Friday, October 5, 2012

“Drawing Water” ~ an inner prayer journey into an ancient festival

18 Tishrei 5773, Thurs., at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, PA

Dearest Sweet Beloved Divine Parent,

Thank You for the kindness of a few moments to commune with You. Thank You for allowing humans to commune with You. It’s a tremendous gift. Without this gift I’d feel so isolated and lonely. This gift keeps reinforcing that no matter what, Someone really cares about me ~ Someone really loves me. You care for even the lowliest, even the simplest. Perhaps, it’s best to rephrase that and say that You care especially for the lowliest and simplest. I know that it says in the Bar Yochai song, “Let us make man...’ was said for your sake”. The Talmud also relates that it was worth creating the entire world just for [the saintly] Rabbi Chaninah ben Dosa.

Yet despite this, we find that Rabbi Shimon [bar Yochai] was sent back to the cave for disturbing the life pattern of the lowly and simple people. Rabbi Chaninah himself only reached his levels of saintliness for embodying the qualities of the lowly and simple people. [Our Master] Moses’ soul was exalted beyond all the people. Yet, he was only granted prophecy for their sake. The holy [Rabbi Israel] Ba’al Shem Tov spent a lot of time with the lowly and simple. He lauded their ways to his more sophisticated disciples.

We are now in the midst of the “Celebration of Water Drawing”. In the Torah portion of “Nitzavim”, which is always read on the Sabbath morning prior to Rosh Hashanah, Moses tells the Jews, “You are standing today before the Eternal Being, your Lord...”. The Talmud comments that “today” means the day of great judgment, i.e. Rosh Hashanah. Then Moses continues with a list of societal roles, “Your heads, your tribes, your elders … till your water drawers.”

The “water drawers” are mentioned as the very last role because they were the lowliest, the least appreciated. Yet what was celebrated on the festival of Succoth [in Jerusalem’s Holy Temple]? “Water Drawing”. It’s so joyous that we still celebrate it, even if it’s only a simulation of the original.

Gathered in this celebration were certainly many “water drawers” ~ the underappreciated common folk  forgotten in history, who came to celebrate the pilgrimage festival in the Temple. The great sages wouldn’t communicate to these people with sophisticated teachings, but, rather with gestures and antics. They brought them the Torah in the entertainment suited as a teaching tool for the common folk; [just] like the Ben Ish Chai whose every gesture during his Purim dramatization for his community was laced with the depth of Kabbalah. Yet, even a small child was transfixed.

Thank You [for this prayer journal session] …

Love and Kisses …

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