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)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Devarim (Words) דברים

Realizing Isaiah's Vision (Hazon)
These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel….  "God our Lord spoke to us at Horeb, saying: 'Enough of your dwelling by this mountain.  Turn yourselves around and journey'….  See! I have given the Land before you.  Come and possess the Land that God swore that He would give to your forefathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their descendants after them."  (Deuteronomy 1:1, 6-8) אלה הדברים אשר דבר משה אל כל ישראל  יהוה אלהינו דבר אלינו בחרב לאמר רב לכם שבת בהר הזה פנו וסעו לכם  ראה נתתי לפניכם את הארץ באו ורשו את הארץ אשר נשבע יהוה לאבתיכם לאברהם ליצחק וליעקב לתת לחם ולזרעם אחריהם 
The vision of Isaiah .… Learn to do good, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, render justice to the orphan, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:1, 17)   חזון ישעיהו  למדו היטב דרשו משפט אשרו חמוץ שפטו יתום ריבו אלמנה 

Moses challenges Israelites to journey beyond theory heard at Horeb (Mt. Sinai) to its implementation in the Land they are about to enter.
On Shabbat Hazon (Vision), we link our reading Devorim in synagogue with Isaiah's vision of doing good and seeking justice in our Land.
It is followed by the 9th of Av when we mourn our ruin and exile for our failure to implement Isaiah's vision 2 millennia ago.
The Talmud teaches that mourning will turn to joy as the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob regain sovereignty over the Land of Israel.
The mourners will merit an outburst of joy as they transform the theory of Horeb into practice and the vision of Isaiah into reality.
We saw those transformations at Emunah's Achuzat Sara Children's Home in Bnei Brak, a place that 130 children consider to be their home.
Headmaster Shmuel Ron told us that the aim of his work is to put smiles on the faces of orphaned, abandoned, neglected, and abused children. 
He has worked in partnership with his wife for 30 years to evoke smiles by providing the love, security and encouragement of a warm home.
Achuzat Sara helps its children gain self-esteem, develop emotionally and spiritually, and grow into responsible and productive adults.
The children are encouraged to cultivate their talents in areas ranging from art, music and theater to sports, computers and science.
The dismal picture of the past painted by Moses and Isaiah transformed into a vision of a bright future is what we see at Achuzat Sara.         

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