Hebrew running right to left
let me jump it back left to right
let all directions fold into the ascent of the letters
into knowing
Da’ – let me know
Adonai Eloheinu
Adonai Echad.

Amen.

Shabbes Nachamu this
the first of seven Shabbosim of Consolation
I need it because I am recovering from the sadness
in the three weeks
three weeks I sat in sadness
seven weeks I am taking to recover.

Listen O Israel
everything is going to start getting better now.
Everything.
Slowly slowly
but we are into the ascent.

Something else:
in this portion my favorite Rashi, on
Behold, I have taught you rules and laws,
as God has commanded me
that you should keep them,
in the land to which you are coming to possess.
You shall observe them and do them.
[Deuteronomy 4:5-6]
Here’s the Rashi:
Observe them – this is Mishnah.
And do them: as it implies.

You want rules don’t you —
you want clarity and simplicity don’t you —
you want perpendicularity don’t you —
you want the rules and laws.
Observe them – these are the rules and laws.
Do them – these are the implications.
The laws are clear
the implications complex.
It’s life — it’s messy.

It’s the beginning of the portion I turn to now
that word
Va-et-cha-nan
not common
sends me running for the book.

Va-et-cha-nan
translate: I entreated, I pleaded
I implored God at that time,
this is Moses speaking
about the great frustration of his life
let me now cross and see the good land
that is on the other side of the Jordan. . .
[Deuteronomy 3:24-25]

What we need to know from this word —
what’s the intention
what’s his attitude
Moses
what’s the feeling in this word?

Is it a request?
Is it a please —
is it an entitlement —
HEY – LET ME IN THAT LAND
I deserve it.
No. Not that – this is clear from the Rashi.

Rashi says the word denotes an undeserved free gift
this is Rashi’s first comment
his second comment is that this word
va-et-cha-nan
is one of ten words signifying prayer
here Rashi is quoting the midrash [Deut. R. 2:1]
but feel the sadness in this comment.

Moses is praying with humility
to enter the Land
please please please
it’s a prayer asking for an undeserved favor
because holy ones never ask with any other kind of attitude.
I want it but I’m not entitled. [Rashi on Deut. 3:23]

The teaching comes to us from Rabbi Yochanan
there are ten words for prayer:
shavah, zeakah, neakah
rinnah, pegiah, bitzur
keriah, nippul, pillul
and tahanunim.•

Of the ten expressions Moses might have used
Moses uses the last
the language of tachanunim
the language of humility
grace – an undeserved request
this is how the righteous make their asks
no one has any claim on God.

Moses was thinking
— all the wonderful things he had done in his youth.
In those days I was King of the World
now I’m a beggar for my life.

The angels came and snatched Moses’ words away
so that God wouldn’t know
God loved Moses like a mother
and always knew when something was wrong.

God came to Moses and said
It isn’t written that you should enter the Land.
It was decreed before I created the World
and yours is not to ask why. It just is.

God said,
it’s time for Joshua to take over. [Deut. 3:28]

jsg, usa

•See Exodus 2:23, Exodus 2:24, Jeremiah 7:16,
Psalm 18:7, Deuteronomy 9:18, Psalm 106:30,
and this verse, Deuteronomy 3:23.

Commit: Shabbes Inspiration Devarim

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Devarim

We’ve entered the words now
these are the words
ehleh ha-devarim
the words that Moses spoke to all Israel
beyond the Jordan
in the wilderness.

Devarim
the book of Deuteronomy
begins with the evocative root word davar
appearing three times in the first verse
ha-de-var-im words, dibber spoke
wilderness midbar
it’s wilderness midbar that interests me most
sits me down on the desert floor
and insists I spend a quiet time figuring its place in our lives.

What happened to us in the midbar
and where is it
the wilderness of the word
the absence of words
the sense of the word
the sensitivity to the word
the word itself
the matter itself the thing itself the essence of the thing
which words?

All words —
when you have language
you have everything.

Someone asked me
is that what we are doing
just giving language to what we know?

Take the just out of that sentence I said
we are giving language to what we know.

We are coming to know the world
with language
the power of blessing
to integrate what we know
to create seams where there may be no discernable seams
to make unity where there is separation
we are proceeding first
through language.

The Holy One engraved the world
through thirty two hidden paths of wisdom
– ten principles and twenty two holy letters
this from the Sefer Yetzirah the Book of Formation
what God wrote into the world for us to understand.

