© 2019 Drew T. Noll

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Babel

In the beginning... These are the words that were spoken by Hashem, creating the world that we still believe we can see today. This is sadly not the case. The world we see today is only a Klippah or shell of what it once was. ‘In the beginning’ means that before the beginning occurred, there was no time, space, or matter, and to bring it into existence, G-D spoke it. Does this mean that Hashem has a mouth and a tongue? Of course not, but that is for another time. The essence of a word, we have to conclude from this, is that it is not what we use to label an object, but what is contained within that object or the essence or soul of that object. The word came before the object, bringing the object into existence. That is why we use the same word in Hebrew for ‘word’ (דבר Dvar) and for ‘thing’ (דבר also Dvar). They are one and the same. However, the important distinction is that the word came before the thing.

When Adam, in Gan Eden, was asked by Hashem to name the animals, Adam only needed to read the words that were written in the soul (Nefesh) of the animal. In this way, Adam and Hashem shared the action of creating the world as partners. Every word was imbued with creation and every object was imbued with its word.

The Tower of Babel is often used to tell kids a kind of fairytale about how we went from one language in the world to many. This is also not the case. The way the story really goes is that there was one language at the time, Loshen Kodesh (Holy Tongue) or ancient Hebrew. It was the language that was formed from reading the words from the souls of the objects scattered throughout our environment. When man built the tower, it was meant to wrestle control of creation from Hashem by using that Holy Tongue language. Hashem broke down the ability to see the words just enough so that we would be prevented from destroying the world.

When the prophets roamed the earth, all human kind could see into the nature of nature. Many could divine the nature of what an object was, solely based on its name. That is why we had such a hard time with idol worship, because the object itself was glowing with divine spark and creation. The prophets were standing on the shoulders of everyone else and gleaning the higher levels of existence, so when prophesy was removed from the world, we all tumbled down.

As the world gets more and more advanced technologically, we find more and more ways of communicating. We are inventing new words and potential new languages on a daily basis now. Computers use a variety of codes that can be referred to as languages. Kids have developed codes with text messaging and instant messaging. Hybrid languages have sprouted up in the last century and before as well. We have moved so far from that original Loshen Kodesh that, with every technological, social, or cultural step we take, we are becoming more and more bonded with the Klippah or shell of the world.

Klippah starts with the letter Kuf (ק) in Hebrew and it is also the word for monkey. A monkey is, as Darwin would have said, a close relative of us humans. The sad difference is that we are becoming more related to a monkey spiritually. The more technologically advanced our species gets, the further away we get from the core of reality and the more we bond with the thin outer shell of the universe; the piece that we can still see.

Maybe our fascination for magical lights emanating from magical boxes and our over powering drive for the next level of entertainment derive from this urge to look into an object and see its soul. We are so busy scratching our pits with the other monkeys that we forgot how to look and to see into things; to be engaged by them and build ourselves together into the human giants that we once were.

Babel is now... being such technologically advanced monkeys, we just can’t see it anymore...

Shalom Alechem

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Stairway from Heaven and the Orpah Freewin Show




Moab is in Utah. I love to mountain bike there. Moab is also known for its ancient history in the Middle East and is the source of the name Moab in Utah. Moab is near Eilat, Israel near or in a place called Petra, Jordan. The ancient people that lived there carved the amazing petroglyphs in the rocks that you see today and as well, a tribe lived there from the Biblical character, Lot. Moab in Hebrew means From-Father and Lot’s daughter named her son Moab after her father. You remember the story of Lot and his daughters don’t you? The Talmud actually excuses the daughters, because after Sodom and Gomorrah, the daughters thought that they were the last people on Earth and needed to repopulate the planet. Lot, on the other hand, was reluctantly excused only for sleeping with his first daughter because of his drunken state at the time. The second time around, with his other daughter, set the stage for a vast spectrum of debasement and debauchery for the Moabites and produced a surprise ending as well with one of the highest highs that the world has or will ever see.

Ruth and Orpah were princesses of Moab. When the judges ruled in Judea and Samaria (Israel today) there was a famine and Elimelech from Bethlehem and Naomi went to stay in Moab. They brought their sons, Machlon and Kilyon, who married Ruth and Orpah. Then all the men in the family died...

Naomi and her daughters in law rose to return to the land of Judah and to Hashem. Naomi told her daughters not to come and to return to their own land, with their own mothers and in that moment, one that we all experience, Ruth clung to Naomi and to Hashem, and Orpah fell into the abyss of finite reality. This is the moment when we make our path and set our future, forever. It is possible to change our minds, but only immediately. If we wait, we lose our chance to climb as high as we can, as high as we were meant to.

“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth held fast to her.”

And Ruth said: "Entreat me not to leave you, or to return from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your G-d my G-d. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried; G-d do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part you and me."

Orpah joined her people and their animals and became the ancestor of Goliath, the mightiest warrior of the time. Ruth, whose name in Hebrew gematria equals 606, became a Jew. She added the 7 Noachide laws to the 606 of her name and became responsible for 613 Mitzvote (laws) of the Jews, and the Holy ancestor of King David, the progenitor of the Mashiach, may he come soon.

In that crucial moment, when we think about who is the Ruler of the World, we are helped by Hashem via Koach (Forces), Malachim (Angels), and Shadim (Demons), to move along whichever path we take. When Adam Ha’Rishon, in the Garden of Eden, chose to go the path of Orpah and to be a master of finite reality, he set in motion the shadows to blur the truth. Now we are only left with subjective opinion. (Do you ever wonder why there is so much hate and absurdity in the world?) So how do we know the truth when we see it? How did Ruth get the truth so right and Orpah get it so wrong? I think that it must have something to do with how we view our role in the world. Are we the ruler, or is Hashem? Orpah’s self was afraid and in that split second she won, for free, the idea of the comfort of princess-hood. Ruth chose to return to Hashem and in that split second, she felt the weight of her decision and her self multiplied beyond understanding. We sometimes call this faith now-a-days, but it is more than that. Faith is a label that helps us commoners to understand the idea a little. This is how the physical and the spiritual collide and combine, producing the tikkun (fix) that both we and the world need. When we take the ‘me’ out of the picture and include Hashem as a partner in the building of ourselves, we start to sew the gaps in the world.

One of the biggest tikkunim (fixes) that we can do is tomorrow evening on Shavuot. We slept in when Hashem came down the stairway from heaven to give us the Map of the Universe (the Torah or Five Books of Moses) and we try to stay up all night studying Torah to fix the gap that was created. We also read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot because returning to Hashem and sewing closed the gaps in the world is what Ruth did when she left Moab with Naomi. For Shavuot, we invite Hashem into our hearts and minds and try the best that we can to listen.

Torah is life and if we deny or ignore this, we only end up grunting on the battle field, waiting for a little red haired boy named David to sling a pebble and hit us square in the third eye, the spiritual eye, with the hope of waking us up.

Chag Sumeach!

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