Anything can be idolatrous. Therefore, question everything.
Poetry is the warp and woof of the Bible.
Public views in U.S. are shifting toward support for evolution. I never understood this one. Maybe it because I’m Jewish and the child of a scientist, but I never saw the conflict with Genesis or the Bible. Genesis doesn’t really weigh in on the subject. Even a literalist view (which I certainly don’t have admittedly) could leave a lot of room for alternative interpretation. Opposition to evolution in the developed world is peculiar to the United States and is primarily found among evangelicals. Most others do not share this belief. I would truly like to better understand the reasons for opposition to evolution, because it’s so foreign to me. Perhaps there is a much deeper issue at play. If we could get at that, we might be able to address the real difficulty.
Who is Esau? He whom Jacob makes whole. Who is Jacob? He whom Esau makes whole. Separately they are fragments, shards. Together they comprise a complete vessel holding the light of the Source in one integrated consciousness.
Rabbi Geffen sounds like a great man who understood the importance of maintaining tradition while adapting to new cultures. To me that’s being Jewish is all about.
I actually do eat corn during Passover, and I don’t see the problem. Corn is not a grain and is not leavened in any case. Ashkenazim don’t eat corn (along with beans, rice, and other similar plants), but Sephardim do. In fact, I believe the Ashkenazi understanding of “grains” is wrong and should be consciously repudiated. It’s a silly rule. I would even eat barley and oats as long as they are not leavened, which means cooked for more than eighteen minutes. This putting “a hedge around the Torah” business sometimes gets ridiculous, obsessive, and comical.
Creation is a process that never stops (Gen 1-2)
Does the Source want us to reach the promised land? No. The Source wants us to be on our way there, to walk toward it. There is no promised land: only a dirt path with spectacular scenery, our two legs, and good travel companions. The path is rocky and slow-going, but we learn much along the way. There are lots of alternate routes, and each one takes us to new vistas and landscapes. When we finally do arrive at the place for which we yearn, we find that it’s just another dirt path taking us somewhere else.
Jacob’s Ladder: Dreams allow us to move from one dimension to another.
Lost we wander in the wilderness trying to find an oasis, not realizing that both the wilderness and the oasis are inside us.
When things look down, look up.
Genesis is the story of flawed characters just like us.
If all was light, creation could not be. Boundaries require contrast.
Since the Source created the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars on Day Four, what is the light of Day 1? It is the hidden light, the light seen not by our our outer eyes, but by our inner eyes (Gen 1).
Sometimes we have to accept and befriend the darkness before we can see the light. Remember that in Genesis 1 darkness precedes light.
We humans are stones, apparently hard and unchangeable, but in reality slowly transforming, able to be molded and shaped, gradually breaking up into soil as we nourish the earth, the water, and the air.
Jacob used a stone as a pillow during sleep and set it up afterwards as a standing pillar to remind us that we are creatures of the earth, nourished by our mother, linked to heaven, going up and down a stone staircase, as we integrate female and male, above and below, inside and outside, earth and heaven.
Just as Jacob, we are here to immerse ourselves in life’s ups and downs: stones breaking up and reshaping themselves as we point our inner selves heavenward and earthward to remind us of our home straight ahead, with our authentic being, now expanded to include the ever shifting kaleidoscope of life made whole.
The Source created Torah before creating the world. Learning preceded producing.
Deep knowledge takes us to a place where knowledge itself begins to evaporate into infinity. That’s when we eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge once again.
Dreams are raw acts of creation, just as when the Source created the universe in the first six days of Genesis. Dreams show we are made in God’s image.
According to Genesis 1, the world was created with words. This is the core of Jewish wisdom.
Moses’ face shone with the light of the Source (Ex 34.29), the reflected radiance of a divine encounter and its presence (Shekinah) in the world through moral injunctions inscribed on stone tablets. Light–inner awareness of the Source and of being–arises in us (as with Moses) when we connect a mystic moment to life. This is one purpose of our human incarnations: to integrate being and becoming through right intention and action–character and ethics.
Time never stops. It is inexorable. In moments of joy and tragedy, the earth continues to rotate and the seasons continue to alternate. Shabbat and meditation offer a glimpse of existence outside of time. There we reside in the presence of the Source: no limits, no boundaries, only the vibrations of no/thing.
Justice is rare, but always worth pursuing. It is the hidden light we seek.
Instead of using a word for “God,” perhaps we should simply form an out breath–a glottal stop, like the Hebrew letter, “alef.” When you want to say “God,” just speak with an exhalation.
We are all Adam, part of the same cosmic body, reaching out from one end of the universe to the other.
Chaos is always lurking behind sturdy structures, offering the possibility of change and thus transformation. This is the story of Genesis and of our world today.
Naming the Source is impossible. Once you name “God,” you are no longer describing the Source.
Our lives are holy texts, chapters in the sacred scripture of humanity.
Our lives are sacred stories. We are here to tell them and inspire others.
Where do we find justice? Only by pursuing it. (Deut 16:20)
Where is Jacob’s ladder now? Inside each of us.
“Suckling honey from a rock” (Deut. 32:13): In difficult moments, that’s what we have to do.
Sometimes doing the wrong thing leads to good: Gen 50:20.
What was the mistake the spies made when they scouted the land of milk and honey? They allowed fear to overcome trust.
What was another mistake the scouts made? They focused on what others thought rather than on what there were to do.
What was another mistake? They assumed that size was more important than wits.
What was another mistake? They acted like slaves rather than free persons.
What was another mistake? They were there to figure out how, not whether.
What was another mistake? They exaggerated rather than coolly assessing.
What was another mistake? They could not leave the past and move forward.
What was another mistake? They could not envision an alternative to their current situation. They preferred the familiar and the customary to change.
What was another mistake? They quit. They just gave up.
Gen 1:1: “When God began to create . . . “: Creation never stops.
Ex 13:19: Just as Moses carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt, we all carry our ancestors with us wherever we go.
Idolatry is seductive because anything can be idolatrous, including worship of God.
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at sunset”: Gen 24.63.
(Meditation means both “meditate” and “study” in Jewish interpretation and bears both connotations here, along with “stroll.”)
Who is Adam? An androgynous being created from the earth’s soil. We are all Adam, part of the earth.
Our destiny is not destruction, chaos, and an end, but wholeness, hope, and a future (an interpretation of Jer 29.11).
On Mt. Moriah, the Source offered Abraham the chance for a mystical ascent to heaven. But Abraham understood the path as going upward to hell (Gen 22).
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