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, March 27, 2011

Shemini (Eighth) שמיני

Mischievous Angels
God spoke to Moses and to Aaron, telling them to speak to the Israelites, saying: These are the creatures that you may eat from among all the animals that are upon the earth. (Leviticus 11:1)

Living in Brooklyn, it seemed that mischievous angels had planted kosher shops in our neighborhood uprooted from Jerusalem and Bnai Brak.
Mel made paintings of food shops reflecting a misplaced reality and digitized angels ascended from fragmented images of other shops.
Angel and food are written with the same four Hebrew letters to teach us that angels are spiritual messages arising from everyday life. מאלך מאכל
Jews survived centuries displaced from their homeland by creating discrete communities of kosher food eaters.
Back home, we photographed a meat restaurant in Bnai Brak, an ice cream shop in Jerusalem, and our favorite pizzeria in Petah Tikva.     
This torah portion provides a lengthy list that separates mammals, birds, fish and insects that Jews can eat from those they cannot eat.
Through discerning what is kosher every time we eat, we develop skills for distinguishing what can add holiness to all our life’s choices.
Restrictions on eating meat are designed to keep alive a sense of reverence for life until a time when a vegetarian diet will prevail.
The wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and a calf, a young lion and a lamb will walk together, and a little child shall lead them.  A cow and bear will graze and their young ones will lie down together; and a lion will eat hay like cattle. (Isaiah 11:6-7)
We end each week with the havdalah (meaning 'separation') ceremony honoring the divine act of making distinctions:
"Between sacred and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and other nations, between the seventh day and six days of work."

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