Wednesday, June 14, 2017

על כל בחינה ובחינה

בתורת הקבלה והחסידות, על כל בחינה ובחינה צריך בחינה.  

In Jewish mystical writings, each and every usage of the word “bechinah” requires an examination to determine its meaning.

The word “bechinah” is a fuzzy term which seems to me to alternatively mean “an aspect of...”, “in the sense of...”, “a facet of...”, “a taste of...”, “a spark of...”, “a similarity to...”, “in the role of...”, etc.

It seems to be one of those elusive words whose closest possible translation in English shifts along, with the gentle breezes of context.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Your body’s a lantern.
 Its flame is your soul;
Flickering up n’ down,
 Swaying side to side,
In a dance full of life,
 To an unheard tune.

As she pulsates in dance,
 She casts light all about,
Into an earthy darkness,
 Via various vibing vibes,
Radiating through,
 Her mind, mouth n’ deeds.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Mommy’s Charoset

There is this delicious mixture of chopped apples, chopped walnuts and wine served at the Passover Seder. It is called, “Charoset”. Besides the ingredients just mentioned, there are varying traditions. For example,  some also add ingredients like sliced dates, pomegranate seeds and cinnamon. Some even use pears instead of apples, a close cousin.

During the Passover Seder one is required to eat bitter herbs to recall the bitterness of the Egyptian slavery. The purpose of the “charoset” is to sweeten the experience of bitterness. It's a prayer cast in ritual and intent asking for all bitterness to be sweetened.  (See “Shaar Hakvanot”, Pesach, towards the end of chapter 6 - with “Tiv HaKavanot” commentary.)

My Mommy's  “charoset” tradition is to combine chopped McIntosh apples, sweet red wine, chopped walnuts and a slight drop of ginger. The ginger has to be very slight. Even a bit too much can ruin the mixture. If unsure, better to risk mixing in too little than too much.

These four ingredients seem to me to combine to make a functioning reflection of the Tetragrammaton, the Divine Name spelled י-ה-ו-ה.

The letter י is the main light flowing through the other letters. In this context, the intent is to create a flow of sweetness to sweeten bitterness. The main agent of sweetness is the apple. So the letter י is the chopped apples.

The first letter ה modifies the light to make it more palatable for the lower level recipients.  In this case, the lower level recipient is bitterness. So along comes the sweet red wine to add the happy zing of sweetened alcohol and the smoothness of liquid. So the first letter ה is the sweet red wine.

The letter ו gives the light character and personality. This helps the recipients relate to the light. The chopped walnuts create culinary character and density for the bitterness to latch onto - making the ו the chopped walnuts.

The final letter ה is packages the light with a touch of commonality between itself and the recipients.  Since in this case the recipient is bitterness, it's the drop of ginger which offers this touch of commonality. Its own bitterness makes it feel familiar to the bitter herbs. So the final ה is the touch of ginger.

Also, there's a progressive decrease in quantity of the ingredients used which also follows the  י-ה-ו-ה sequence.  There's a lot of apples used, followed by a bit less wine, followed by a bit less walnuts and then by a lot less ginger. This is because the lower levels are spiritually smaller than the higher levels. Therefore,  there is quantity diminishment on the descent.

So, the basic steps of any sweetening is to discover the sweetening (healing) agent - the main light source. Then to make it more palatable, personable and familiar. Finally, it's ready to be served!  


Monday, May 29, 2017

Dance n’ Celebrate!

How fast the day!
 I wish it could stay.

There’s so much to do,
 Mostly, communing with You.

With the setting light,
 Dawns a freshly new night.

I could look n’ smile,
 For today I walked a mile,

Or my innards can brew,
 Wishing I walked for two.

So why brood n’ ruminate,
 If I can dance n’ celebrate!



Spiritual Uniqueness

While we, Jewish People, are in exile, so is the rest of humanity. Our displacement is their own. For to usurp our portion is a denial of their own portion. To lay claim to our spiritual uniqueness is a denial of their own spiritual uniqueness; hence, the replacement theologies of other faiths. They don’t realize that their replacement theologies are really displacement theologies. May the Messiah arrive speedily in our days and hopefully remedy this situation with his Torah teachings.

