This blog may contain material that could be perceived as offensive or culturally dogmatic and as well, could be seen as the exact opposite of this idea or contrary to any preconceived notions that you may have been force-fed as a child or otherwise ingested over your lifetime and you might not like it either…
Picture is of the Golden Gate in Jerusalem.
When I was young, I lived in a world that I have referred to as The Precious Green Mold of My Life, where I often perceived myself as the only human being on an alien world set up as an experiment, just to see how I would react to introduced, or inserted into my consciousness, stimuli. We discovered that this was not so far from the truth, as it turned out. Well, the green mold grew and filled with air, hot and cold, and by the time I graduated from 4 years of high school, traveling around the world a bit, and then 7 years of art school, the precious green mold became an enormous sponge-monster that could absorb anything it touched, ‘The Good... the Bad... and the Ugly…’
That brings us to about a year ago when I learned from Rabbi I-pod about a section of Gomorrah that was one of a few sections that was forcibly removed from the Talmud by the Church about a century or two ago. It related the story of a certain individual, that will remain nameless for now, and his teacher, Yochanan ben Prachiah, that took place sometime before the Common Era, around the time of the Maccabees about 2,500 years ago. The teacher and student were on their way to Egypt and stopped at an inn for a rest and upon entering into the lobby of this particular Egyptian Holiday Inn, Yochanan ben Prachiah’s student noticed how beautiful the innkeeper was (yes, she was a woman) and said so aloud to his teacher. I guess it must have been a somewhat crude statement that deserved a slap on the wrist; however, Yochanan ben Prachiah let him have it with all his might and drove his student into complete depression, isolation, and then rebellion, with this severe admonishment.
In the Talmud, the ideas are there to teach us about how to live in a complicated world via the Oral Tradition received by Moses on Mount Sinai from Hashem. Each of the Sages have something to say regarding different aspects of the Oral Tradition and an opinion, as well, to champion. In the end, our hope is that we can see how to interact with the world and each other in a way that will help us get closer to Hashem, each other, and fix the broken world, all at the same time.
In this Yochanan ben Prachiah and his student story, the lesson is to push away with your left hand and to pull close with your right hand. Yochanan ben Prachiah was evidently so incensed that in anger, he pushed away with his right hand causing centuries of unneeded pain and suffering, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to the Cossacks and beyond, all from one stray student that was unnecessarily pushed away. How can I blame such a long list of heinous crimes against humanity on one lone student you may ask? I know, this is the counter cultural part of today’s blog and it may be really hard to stomach for some of my loyal fan-base out there (hence the warning), so kola kavod to those of you that have gotten this far! Some of you may have picked it up by now so, let me just continue with:
Naw, we can all figure out how to find ourselves in this mess of a broken world from here...
All I can say is Aleph (Hashem Energy) + Daled (Lack of Ego or Nothing) + Mem (Large Oceans of Water) = Adam, David, and Mashiach... all one Neshama (Soul), from the word Ness (Miracle) and Sham (There and Name) is all about Nisi’on or Tests from Hashem (the Miracle of Har Zion and the Evan Shtiah [Oceans of Water]) and making that effort to build and fix the World (Eretz - meaning Running) to arrive in Heaven (Shami’em or Name and Shem [think essence])... Shma Israel, Hashem Elokainu, Hashem Echad!!!
Amen ve yalla le kulam!