Down-to-Earth Spirituality

Unlike the Torah narrative that begins “In the Beginning,” a blog begins at the end. This "Torah Tweets" blog displays its narrative in reverse chronological order with the most recent post appearing first. The blog was created to reverse the order of the blog posts in this blog to begin in the beginning.

See the blogs for the books Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media and Photograph God: Creating a Spiritual Blog of Your Life Both books invite you to explore creative ways to photograph all that happens in your everyday life while crafting a vibrant dialogue between your life story and the biblical narrative.

Postdigital Narrative on Spiritual Dimensons of Everyday Life ///// "For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp." (Deuteronomy 23:15) ///// "Judaism does not direct its gaze upward but downward ... does not aspire to a heavenly transcendence, nor does it seek to soar upon the wings of some abstract, mysterious spirituality. It fixes its gaze upon concrete, empirical reality permeating every nook and cranny of life. The marketplace, the factory, the street, the house, the mall, the banquet hall, all constitute the backdrop of religious life." (R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik) ///// "It is not enough for the Jew to rest content with his own spiritual ascent, the elevation of his soul in closeness to G-d, he must strive to draw spirituality down into the world and into every part of it - the world of his work and his social life - until not only do they not distract him from his pursuit of G-d, but they become a full part of it." (R. Menachem M. Schneerson) ///// "If there is a religious agency in our lives, it has to appear in the manner of our times. Not from on high, but a revelation that hides itself in our culture, it will be ground-level, on the street, it'll be coming down the avenue in the traffic, hard to tell apart from anything else." (E. L. Doctorow) ///// "The first message that Moses chose to teach the Jewish people as they were about to enter the Land of Israel was to fuse heaven to earth, to enable the mundane to rise up and touch the Divine, the spiritual to vitalize the physical, not only as individuals but as an entire nation." (R. Abraham Y. Kook)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vayeshev (Settled) וישב

Love and Respect
A man found him blundering about….  The man asked, "What are you looking for?" "I am looking for my brothers" he replied. "Perhaps you can tell me where they are."  (Genesis 37:15,16)
 וימצאהו איש והנה תעה.... וישאלהו האיש לאמר מה תבקש.  ויאמר את אחי אנכי מבקש הגידה נא לי אפוה הם.

Mel photographed his experience of Jerusalem's Central Bus Station passing through it on his way to teaching at Emuna College.
People rushing in all directions seem to be blundering about looking for their brothers and sisters without finding them.
In everyday Israeli speech, Jews often address each other as ahi (my brother). 
Can we find each other as ahi despite different backgrounds, lifestyles and viewpoints?
Miriam's brother Ezra and his sons-in-law wear the knitted kippot of religious Zionists that are sold in the bus station.
Her sister Channa's husband and their son and sons-in-law wear the black fedoras of Lubavicher Hasidim.
On Shabbat, her brother Hans' sons and sons-in-law don the fur strimels of Belzer Hasidim.
They all love and respect each other.
Hanukah, the Festival of Lights that begins this week, teaches us to respect opposite viewpoints.
Shamai proposes lighting 8 candles on the first night, removing one each night until only one remains on the 8th day of Hanukah.
Hillel proposes lighting one candle each night until all 8 candles burn brightly on the last night of Hanukah.
Shamai's conceptual view makes logical sense since the full cruse of oil found for the Temple rededication was used up over the 8 days.
Hillel's aesthetic view teaches that it is more beautiful to add light to the world each day than removing it.   

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