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)


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shoftim (Judges) שופטים

Green Leaves
You must not destroy trees by swinging an ax against them for from them you will eat.  Do not cut them down because the tree of the field is man's life. (Deuteronomy 20:19) לא תשחית את עצה לנדח עליו גרזן כי ממנו תאכל ואתו לא תכרת כי האדם עץ השדה


When we were first married, Mel was a biology teacher teaching about the crucial role of trees in maintaining the global ecosystem. 
He taught how trees draw water up through their roots, take in carbon dioxide through their leaves and transform them into sugar and oxygen.
The most important process in the world:
6H2O + 6CO2 + chlorophyll + sunlight yields C6H12O6 + 6O2

Without it there'd be no life on our planet. Photosynthesis creates all the food we eat and the oxygen we breath.
Judaism develops from this biblical passage the ecological laws of bal tashhit (don't destroy) that even forbids destroying a mustard seed.
Judaism celebrates the New Year of the Trees on Tu B'shavat when we begin to see the blossoming of almond trees on our drive to Jerusalem.
The Torah is likened to a tree of life (Proverbs 3:18).  A righteous person flourishes like a palm tree and grows tall like a cedar (Psalm 92).
We photographed the large leaves of the frangipani in front of our house, the bougainvillea on our porch and the ficus down the street. 
Mel reveals beauty hidden within leaves by photographing them through a microscope on which he paints with pigments mixed into molten waxes.
His encaustic painting of the cellular organization within a pine leaf cross-section enlarged 600 times shows where photosynthesis happens.
We photographed new leaf growth sprouting from an old pine tree in the park near our house and date palms in Ein Gedi.
In the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, beauty (tiferet) is the innermost junction of 22 branches through which Divine light flows into our lives.

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