Shabbat Chazon the necessity to read the vision of Isaiah
on the Shabbes before Tisha B’Av
God gives us the remedy before the malady
it’s built in — this curative wisdom is built in before it’s prescribed
the vision before the fall
the hope before the destruction,

I can’t find the blessing in it
this always the problem in suffering
or in waiting even or in frustration
I can’t find the blessing in it.

On this the Shabbes before the 9th of Av
we recall the destruction of the Temples
even on Tisha B’Av there is a buried holiness and seed for hope.

This Shabbes is called Shabbat Chazon
because the chazon the vision of Isaiah is read as the haftarah
a vision of the future Jerusalem — rebuilt, strong,
built on the resolution of the mistakes of the past.

From R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
on Shabbes Chazon the vision of rebuilding the Temple
this is the Shabbes of vision of the third Temple
you can see it.

Feel this: always on the Shabbes just before Tisha B’Av
the black fast, the saddest day of the Jewish year
always preceded by Shabbat Chazon
vision of the holy Temple rebuilt with the coming of the Messiah
the redemption we pray for daily.

Feel this: the proximity of what saves and what corrupts

Feel this: the vision of the future and the losses of the past

Feel this: the proximity of ascent and descent

Feel this: what purifies what defiles.

Something purifying out of exile
something pure emerging out of suffering
Shabbat Chazon: a vision of ascent out of descent.

I found the blessing in it
do you feel it?

R. Gamaliel, R. Eliezer b. Azariah, R. Yehoshua, and R. Akiva
came to the Temple Mount
they saw a fox coming out of the Holy of Holies
They all burst into tears, except Akiva
Akiva laughed.

Akiva said, old men and old women shall dwell again
in the streets of Jerusalem
and the streets of the city shall be full of children
— I know the prophecy [Makkot 24b]

Akiva saw something his friends did not
Akiva saw the future
how dark the night, he said, how bright the day to come [Maharal]

The harder the fall, the higher the return
That’s why Akiva laughed.

The tradition tells us that in the future
when it is time for the Messiah to come
on what day do you suppose the Messiah will be born?
On the ninth of Av.

jsg, usa

Commit: Double Portion This Week

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Mattot-Masei

Double portion this week
both long poems
the necessity to read Devarim on the Shabbes before Tisha B’Av
a double measure of wisdom to prepare for the vision
— this week Mattot and Masei

It begins with oaths and vows
oaths – shevuot – related to sheva
seven
the full cycle
according to the Rambam
when he takes up the subject of vows, nedarim, in Mishneh Torah

Vow the neder
weighty to take a vow
to stay away from something that is permitted
I take a vow to stay away from meat
from saturated fats
potato chips how I love potato chips
or to take on something I think is right
but is not required of me
elevating the act to mitzvah status
I vow to drive every single person who asks me
to the airport anytime they want

Vows are a fence around separation [Avot 3:17]
I take a vow in order to help separate from a problem
distance or in our lingo
abstinence

You love those Little Debbie treats?
can’t eat just one?
you’re hiding vodka around the house?
cruising the dark streets for white powder?
special problems require special strategies
separation
willing to go to any lengths with the vow
in order to make a fence around the problem
separate from it

It’s serious this vow-taking
Maimonides recommends we don’t do it at all
let your yes be true and your no be true
this from the Talmud [Baba Metzia 49a]
we are expected to do what we promise
if we have to resort to vows
something is wrong

In conversation we say
bli neder
without a vow used in the sense of without a doubt
if I have to take a vow
I’m not good on my intention
I need a vow to get something done?
do it

Something else:
Mattot and Masei
Mattot in the opening verse [Numbers 30:2]
rashei ha-mattot the heads of the tribes
two words for tribes in our poem
this mattei (singular) mattot (plural)
and shevet
both words signify a branch
a staff
part of a tree
how a branch becomes a tribe
I am thinking about as I stoop
to kiss the ground

A staff a stick an emblem a totem
the tribal stick remote but —
possible

Tree consulted by its branches
branch separated from the tree
as in exile
separation and exile in the notion of tribe

All branches separated from the tree of life
the staff the branch the tribe
what does it owe to the tree?

