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)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Emor (Say) אמר

Photographing God
You shall count for yourselves 7 complete weeks after the day following the Passover holiday when you brought the omer as a wave offering, until the day after the seventh week you shall count 50 days. (Leviticus 23:15-16) וספרתם לכם ממחרת השבת מיום הביאכם את עמר התנופה שבע שבתות תמימת תהיינה עד ממחרת השבת השביעת תספרו חמישים יום
God is the compassion, the strength, the beauty, the success, the splendor, and the foundation of everything in heaven and earth. (1 Chronicles 29:11) לך יהוה הגדלה חסד והגבורה והתפארת והנצח וההוד כי כל יסוד בשמים ובארץ 

We count each of the 49 days from when we were freed from our enslavement in Egypt until we arrived at Mt. Sinai – from Passover to Shavuot.
Unlike slaves who live repeated days of drudgery, free people can feel and appreciate the unique character to each day.
As each of the 49 days is counted, it is given a different name integrating one of the 7 divine attributes into one of 7 divine attributes.
These attributes (7 of the 10 sephirot in kabbalah) are:
Hesed: Compassion / Largess / Loving All
Gevurah: Strength / Judgment / Setting Limits
Tifert: Beauty / Aesthetic Balance / Inner Elegance
Netzakh: Success / Orchestration / Eternity
Hod: Splendor / Gracefulness / Magnificence
Yesod: Foundation / Integrating All/ Gateway to Action
Malkhut: the world of action in space and time.
Mel photographed a Greek fishing boat in Elouda that brought to mind the gevurah of his great-grandfather Elchanan, a fisherman in Salonika.
After generations in Greece, Elchanan had the strength to take his family in his boat to Odessa where it was better for Jews 150 years ago. 
Elchanan's son Mordechai left Odessa for America in 1886 where his son Abraham was born. Mel (Menahem ben Avraham) moved to Israel in 1969.

Mel asked his students at Ariel University to photograph each of the 6 attributes of feeling realized in their everyday world of malkhut.
Keren saw hesed as an elderly man responding to feral cats hungry for love and food.  He pets each one and portions out food for them.
Roni photographed the birth of a calf, an awesome event expressing tifert, deeply felt beauty of seeing new life coming into the world.
Esti's father breeds parrots.  She sees netzakh as a parrot chick succeeding in freeing itself from its egg continuing the cycle of life.
Yael sees hod as the glorious feeling of young lovers kissing. She photographed the shadow of the event.
She reveals the link between the Hebrew word hod (splendor) and hed (echo). Yael sees a shadow as a visual equivalent of an echo in sound.
 Yesod is five generations of our family. We celebrated Eliad's first birthday and the 100th birthday of Miriam's mother Anna Benjamin.
Behind her are her granddaughter Iyrit and her great-granddaughter Inbal. Her great-great-grandson Eliad is sitting on Miriam's lap.

See more about photographing God at

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mel,
    Miriam amidst the image of the 4 generations of your family is breathtaking. God bless you all.
    hope to talk with you soon.