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 new blog http://bibleblogyourlife.blogspot.com was created to reverse the order of the blog posts in this blog to begin in the beginning. Both the new book http://photographgod.com and blog invite you to explore creative ways to photograph God in all that happens in your everyday life while crafting a vibrant dialogue between your story and the Bible’s story.

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)


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ekev (Reward, if) עקב

 KUZU = God in Motion
כוזו במוכסז כוזו = יהוה אלהינו יהוה
Bind them [torah words] as a sign upon your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes.  Teach your children to discuss them, when you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, and when you retire and arise.  And write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates.  (Deuteronomy 11:18-20) וקשרתם אתם לאות על ידכם והיו לטוטפות בין עיניכם ולמדתם אתם את בניכם לדבר בם בשבתך בביתך ובלכתך בדרך ובשכבך ובקומך וכתבתם על מזוזות ביתך ובשעריך



KUZU sets God YHVH in Motion 
KUZU is written up-side-down on the outside of a parchment scroll placed in a mezuzah housing that is attached to a doorpost.
On the inside of this mini-torah scroll is "Hear O Israel, God YHVH is our Lord ELOHAYNU, God YHVH is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
K-U-Z-U is spelled with each of the Hebrew letters that follow Y-H-V-H. K follows Y; U follows H; Z follows V; and U follows H. 
It is as if we were to write GOD as HPE, H being the letter following G, P the letter following O, and E the letter following D.
KUZU is written to teach that God, YHVH (Is-Was-Will be), cannot be experienced as a static object, but rather as dynamic process.
KUZU is written up-side-down to invite us to learn torah with our children from multiple vantage points as part of the flow of life.
Miriam created home size and synagogue size mezuzah housings in her ceramics studio in our former home in Teaneck, NJ.
She made a silver mezuzah housing as a medusa with tentacles that move when touched. The word mezuzah is derived from zaz (move). 
In Guatemala, Mel carved a mezuzah housing from mahogany wood spiraling around a test tube capped with a 13 petal rose.
A Jew spirals a leather strap around his arm flowing out from the tefillin box.  He then forms the Hebrew letter shin on his hand.
We see an embossed 3-branched letter shin on one side of the head tefillin with an extraordinary 4-branched shin on the other side.
The branching shin of ShaDaY, Divine nurturing, is revealed under KUZU on a mezuzah scroll that transforms a square into a spiral. 
Spirals and branches symbolize living systems, from spiraling palms to branching cedars and from DNA to our circulatory and nervous systems.
It [torah] is a tree of life to those who grasp it.  A righteous person will flourish like a date palm, like a Lebanon cedar he will grow tall. (Proverbs 4:2, Psalm 92:13)  

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