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)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Metzorah (Slanderer) מצרע

Goldstone Lost in the Amazon
He shall take the live bird together with cedar wood, crimson wool and hyssop….  And he shall set the live bird free upon the open fields. (Leviticus 14:6, 7)
את הצפר החיה יקח אתה ואת עץ הארז ואת שני התולעת ואת האזב.... ושלח את הצפר החיה על פני השדה

Rav Kook reads Metzorah as Motzi Shem Ra (to create a bad name for someone), a slanderer who defames others by his speech (lashon hara).
The slanderer not only afflicts his own body, clothes and house through lashon hara, but he threatens society through breakdown of trust.
Therefore, he is banished from his community to live in isolation and seclusion in the wild among animals and plants that speak no evil.  
Metzorah follows Shemini (kosher animals) to teach that what comes out of our mouths can be far more detrimental than what goes in.  (Rabbi Yisrael Salanter)
Rabbi S. R. Hirsch explains that the mighty cedar and hyssop weed with sheep wool and crimson bug dye symbolize all plant and animal life.
When banishment therapy has succeeded, cedar and hyssop are bound with a red woolen thread to symbolize rising above amoral nature.     
A bird flying free represents the potential to tweet truthful words that confirm the metzorah's rehabilitation from crowing hateful lies.   
Our grandson Or Alexenberg photographed migrating birds flying up from Lake Yeroham, a short bike ride from his Negev home.
This week, Or completed his service in Israel Defense Forces as Metzorah Goldstone acknowledged his malicious slander against the IDF.   
Miriam was born and lived until she was 9 in Suriname at the northern edge of the Amazon jungle, 250 times the size of Israel.
The biodiversity of the Amazon jungle is unmatched.  It is home to far more species of flora and fauna than anyplace else on Planet Earth.
The Toucan, the greatest big-mouth bird, lives there.     

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