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, February 15, 2011

Tetzaveh (Command) תצוה

Growing Gold
Make an altar to burn incense of acacia wood…. Cover it with a layer of pure gold. (Exodus 30:1, 3)
Make the carrying poles of acacia wood and cover them with gold. (Exodus 30:5)
Make an ark of acacia wood….  Cover it with a layer of pure gold on the inside and outside. (Exodus 25:10, 11)
Make two carrying poles of acacia wood and cover them with a layer of gold. (Exodus 25:13)

Our son Ron changed hats from last week as the rabbi at his sister's wedding to this week as a biologist exploring the desert with us.
Ron teaches about interrelationships between Torah and science at the Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies in the Negev.
We drove with our son Ari and his wife Julie into the desert mountains where Ron lives to search for acacia trees.
Hiking in the desert, we suddenly caught sight of a single acacia tree isolated in the valley as we came over the top of hill.
We walked down the rocky hill photographing the tree as we got closer.  Miriam sat down to rest under the tree.
Ron explained that the tree is more than a thousand years old from tree ring studies of other trees in the Negev.
As we walked back, we asked why acacia wood was the primary material used to build the ark housing the Ten Commandments and the altar.
Why were such significant objects only coated with gold rather than being made of pure gold?
As a stable element that neither tarnishes nor rusts, gold symbolizes the eternal values of the written Torah.
The acacia tree symbolizes the living, growing, dynamic oral Torah that engages all generations in creative dialogue.
Carrying the ark and altar by their gold coated acacia poles brings fresh meaning to eternal values at all times and in every place. 
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)   

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