Love stems from the awareness that we are not alone.
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.
Sociopaths, murderers, con-men, sadists, and bystanders before violence are all part of the same cosmic body as heroes, rescuers, protectors, saints, and gentle souls. We are all on the same path, only some of us perhaps further along than others. When we punish evil, which we must–often harshly–we need to remember to have compassion for all human beings, no matter how rotted and degraded they are. They are our family; they are us. That is a form of wholeness: to be able to condemn (sometimes to kill to protect the lives of others or our own) while also acknowledging our common humanity and shared divine spirit.
As we see today in Tucson with the attempted assassination of a congresswoman (Gabrielle Giffords), plus the shootings and murders of many bystanders, violent imagery and language can set the context for real-life horror. Whatever your political point of view (center, right, left, independent), let us please pledge ourselves to civility, humanity, and mutual respect.
Pima County (Arizona, Tucson) Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, says it powerfully:
“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
“The vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the TV business … This has not become the nice United States that most of us grew up in.”
Please keep the victims and families in thought and prayer.
Ex 13:19: Just as Moses carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt, we all carry our ancestors with us wherever we go.
Each of our lives is a sacred story. Learn how to tell it so that others may learn.
I am because you are.
We live each of our lives not only for ourselves but to teach others.
The world does not need a revolution, but it needs leaders who can respond to the revolution that is already happening.
When old institutions die, new ones are born.
Our destiny is not destruction, chaos, and an end, but wholeness, hope, and a future (an interpretation of Jer 29.11).
Wisdom involves the heart and mind joined as two tributaries flowing into a great river.
Wisdom takes time and energy. It does not happen according to schedule.
We all wear masks, but that’s not who we are. What do masks do? They help us to explore alternative realities.
Each of our lives is a new story to add to the book of Genesis.
Gen 1.1: “The Source (God) began to create”: As long as the universe exists, creation is a process that rests periodically, but never ends.
The Source rests from creation every shabbat. So should we. Then, on the next day, we join hands to continue creation (Gen 2.3).
Did you ever notice that the Source explicitly expelled Adam, not the woman, from the garden of Eden?
One key to authentic leadership is being open about your imperfections without belittling yourself.
Gen 1:27: The first Adam was both female and male, bi-gendered, whole, integrated, one.
Creation rests on Shabbat, but recommences the next day.
Do nothing for a period of time. Then you will be able to do something worthwhile and begin to understand Shabbat.
Wisdom: Knowing whom, what, where, when, how.
Who are the Temple priests? Those who light the Temple menorah. The only way to drive out darkness is with light. (Num 8.1-3)
Our legacy is not money, power, buildings, or books, but rather the core energy that we release from ourselves into the universe.
Conformity means a bunch of individuals forming a collective ego, an I. Community means a bunch of individuals building a whole that transcends the individual “I”s (egos) and creates a collective higher self.
We all need to rest, and so does the earth. That’s why we have shabbat and why the earth has a sabbatical year.
Learning from experience leads to wisdom.
Lev 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself” actually reads in Hebrew: “You shall show love to your neighbor as you would (show it to) yourself.” In other words, love is not simply a feeling state, but also an act of doing.
Ironically, when we let go of our I, we feel a deep connection to others and understand Lev 19.18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
After Jacob and Joseph died, Jews became slaves in Egypt. Why? Because they lost track of their ancestors, their home, their Source. Roots let us grow and thrive. They are the ties that both bind and liberate. We cannot help but be products of generations past to the beginning of time. The question is: Do we sever ourselves from the past, simply reuse the past by forgetting that we are each born anew, or integrate the past into a new creation?
We Jews are haunted by the cries of Abel’s heirs from the earth. The specter of annhilation has a way of improving your hearing. Hence tikkun olam, repair of the world.
Wisdom arises from the inside.
Noah did not argue with the Source for the impending human genocide. Abraham argued with the Source for Sodom, but not for Isaac. Moses argued incessantly with the Source. So did the great Hasidic rebbe, Isaac of Berditchev. We are supposed to act like Moses and Isaac of Berditchev.
Humility is the beginning of wisdom.
Errors are the stones out of which the gateway to wisdom is made.
Cultivating and practicing wisdom leads to wisdom.
The “I” does not refer to the same person as the “You.” The “I” is a navigator who helps us operate in the world. The “You” is a spark of light that is love and wisdom itself.
Jews believe that at Sinai the Source gave human beings the authority to make their own decisions and run their own affairs.
If we seek to repair the world, we must be able to look into the depths of hell and see hope.
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