Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reflections on י-ה-ה-ו

Judaism's monthly cycle begins in the Spring with the month of Nissan. The second month of the cycle is called Iyar. The Divine Name for Iyar is י-ה-ה-ו. It’s almost like the name for Nissan which is י-ה-ו-ה. The only difference is the inversion of the last two letters. The ו-ה becomes ה-ו.  

 י-ה-ו-ה is an acronym for the verse, “May the heavens celebrate and the earth rejoice!” (Psalms 96:11).   י-ה-ה-ו is an acronym for the verse, “May the praiser be praised, enlighten and know” (Jeremiah 9:23).  י-ה-ו-ה’s acronym addresses the universal ~ the heavens and earth. י-ה-ה-ו’s acronym addresses the personal ~ a praiser whose praised, and someone becomes enlightened and knowledgeable ~ maybe the praiser or maybe the one who considers the lesson behind may the praiser be praised. Regardless, here the subject is a person, not the universe (heavens and earth).

Each month has as its Divine Name a unique permutation (or letter scramble) of י-ה-ו-ה. All the Divine energy found in all the permutations of י-ה-ו-ה get their initial burst of energy from  י-ה-ו-ה, during the month of Nissan. Then the next eleven months are revelations of various aspects of this Name. It's like the month of Nissan is the wetting of a towel and the next eleven months are about wringing out the towel in eleven different contortions. So in Nissan it will simply drip freely, without effort. Then in the following months, various contortions will wring out the more deeply embedded liquid from various regions of the towel.

In the month of Iyar, it seems like the universal blessings of Nissan, י-ה-ו-ה, become personal. They reach down from their universal perch into the domain of the personal. In fact, the two months are so closely tied that there is even a second Passover in Iyar - when in Temple times, those who needed to, could bring a fully legitimate Passover offering. Unlike Nissan, since Iyar is more personal, it comes along with an element of education and work ~ a big theme in the Omer count.


In י-ה-ו-ה the maturing male letter is the ו, while the maturing female letter is the second ה. Depending on how they are viewed, they are either brother and sister to each other or husband and wife to each other ~ in the mystery of the appellation given to the woman in The Song of Songs, “My sister, my bride”.

The other two letters, י-ה, are the parent letters which birth and nurture the ו-ה ~ the sibling couple. The י is the father letter and the first ה is the mother letter.

In Nissan’s Name, י-ה-ו-ה, the masculine receives more nurturing than the feminine, as the ו is closer to the parent letters י-ה. In Iyar’s Name, י-ה-ה-ו, the feminine receives more nurturing than the masculine, as the second ה is closer to the parent letters י-ה.

The ו has more to do with the universal. Among other indications why, it represents expansion into the cardinal six directions of the universe. So it makes sense that Nissan has more to do with the universal.

In contrast, the letter ה, being feminine, has more to do with the personal ~ as in personal growth. So it makes sense that Iyar is more personally oriented.


The Divine Name for Iyar is י-ה-ה-ו. I have noticed that the two feminine ה letters are surrounded by the two masculine letters י and ו. It bears the appearance of the masculine cradling the feminine. It’s a precious feminine centerpoint surrounded by an expansive masculine context. It’s like the feminine afterglow-filled void lodged in the midst of the Infinite Light. In a sense, this is actually the proper placement of masculine and feminine. As a pearl lodged within flesh of an oyster, the feminine is supposed to be a precious centerpoint within a masculine context ~ as in Psalm 45, “All the honor of the princess is within.”

I wonder what’s unique about Iyar which allows for this particular placement of letters י-ה-ה-ו. This month is intentionally sandwiched between two major Jewish Holidays ~ Passover and Shavuot. It’s actually intended as a bridge between them. In a general sense, the י can be seen as the energy of Passover. It’s raw and seminal! Plus, the Lurianic meditations teach that the maturing male ו grows to the level of father י on the first night/day of Passover. However, as the light of growth is raw and seminal, it lacks stability and doesn’t stay. As receiving vessels are absent, it can’t process.

The processing happens over the next 49 days, during the Omer count. One of the main themes of femininity is processing ~ the womb which develops a fetus. Then the light returns on the 50th day to stay, on Shavuot, even stronger and more solidly than it initially appeared. So the  two feminine ה letters symbolize wombs which process. Perhaps, each ה letter is for a different part of the Omer count.

Since the whole month of Iyar is dedicated to this womb/processing period, it’s symbolized by the two ה’s in the middle, bridging the active masculine revelations of both Holidays. It’s zodiac sign is the ox, pulling the plow to work over mother earth for seeding, gestation and growth. It’s a womb month, a month when so much happens to prepare for birth.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Mystique of Prosaic

The mystique of exoticism,
 The lure of the strange,
Drives the heart wild,
 With passions for the unknown.

Many have gone for long,
 Chasing after emptiness,
Disguised as substance,
 Only to vanish into mirage...

What it became up close,
 Was a heap of prosaic rubble,
Whose dust vanished,
 In the wakeful winds.

As each forey commenced,
 Freshness n’ renewal rushed in,
As a gushing stream...
 Suddenly, “A coming to life!”

Once the clouds n’ shrouds,
 Gave way to bright clarity,
The dawning light shown,
 A goal which wasn't;
Leaving the seeker,
 Tired n’ life ebbing...

However,  in the exhale,
 Born in defeat n’ surrender,
Comes a fresh spirit,
 A hopeful renewal of life.

There's new awareness,
 In the gift of the nearby,
Where the formerly prosaic,
 Becomes ripe with depth.
The “simple n’ easy”,
 Speak with unanticipated soul.