Soft moist the shevet
dried out inflexible the mattei
the soul’s journey out from God
the exile of the partial from the whole
Israel among the nations
me from myself
the soul soft moist to its divine origins
or inflexible and brittle soul
souls dried out and far away from divine moistness

So too in exile
a connection with the Source
or a sense of far-away
inflexible to our origins
dried out
tribes either softening to the tree
or broken off and brittle from the tree of life

Turn all mattot into shevatim
turn all brittleness to moistness
turn the hard inflexibility of separation
into moistness and relation with the Source
draw down the definitions
bring us into relation
make us moist
turn us all into shevatim
moist particulars of the whole
divine remnants

return always assured

Hazak hazak v’nitchazek
be strong be strong
we are stronger
when we are moist

amen.

jsg, usa

Commit: Shabbes Inspiration Pinchas

O Holy Shabbes Inspiration Pinchas

You know we are dreaming peace all the time now
the evidence of that broken vav
in the word shalom of brit shalom [Numbers 25:12]
that may be what’s holding it up

Let’s fix the vav in the brit shalom
the covenant of peace
this reward that is given to you Pinchas

You were rewarded the priesthood
for that unseemly act [Numbers 25:7 ff.]
so what is it — this covenant of peace
the near peace and the far peace [Isaiah 57:19]
with the far peace you have confidence in the future
the near peace is more elusive
but HEY –
WE’RE LIVING HERE

The near peace the inward peace
also elusive
the far peace
they’re negotiating a world away
not-negotiating
here we are praying
working our gardens and our abs

I have to ask you Pinchas
son of Eleazar son of Aaron
what kind of peace maker might you be
priest-man you ran them through
— that guy and his girlfriend —
killed them both
you love an argument
your reward the priesthood
what about that diminished yud in your name [Numbers 25:11]
something unfinished in you Pinchas
we need you but we need you
whole

Hey Pinchas
that darn vav in shalom seems so broken right now
K’TIA! I holler [K’tia = broken]
remember the perfect vav before its brokenness
the sign of connection
sometimes I feel so hollow and broken too
K’tia! on me
when I feel this way
restore me when I am broken
use your language to integrate
the power of blessing
use your words to make peace out of the pieces
lift up the lower union to join the upper union
that’s vav in its complete form
the connector

It connects in form
up and down the straight line vav
heavens to earth
the vertical link
It connects in context
the horizontal, the holy and
vav ha-chibur
the vav meaning and
Pinchas – fix that vav
restore the brokenness between us
within us
the and
relational
horizontal
the vertical
spiritual

Oh priest-man fix it all
if you can’t I will
I’m working on it
me and all my pals
we are whole even when broken
and ready
we’re working it

I’m trying to end this prayer
but I can’t
I’m waiting for new language
something horizontal
[vertical too]
relational
connective
the repair of the near and the repair of the far
suggesting something
entirely new
out of the old might rise
something like –

And And And

jsg*

*I am no Pinchas
maybe the son of a Pinchas

Commit: Came to Curse — Come to Bless

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Balak
in which Balak King of Moab brings the prophet Bilaam
from the north to curse and he blesses

I think he was a real prophet [Sifre on Deut. 357]
though I don’t think he spoke God
that is — he didn’t bless
he didn’t curse
he didn’t have the power of either [Meam Loez]
words do not curse
there is no such power
we will defeat ourselves
if left alone

Nor did he have the power to bless
because we were already blessed [Meam Loez]

Something missing in his vision don’t you know
he was blind in one eye [Numbers 24:3 and Sanh. 15a]
he was missing the eye that sees his own smallness
with his good eye he saw the greatness of God
he was that kind of prophet [Hacohen al HaTorah, v.4, p.115]

The text doesn’t say outright
that the donkey made human sounds
surely the presence of God communicated to Bilaam
through the donkey
as if the animal had spoken
or maybe it was all a vision [Guide II:42]

The mouth on that donkey
another of the ten miracles
created in the in-between time [Avot 5:9]
not the six days not the Sabbath either
between the suns the between-time
part day knowledge part night knowledge
built into Creation at the mystery time
miracles to appear when necessary
like stem cells
like transplants
like the cures we are waiting for
like the peace we are praying for
when we howl WHEN
HEY — WE ARE WAITING HERE
we want a hurry-up
something wonderful we are waiting for
created but not-present
yet
like the mouth of Bilaam’s donkey speaking
when it came time for the animal to speak
it spoke

