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, July 27, 2011

Masei (Journeys) מסעי

Moving On
These are the journeys of the Israelites, who left Egypt in organized groups under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.  Moses recorded their stops along the way at God's bidding. (Numbers 32:1-2) אלה מסעי בני ישראל אשר יצאו מארץ מצרים לצבאתם ביד משה ואהרון ויכתב משה את מוצאיהם למסעיהם על פי יהוה

Why "journeys" in plural? Only the 1st of the 42 journeys recorded was going out of Egypt (Mitzrayim in Hebrew, meaning narrowness).
The Talmud teaches that we should see ourselves each day as if we traveled out of Egypt, away from narrow-minded thinking.  
The 12 spies "explored the Land from the wilderness of Tzin to Rehov" (Numbers 13:21).  Rehov intimates expansiveness.
When Joshua sent spies to observe the Land, they "arrived at the house of a woman innkeeper named Rahav."  Rahav means wide open.
How can the expansive consciousness forged by 42 journeys through the open vistas of the desert shape our lives in the Land of Israel?
"From the narrow straits (metzar) I called upon God; God answered me with expansiveness (merhav)." (Psalm 118:5).
"The Land through which we have passed to explore is a land that devours yoshveha (inhabitants who sit still)" (Numbers 13:32). 
The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches: "The Jew was not created to stand still.  There is always a new journey before him."
Miriam and her family moved from Parimaribo (Suriname) to Hibat Tzion in 1949 when she was 9 years old.  
Our journey from New York to Ra'anana with our 3 children in 1969 has invited fresh journeys emerging daily from our creative life in Israel.
While Miriam was creating a new home for us, Mel was teaching creativity and interdisciplinary learning at Tel Aviv University. 
Mel also journeyed to Jerusalem twice a week to teach at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and develop its academic curriculum.
We moved from Ra'anana to Haifa where we worked together to create an Experimental School at the University, the 1st open school in Israel.
We moved from Haifa to Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi where Mel realized his Catskill Mountains childhood dream of being a Jewish farmer.
We moved to Yeroham to create a regional college in the Negev where Miriam taught ceramics. Our 4th child was born there in 1982.
Mel headed the college, taught there and journeyed once a week from Yeroham to Ramat Gan to teach at Bar Ilan University.         
We moved to Petah Tikva 11 years ago where we now work together creating this Torah Tweets blogart project and on being grandparents.
Mel journeyed from Petah Tikva to Ariel where he taught at the university and to Jerusalem where he heads Emuna College School of the Arts.    

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