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)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kedoshim (Holy)

Higher Than Sky
For 3 years the fruit shall be forbidden to you, they shall not be eaten. In the 4th year, all its fruit shall be holy to praise God. And in the 5th year, you may eat its fruit and thus increase your crop. (Leviticus 19:23-25)  שלוש שנים יהיה לכם ערלים לא יאכל ובשנה הרביעת יהיה כל פריו קדש הלולים ליהוה ובשנה החמישת תאכלו את פריו להוסיף לכם תבואתו

While in Crete, we studied the Lubavitcher Rebbe's explanation that the fruit of a tree's first 4 years correspond to 4 worlds of being:
From the material world of Action, affective world of Formation, cognitive world of Creation, up to the holy spiritual world of Emanation.
However, the 5th year when the fruit can be eaten anywhere by anyone is the highest level, higher than holiness that transcends the world.
The fruit of the 5th year are most precious because they bring holiness down into the very midst of a world-affirming life.
Action (Asiyah) is our everyday world of ice-cream delivery trucks, motor scooters and merry-go-round horses. (We took all 6 photos in Crete.) 
Formation (Yetzirah) is the world of our feelings and emotions that manipulate our strings like many dangling Pinocchio marionettes.
Creation (Beriah) is the creative world of mind, of fresh insights, of deepening understanding, and of growing knowledge.
Emanation (Atzilut) is a holistic world in which divine light is revealed in transcendent realms.
The highest level is when we draw divine light down into our everyday world creating delicious deserts from the 5th year fruit.
 A traveler on horseback arrived in the days between high holidays. He joined morning services in a Hasidic synagogue, the only one in town.
This skeptic heard the Hasidim telling of their rebbe's ascent to heaven to plead the case of humanity in a face-to-face encounter with God.
When he saw the rebbe disappear, he ran out of the synagogue and discreetly trailed him as he swiftly walked home.
He saw him emerge from his home in workman's clothes with an ax in his belt and a rope draped over his shoulder.
The rebbe chopped down a small tree, cut off its branches and tied them in a bundle that he brought into a shack at edge of the village.
Peering in a window, the skeptic saw a frail old woman.  The rebbe put wood in her stove, cooked up a pot of stew and scrubbed the floor.
He spied the rebbe walk back home, change into his black brocade coat with a white woolen tallit, and slip back into the synagogue.
When he heard the Hasidim talking ecstatically about their rebbe's return from heaven, the skeptic added, "If not higher than that!"

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