I don’t think he was a magician or a sorceror either
though Joshua did [Joshua 13:22]
not magic we are yearning for
we are waiting for science
we are yearning for discovery
my daughter told this to the guys in the legislature
but they do not think that far
they do not see the future
and they have false certainty about the past
when it’s time when it’s time
they will never get that
it’s always God’s time don’t they know
aha – God says – here it comes
we built it in at the beginning
it was created so to speak to appear in its time
and you will not interfere with that
I have made miracles already

Bilaam was like Job
a prophet among the nations [Tanna debei Eliahu 28]
the world can never accuse us
of monopolizing prophecy
would that they were all prophets
there are so few of them nowadays
within and without the camp

In the hospital the old rebbe said
is that we are doing?
just giving language to what we know?
take the just out of that sentence, I said.
we are giving language
to what we know
a vocabulary
naming

I really loved the tents of those people
said Bilaam in his most famous passage
we quote him first thing in the prayers
you know how the tents were [Baba Batra 87a]
not one tent opening looking into any other tent opening
community and individuality
we worked it out as a people

As a person —
ma tovu oholekha Yaakov
how good are your tents O Jacob
the singular
respect the individual
mishkenotekha the places where you dwell O Israel
— the peoplehood the community
we worked out the confluence of the two

That’s what Bilaam saw and that’s what he blessed
here is your blessing, Bilaam said
now you have words for it
first, you are already blessed

Secondly, you are bound to each other
none of your tents open onto one another
you are never alone when you are alone

I can’t see into your tent
but I know you’re there

jsg

From the third floor: commit

Hello. I am starting this blog. I like the way it looks and that I owe to my man Jeff Hirsch, who has also done all my CDs as well as my web site. He does so much for me. He makes my product look great because he gets what I am doing. He took that picture above of me playing my beloved oud. On my front porch. I hardly have to leave the house.

Everything I post will be at least three generations old, which is nothing for me. I rewrite constantly. I have a rule never to post or send anything without letting it sit a while. I have certain interests [obsessions] that I write about, feel free to respond. I think you have to register to do that. This is new to me, thanks.

Now the first piece I will share. It comes from a commitment I’ve taken on, to write a long piece every week based on the Torah of that time. I am about five weeks into the commitment as I write this, and so far the pieces have been successful. What it means to be successful, etc., I have thought about so I’ve written about that too. That piece is called Night Vision.

I bring these pieces out on Friday night in some form or other. I revisit them in our learning on Saturday morning for discussion of sources and such, then I rewrite them again that afternoon. I discern the sources, by the way, after I have written the pieces. Always.

I have learned from playing music about making the commit. I have also learned from Exodus 24:3 and following: the tell — write — read [re-read] sequence. I try to create an oral environment on Friday night. And with music, you make the commit as intention, you give yourself to it the hands follow. Here’s the piece about the commit [first a Prelude]:

Six weeks into the commit
I am sharing with you my offerings
this one different not the piece itself written for the week
but another piece that came out of the piece written for the week
one act of creativity engages another and this is the other
it arose yesterday after studying and learning
and feeling myself being inhaled into the text itself
becoming a letter a vowel a dot on the page
here is the piece
it’s called Night Vision
or it’s the night vision itself

Night Vision

We are six weeks into the commit
the commitment to offer up something good
every Shabbat from our holy guidebook

The necessity to make the commit
whether it be music or life of some other kind
the willingness to fail at it maybe more than to succeed
to fail and to fail and to fail and then to SUCCEED
both failure and success understood by its internal standard
which is demanding in an excellence way not an approval way

Not even an entertaining way only excellence
something good is what I said and I meant it
to call it what it is so that the success or failure with the commit
rises before me
also the success of failure
not a matter of subjectivity but what is known through a standard
familiar to the artist or the life-lived-thoroughly person
you know the one I mean the one attached to the tree of life

As we were discussing the mystery rule of Torah
the mystery mitzvah as it were if it were understood
we might understand
everything

And the question became how do we understand
the un-understood or maybe we should call it the
under-understood
we came to rest in a place none of us imagined before
we opened a sense of redemption through learning
through guidebook Torah I suppose in a way suggested by
the Sefas Emes* that applied to us more
than to the text itself

At that moment we had become a letter of the guidebook
a dot a vowel even a period a mark on the page
we became a letter of the text and it released us
from literal
the commentators we had come to understand
had not been so released
they were searching for symmetry
we arrived at a-symmetry

