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)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Netzavim/Vayeilekh נצבים וילך (Standing/And Went) Rosh Hashanah (New Year 5772) ראש השנה

Multiform Unity
You are standing today, all of you, before God your Lord – your leaders, your tribal chiefs, your elders, and your officers, all men of Israel, your children, your women, and your proselyte who is in the midst of your camp, from your wood cutters to your drawers of water. (Deuteronomy 29:9-10)  אתם נצבים היום כלכם לפני יהוה אלהיכם ראשיכם שבטיכם זקניכם ושטריכם כל איש ישראל טפכם וגרך אשר בקרב מחניך מחטב עציך עד שאב מימיך

Why does Moses detail different types of Jews when the phrase "all of you" already encompasses them all?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches that the unity of Israel is created not by every Jew being the same, but by each Jew being himself. 
"Israel is one before G-d when, and only when, each Jew fulfills the mission which is his alone."
Days of teshuvah following Rosh Hashanah are days of "return" rather than "repentance."  They are a time to return to one's essential self.
The beloved Reb Zusia, an early leader of Hassidism, expressed his fear of appearing before the Almighty at the end of his days.
I am not afraid to be asked: “Reb Zusia, why have you not been like Abraham, the patriarch, or like Moses, our great teacher?”
The question I truly fear is: “Reb Zusia, have you truly been Reb Zusia?"
We watched the President of Israel Shimon Peres standing below an image of Moses woven into Chagall's grand tapestry in the Knesset.

He awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize to the esteemed University of California scientist Professor Harris Lewin.

Looking on are Ruby Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset, and Dina Berniker, Acting Chairperson of the Council of the Wolf Foundation.

We participate in the Knesset ceremony each year since Mel was appointed a member of the Council by Israel's president.
On Pesach, we enjoyed the fervent singing of Mordechai Ben-David, the elder statesman of Jewish performers.
Our son Ari and Ken Holtzman coaching Petah Tikvah Pioneers batter.  Our grandchildren Razel, Maytav, Elianne and Tagel in our home.
We marveled at dog trainers working at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind.  A tractor driver passed us as we ate at a sidewalk café.
Hebrew University philosopher Martin Buber writes that the Jewish people is not formed through a static unity of the uniform,
But through the great dynamic unity of the multiform in which mutiformity is formed into unity of character.  A new year's message for 5772.

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