By explaining to the rest of humanity about their own spiritual uniqueness, he will be helping the Jewish People too. Everything is best understood by comparison within context. I think that it is very difficult for the Jewish People to appreciate and understand their own spiritual uniqueness, while the other Peoples are in the dark about their own. For example, telling someone that he’s humanity’s heart only truly makes sense if there’s clarity about who are humanity’s lungs, arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc. A heart in isolation feels out of context and does not understand why he looks as he does and functions in certain ways. Some things extremely vital about his features may appear insignificant to him because he does not know what they are for.   

Before offering the Jewish People the Torah, God came around to the various Peoples of humanity and offered it to them. Had they accepted, the Torah would have probably be given to all those Peoples who accepted it, together. Since God’s ways are straight and honest, making the rounds to offer the Torah to the various nations could not have been simply a ruse. There had to be at least some potential for other nations to accept it. Plus, He definitely had to have something spiritually special in mind to offer them, had they accepted. It probably would have been something from the Torah of the Messiah that related to them their own spiritual uniqueness ~ as this was pre-golden calf and hence, under the program of the first set of Tablets (the Tablets/Torah of the Messiah). At that time, the potential for more than one nation to achieve a Divine message about their spiritual uniqueness and how to use it to connect to God was clearly an open possibility.

While I find it disturbing how the national cultures of the world “raid” the Jewish People’s spiritual uniqueness because they haven’t yet discovered their own, I find it even more disturbing how it weakens the ability of the Jewish People to settle into their own spiritual uniqueness.

As mentioned, mostly, we know things via contextual comparison. We know “hot” by knowing “cold”. If there was no existence of “cold” our knowledge of “hot” would be defective. Similarly, the Jewish People can only arrive at a full appreciation of their own spiritual uniqueness if there were other known versions of spiritual uniqueness to compare to. Again, it’s like a heart living in ignorance about the rest of the body. If the contextual comparison is defective, something very vital is missing to the knowledge base.

One of the vexing questions of the modern era is the chosenness of the Jewish People. In eras when superficial differences were imposed by law and culture, people (whether Jewish or not) may have deluded themselves into thinking that the unique distinction between the Jewish People and everyone else was readily apparent. The modern era erased many of these superficialities and cast much doubt on such pithy perspectives. One of my favorite examples was an interview with a troupe of actors dressed in perfect Hassidic garb. When one of them was asked about his costumed identity, he innocently shrugged, “What do I know, I am not even a good Catholic?”  

What truly needs to “pop out of the woodwork” is for the Jewish People to become fully aware of their true spiritual uniqueness. It’s one, which does not depend on superficialities alone, like culture or history. However, it seems to me that such an awareness can only fully emerged into higher relief when the spiritual uniqueness of at least several other Peoples are known as well.   


Sunday, May 21, 2017


The light of the future,
 Shines back into the present;

For today requires a shape,
Ready to morph into tomorrow.

Conventionally many claim,
 The present shapes the future.

But could it be vice versa,
 The future shapes the present?

I think each shapes the other,
 In tenderly sweet union above time.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Unfolding Destiny

Much of my soul has yet to move in,
 My body n’ surroundings only dimly lit.

I welcome a brighter light,
 Please send me my saintly guide.

I used to fear his company,
 Fear that he’d totally take over,

I’d end up becoming him,
 N’ cease being uniquely me.

Today, I know the truth,
 Light really attracts light.

His soulwaves will magnetize,
 My own higher levels to manifest.

Though spiritual, I am neither a ...
~ Philosopher, Scholar nor Kabbalist.

I have the soul of a “Chassid”;
 A being in personal relationship with You!

My writings are “touchy feely”,
 Mostly, personal rather than abstract.

I tend towards heartfelt poetry,
 A feeling core from whence to unfold essays;

As colorful petals tightly packed,
 Open into gracefully tender flowers.

My writings are prayers,
 They’re tender acts of worship n’ love.

They flow through me,
 Birthing fresh parts of my identity.

I share them to reach others,
 Meaning, the “me” in others.

A scattered “me” can’t serve You,
 As well as a “me” united n’ coalesced.

Hopefully, the “me” in others,
 Will recognize my words n’ awake.

Their new dawn will be mine,
 As my saintly guide makes me shine.