The seeker seems sought,
 As surroundings come alive,
Speaking aloud in “miracles”,
 The language of simply being.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

To Ask & to Re-Ask !

How we view life is huge!!!!!! On it hinges how we view passing on. Do we view life in continuity or as cessation? Such questions are important, as they bring us to the next stages along our journey. Even if we think we have the answer, we must re-ask the question. The Passover Seder teaches us this. Each year, we’re asking the same four questions. But is it the same four questions? Is yesterday’s four questions asked in childhood, the same as those four questions asked in adolescence, the same as those four questions asked in early adulthood, the same as those four questions asked in middle age, the same as those four questions asked in old age?

Yes each year, new life experience makes “the same old questions” somehow different questions. Yes each year, new life experience makes “the same old answers” somehow different answers. As we become different, while the same, so the same questions somehow become different, while the same, and the same answers somehow become different, while the same. Life’s experiences season us into vessels to perceive the same differently; as the sleepy perceive differently than the awake, the satisfied perceive differently than the hungry and those whose questions are answers perceive differently than those whose answers are questions.

And so the ever-present question of the continuity of life necessitates a re-asking! What does it mean to be alive and what would it mean for life to continue? The Jewish Mystics left us with a formula, originally from Job, to springboard into spiritual questions, “From my flesh I perceive divinity”. The meaning is to look at one’s own organism first and work to the answer from that starting point.

What I see today, when working in that direction is that there’s a general soul of humanity. The Jewish people are a unique section of that soul, animating humanity’s heart (in the classical understanding of the term). As cells are alive via the life force which animates the body, so I am a cell animated by the soul of my People. Just as when a cell passes on, so the life force which animates does not go out of existence, but joins back with the general flow of the body’s life force, only to eventually animate another another cell, maybe a whole different kind of cell, so too with the soul which animates my body today. We’re sparks of a larger soul or life force on a journey.

This not only applies to humans, Every flower on a tree born this time of the year is a unique projection and animation from the tree’s own life force, the tree’s own soul. If fruited, the tree will extend more of it’s life force into it. If faded, the life force will be drawn back into the tree.

Our lives continue on and on eternally, not because we are isolated identities, but because we are little bits of an identity much, much larger - as a single cell among billions sharing from the body’s larger soul, as branches share life from a tree. So a cell, even while expressing its own unique tiny soul is within holistic continuity with its mega-soul.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On the Spiritual Value of Evolution

Philly Willie

London has Big Ben,
 Philly has Willie Penn,

Perched atop City Hall,
 He has weathered it all.

As Winter opens to Spring,
 About him birds finally sing.

Gentle breezes softly blow,
 As ambient sunlight bursts aglow.

But of what joy is a season,
 To a statue who can’t reason?


In Reflection:

The Lurianic work “The Gate of Meditation”  is about the growth of everything to become vessels for God’s Light. It’s so exciting!!!!!!!! I am particularly thrilled that I can study from it’s wellsprings with my Wife. To me, becoming vessels for God’s Light is why the human capacity for evolution is soooooo important. What evolution means is that we have a plasticity - we can “become”. We can grow into greater vessels for His Light.

Even without evolution, we each have a capacity for growth but within a certain naturally circumscribed range. What evolution does is that it extends us beyond that range and possibly leads to a kind of “group growth” in roughly similar unison.

One may wonder, “Well it’s very nice that humans evolve into something more for the sake of spiritual growth, an increased capacity to bear greater spiritual light. However, how does this change the universe - the subject of the Lurianic writings on cosmic repair?”

Truthfully, as we perceive the universe, so it is! Our growth in perception is identical to the growth of the universe. So for example, the statue of William Penn atop City Hall, weathers it all. However, since it’s perception is limited to what molecules can perceive, so despite being draped in the sunlight of Spring, it knows nothing of this warm sunlight. Now, let’s say the statue evolved into a tree. Suddenly, the surrounding sunlight becomes very meaningful. It will grow branches and leaves upward to meet the sunlight. By its movement and change, it will express new awarenesses. Now if the tree evolved, into an animal, at the slightest discomfort it would crawl down from atop its perch. And if human, it would try to find its way into City Hall below to make some desperately needed political reforms.

At each stage Willie Penn, perceived the same world very differently - all because he spiritually evolved. His perception capacity grew, along with the intelligence and sentience to process that particular perceptive level. So it could also be claimed that as he spiritually grew, he noticed his world grow too. But, really nothing changed about his world. All that happened was that he became something spiritually more. Similarly, the reason why the world about us looks as it does, is because we are who we are.

Yet, we have the capacity to spiritually evolve - to grow. With the help of various technologies, biological or otherwise, God has given us the capacity to self evolve. This capacity will only grow with time. This could bring the kind of growth changes within a few years that theoretically could have taken millions otherwise. I don’t necessarily see evolution as the exclusive province of darwinian thought. (Also, my usage of such a notion does not mean that I necessary subscribe to the scientific opinion that creation happened via evolution.) I see in it the capacity to build of human perception which is ultimately identical with building of the universe humans inhabit.

With new perceptions and the necessary intelligence to process them, so much of what we know about reality will also grow. It’s also possible that we’ll grow beyond our current level of free choice. Also, many of our questions will instantly fall away, to be replaced with whole sets of new ones. We will experience of the love of beingness, with a depths never before perceived. It will be like experiencing God’s breath, blowing calming breezes of love, on us wherever we are.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Philly Willie

London has Big Ben,
 Philly has Willie Penn,

Perched atop City Hall,
 He has weathered it all.

As Winter opens to Spring,
 About him birds finally sing.

Gentle breezes softly blow,
 As ambient sunlight bursts aglow.

But of what joy is a season,
 To a statue who can’t reason?