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, February 27, 2011

Vayakhel (Assembled) ויקהל

Non-Art Day
Moses assembled the entire Israelite community and said to them: "These are the things that God commanded you to do.  Do all your creative work in six days, but the seventh day shall be kept holy as a Sabbath, a day of complete rest for God." (Exodus 35:1, 2)
ויקהל משה את כל עדת בני ישראל ויאמר אלהם אלה הדברים אשר צוה יהוה לעשת אתם ששת ימים תעשה מלאכה וביום השביעי יהיה לכם קדש שבת שבתון ליהוה 

As we celebrated the birth of our grandson Avraham Matityahu, Miriam pointed out that Vayakhel will be his bar mitzvah portion in 13 years.
The baby was named for Mel's father and uncle at the brit, the ancient ritual of initiation into the Jewish people.
Reading Vayakhel to an assembled Jewish community from a hand-written torah scroll will be his rite of passage into manhood.
Unlike reading in western culture, a private silent act of the eyes, reading in Jewish life is a public act of chanting with full voice.
We photographed our new grandson the day he was born, his sister Elianne welcoming him home on the 3rd day, and the brit on the 8th day.
After holding the baby, Elianne took candlesticks, put a doily on her head, covered her eyes and sang the blessing over Sabbath candles.
If it wasn't weekday play but the real thing, lighting the candles would usher in a Non-Art Day in which we cease from all creative work.
While actively building the Tabernacle as a dwelling place for God, Moses said to the assembled community: "Stop on day 7!"
He taught that creating holy architecture in time takes precedence over building holy architecture in space. 
The indestructible time architecture of Shabbat has kept the Jewish people alive throughout millennia of wandering in troubled exile.   
On day 7, we honor the divine artist.  On day 8, we partner with God in continuing the process of creation.
On day 7, we leave the natural world the way we got it.  The brit on day 8 symbolizes the human act of intervening in nature.
The assembled community celebrating the brit said to the parents, our son Moshe and his wife Carmit:
"May you merit raising him to read the torah on his being bar mitzvah, to be wed under the hupa, and to enjoy a life of good deeds."
שתזכו לגדלו לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים    

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