They explained in a perpendicular way why Moses deserved
or did not deserve to die the way he did
gazing into the Land from the distance
thinking it should have been me

Instead he died we are taught — there —
not a place, not a location but a how
how he died – he died as Miriam died in the guidebook
by the kiss of God
God sucked up their souls so to speak Moses and Miriam both
with a kiss

In God’s world they died a sensual death
they got inhaled into God’s breath through the Divine kiss
n’shikat Hashem
from God’s perspective they were taken to the heart like
a sweetheart

What can we make now of the frustrations of their lives
or our lives for that matter?
How frustrating at the end to have been
loved into death this way

What’s not integrated, what’s left undone in the story now
from God’s perspective
how could they have passed with more intimacy and gentleness
than with this holy kiss
through which they became one being with God

With the death of Miriam following on the heels
of the mystery rule of the guidebook
the mystery paradox of the ritual of purification
the very preparation of which defiles
how does the defiling action
purify?
this followed by the death of Miriam
gone the well that followed us through forty years
of Wilderness wandering
sustenance
with the death of Miriam
as she was inhaled into the mouth of God
do we mourn the absence of sustenance
the water that followed us the well that accompanied us
the Wilderness the Wilderness

We are moving over the threshold
without our sustenance
with the a-symmetry of the various stories that settled this week
not into harmony they are not logical these stories
they are not entirely mysteries either
they are a-symmetrical stories they do not converge
they perch a-symmetrical
we will not figure them
they will not unlock the secrets of the guidebook

They are the category of recoverable wisdom
gone for a moment
undeciphered for now
but understood known in night vision
at night you understand them you really do
at night you know what it is
not to penetrate this secret
it will not unravel
it is not entirely mysterious either

We are always waiting
for that recoverable wisdom
the elders all of them
they may return to us someday
with their recoverable wisdom
carrying it this their function
to carry that sacred load through our lives
so we remember them
the bearers of our recoverable wisdom

Sustaining like Miriam’s well of water
Like the water
Like Miriam herself.

jsg
shabbes chukkat

* the Sefas Emes, named after his book of commentary [Language of Truth], Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter the rebbe of Ger (near Warsaw), 1847 – 1905.

Commit: Shabbes Inspiration Korach 2

Here is my first share of a weekly piece
[thanks to dear Denisee for a
good edit]

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Korach [2]

Korach’s challenge
you have taken too much upon yourselves
the entire congregation is holy [Numbers 16:3]
We will see, said Moshe rabbeinu [16:5]
the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them all
Korach and all of them [16:31]
his challenge was personal
not principled. [Avot 5:17 ]

Once I was traveling in the Sinai
I put my ear to the earth and I heard
Moses and his Torah are true
we are liars. [Baba Batra 74a]

The mouth of the earth that opened
is one of ten miracles created bein hashemashot
between the suns at twilight
the end of Creation
outside of time so to speak
built into creation
at the end of the first day
before the Shabbes
between time
created then for the world to catch up to
as it were
like the mouth of the prophetic donkey
like Miriam’s well
the rainbow the manna the staff of Aaron
the shamir the writing and the pen and the tablets
some say the evil spirits
and the grave of Moses and the ram of Abraham
some also say the tongs
made from the tongs [Avot 5:9]

like transplantation
like science
like stem cells
like the saving of lives
in ways we cannot quite imagine
because the world is spinning fast fast
and what we know will in some dimly discerned future
outspin the world
then we will know
what we could not know
at the right time
the right time —

It is the hidden moon of Tammuz tonight
that hides the future this way
all the hidden possibilities that could save one of us
or all of us
some day.

O Hidden moon of Tammuz
O Master of Mirrors
let me see with the unclear mirror the dark images
let me see the moon there in the darkness
the images that are only discerned at night
by moonlight

God of the light and the dark
release me from distractions
bind me with invisible fibers to the deep story
the dark story the hidden story
the right words not the simple words
not the easy ones not even the sweet words
I want the true ones

Don’t sweet talk me
draw me into the deep
carry me not in your pocket
but sling me like a satchel
over your shoulder
let the truth plump like the moon
the dark moon the dark candle
the candle at the hearth with all its shadows

It’s the moon it’s the moon the dark candle
the reflected dark dark dark
light

jsg
Shabbes Korach