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, June 29, 2011

Hukat (Decree) חקת

Miriam's Well
The entire Israelite community came to the Tzin Wilderness in the first month and the people stopped in Kadesh.  It was there that Miriam died and was buried. The people did not have any water, so they began demonstrating against Moses and Aaron.  (Numbers 20:1, 2) ויבאו בני ישראל כל העדה מדבר צן בחדש הראשון וישב העם בקדש ותמת שם מרים ותקבר שם ולא היה מים לעדה ויקחלו על משה ועל אהרון

In the Tzin Wilderness where Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, ended her journey, the 7 torah letters crowned with tagin ascended.
Little 3-pronged tagin crown letters of heavy words of hardship to lighten them for their heavenward ascent when the torah is read.
Hebrew letters in the everyday world meet tagin in the emotional world where compassion, strength, success, and splendor surround beauty.  
On a rocky cliff overlooking the Tzin Wilderness, Mel and his students attached tagin made of 3 balloons to each rainbow painted letter.
As the weather balloons filled with hydrogen (helium was not available) ascended, an eagle spiraled up around them.
Miriam's brothers ascended to mountain tops and engaged in priestly rites while she brought spirituality down to earth – torah to water. 
Miriam's life was linked to water.  She saved baby Moses floating on the Nile and led singing and dancing on crossing the Red Sea.
The Israelites were sustained by water from Miriam's well that followed them through their desert wanderings.
The Arizal, Rabbi Isaac Luria, taught that on entering the Land of Israel, Miriam's well reappeared gushing water beneath the Sea of Galilee.
He took his student Chaim Vital in a boat on the Sea above Miriam's well, opposite pillars of an old synagogue, and gave him water to drink.
The Arizal said, "Now you will attain wisdom from this water." From then on, Chaim Vital felt he was entering the depths of torah wisdom.  

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