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, May 15, 2011

Behar (At Mt. Sinai) בהר

Action Angels & Bicycles
(Guest blogger for Behar is our sabra grandson Or Alexenberg.  Behar is his bar mitzvah parsha.  He is a talented photographer and serious cyclist who completed his service in an IDF intelligence unit last week.)
I am God your Lord who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan. (Leviticus 25:38)אני יהוה אלהיכם אשר הוצאתי אתכם מארץ מצרים
When you come into the land that I give you, the land shall observe a Sabbath rest for God. For 6 years you may sow your field and for 6 years you may prune your vineyard and you may gather in its crop. But the 7th year shall be a complete rest for the land. (Leviticus 25:1-4)כי תבאו אל הארץ אשר אני נתן לכם ושבתה הארץ שבת ליהוה שש שנים תזרע שדך ושש שנים תזמר כרמך ואספת את תבואתה ושנה השביעת שבת שבתון

Behar evokes loving care for the Land of Israel as we celebrate our 63rd Independence Day more than 3 millennia after our exodus from Egypt.
Miriam remembers her mother baking and decorating cakes for Israel's 1st Independence Day celebration in Hibat Tzion (Love of Zion).
In Behar, we are led from the exodus to receiving the torah at Mt. Sinai to entering our land with ecological consciousness.
Rav Kook links the Sabbatical Year to the Sabbath Day, the 7th year to the 7th day.  Both invite us to enjoy the world the way we got it.
Six days you shall do your work and on the 7th day you must rest. (Exodus 23:12)
Judaism is a way of life that emphasizes action, working and planting.  However, 7th day and 7th year are Ecology Day and Ecology Year.
Angels in the World of Action (Asiyah) are bits and bytes of consciousness of everyday life called ofanim. Bicycles are ofanayim.
We act as partners of God in continuing creation for 6 days and 6 years.  On the 7th, we stop our intervention and enjoy God's creations.
Walking in the Negev desert where we lived for 7 years, we saw divinity in the sudden sight of a tiny flower blooming in the parched earth.
Our rabbi-biologist son Ron still lives there where he has been teaching the torah roots of ecological consciousness for 20 years.
Ron's oldest son Or uses the most ecologically-friendly mode of transportation to bicycle from the verdant Galilee to the arid Negev.
Or loves the Land of Israel from the Banyas waters to the desert hills to the oasis lake at the edge of his home town of Yeroham. 
Through his camera lens, Or reveals the beauty of a camel in the wilderness and a donkey and stray dogs that wandered into a playground.
Or photographed Lake Yeroham from a distant hilltop and the 63rd Independence Day celebration in the Yeroham town center.

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