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 22, 2011

Korah קרח

Four Wings of America
Speak to the Israelites and say to them that they shall make themselves tzitzit on the corner wings of their garments for all generations.  And they shall include in the tzitzit of each corner wing a thread of sky-blue wool….  I am God your Lord who brought you out of Egypt. (Numbers 15:38, 41) דבר אל בני ישראל ואמרת אלהם ועשו להם ציצת על כנפי בגדיהם לדרתם ונתנו על ציצית הכנף פתיל תכלת  אני יהוה אלהיכם אשר הוצאתי אתכם מארץ מצרים
Korah son of Izhar son of Kehat son of Levi began a rebellion along with Datan and Aviram sons of Eliav….  Moses sent forth to summon Datan and Aviram sons of Eliav.  They responded, "We won't come! Isn't it enough that you brought us out of [Egypt], a land flowing with milk and honey to cause us to die in the desert!" (Numbers 16:1, 12-13) ויקח קרח בן יצהר בן קהת בן לוי ודתן ואבירם בני אליאב  וישלח משה לקרא לדתן ולאבירם בני אליאב ויאמדו לא נעלה המעט כי העליתנו מארץ זבת חלב ודבש להמיתנו במידבר 

Korah rebelled against Moses by challenging the call for a sky-blue thread in the tassels flowing from the corners of a prayer shawl. 
 "Isn't a talit (prayer shawl) woven entirely with sky-blue wool exempt from the one sky-blue thread in each of the 4 tzitzit (tassels)?"
Moses replied that one is still obligated to tie a sky-blue thread in the tzitzit independent of the color of the rectangular tallit.
The SaPphiRe thread suggests a heavenly realm SPiRaling through the ordinary white threads to bring SPiRitual energies to everyday life.
An all sky-blue tallit symbolizes a totally spiritual life separated from the mundane. This viewpoint negates the biblical view:
"For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp." (Deuteronomy 23:15)  
Kanfot, the Hebrew word for 'corners' of garments, is also used for 'corners' of the earth as in the biblical prophesy (Isaiah 11:12).
"He will ingather the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corner wings (kanfot) of the earth."
Before donning a talit, a Jew says, "May the talit spread its wings (kanfav) like an eagle rousting his nest, fluttering over its eaglets."
The foremost biblical commentator Rashi links corners and wings: "The tzitzit are placed 'on the corners (kanfot) of their garments,'
alluding to God having freed the Israelites from Egypt, as it states, 'and I carried you on the wings (kanfot) of eagles.'"
When the City of Miami asked us to create the official artwork for its centennial, we proposed placing tzitzit on the 4 corners of America.
American Airlines, the largest US corporation in the wing business, agreed to sponsor our Four Wings of America project.
We flew to Maine where we placed a large rope tzitzit with a sky-blue strand on barnacle-encrusted boulders at the Atlantic Ocean.
We attached a tzitzit to a tree on the beach of a balmy Florida bay where the blue of the sky colored the sea water.
On the Pacific coast, a Mexican boy watched the tzitzit shuddering in the wind hanging from the wall separating San Diego from Tijuana.
From Seattle, we drove to Neah Bay, an Indian reservation at the end of the Olympia Peninsula in Washington State to place the 4th tzitzit.

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