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)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beshalah (Sent out) בשלח

Multiple Pathways to Freedom
They arrived at Elim, where there were 12 springs of water and 70 date palms; they camped there by the water. (Exodus: 15:27)
ויבאו אילמה ושם שתים עשרה עינת מים ושבעים תמרים ויחנו שם על המים


We heard the Torah portion Beshalah read in our hotel synagogue by the water of the Dead Sea near the springs and date palms of an oasis.
Beshalah ushers in Tu Beshvat, the new year of the trees.
We enjoy the ad hoc assembly of Jews in Israeli hotel synagogues where guests representing 70 lands of origin join together as one people.
Torah commentator Rashi (11th century France) writes that the 12 springs symbolize the 12 Israelite tribes, representing alternative viewpoints.
The Talmud teaches that there are 70 facets to Torah each revealing a fresh viewpoint to be savored like date honey.
After crossing the Red Sea into the Sinai desert, Miriam led the Israelites in song and dance to celebrate multiple pathways to freedom.
It [Torah] is a tree of life for those who grasp it …. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace. (Proverbs 3:18, 17)
A righteous person will flourish like a date palm. (Psalm 92)
And he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, toward the stream spreading its roots, and it shall not notice the heat's arrival, and its foliage shall be fresh. (Jeremiah 17:8)  
We photographed the springs, date palms, cacti, and ibex in the Ein Gedi oasis in a most desolate desert at the lowest spot on Planet Earth.    

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