Sometimes I feel like I am being dragged uphill at such a breakneck speed that my self-awareness is being ripped off by wash-board bumps and boulders scattered across the pothole asphalt. Sometimes, I just wonder if I exist at all. I mean, what is happening in the world today? Everything's just 'so' upside down, everywhere… We live in a world where gangsters are revered, peace keepers are shunned, royalty is destitute and hollow, evil dictators are 'shied' away from, the righteous are haughty, and the 'actual' poor are ignored. We live in a world where the next gadget is more important than the child that died making it. We live in a world where the rich and famous, the actors and the celebrities, all rant to the empty space between our ears from atop a soap-box about grandiose, self-promoting, and (oh-so) noble ideas — we seem to be living in a world that is trying to barf-up (hopelessly caught in a cycle of vapor-lock dry-heaves) the 15 minutes of fame that we were 'all' promised, but never received.
In Israel today, it was Holocaust Memorial Day. In Iran, today was an ode to Holocaust denial, where the day was celebrated by showing back to back (antisemitic, anti-Israel) cartoons in order to deaden the next generation's thoughts and souls to the 'Human' condition, to the awareness that we all really 'need' to get along. It is just so dark, the whole thing. I mean, have you ever wondered why our favorite artists, poets, painters, and musicians are the tragic ones that cut off their ears, experimented with heroin without invoking a control group, or just plain sucked on the barrel of a shotgun? As I stood, looking out of the window today, listening to the siren blare across the country and watching the cars stop in the middle of the road to remember, in a country that was built out of the ashes of Europe's Fascist masquerade of ego and rage, I meant to think about the unfathomable reality that occurred half of a century ago, but my mind just went blank. I wondered what to do with my hands… 'Pockets… thumbs… clasped behind my back…'
I read some commentaries about the parsha of the week, Metzora (Leviticus 14-15). It's a heavy too — they all talk about the ongoing destruction of mankind by the unchecked wagging of our tongues. They spoke of the first time speech was misused, in the Garden of Eden, where the proto-snake sunk his teeth into heaven, poisoning the world, which has, regrettably, become the psycodelic bouncy-house that we live in today. In one of these commentaries, I read that it is written in the Talmud (Bavli Erachin 15b) that Reish Lakish said: "One who slanders makes his sin reach unto heaven; as it is said: 'They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.'" This quote has a visceral feeling of giant Pink Floyd voluptuous monsters breaking down the walls that society built, walls that were meant to protect us from the ravages of anarchy, the hollow wailing of emptiness as it greedily consumes us in its sweet scented promise of cadavers to come.
I went to the Zichron Train Station, tonight, where a friend of mine is running a nursery/blues bar. It was rocking. I got into a philosophical discussion there with another old friend that I hadn't seen in about a year. He just couldn't fathom the nature of why the religious have to put so much emphasis on the rules, on the rules to protect the rules. It was the age-old argument of, 'Why does God care?' If I am a good person, then I should be good as gold, right? Well, what 'is' a good person then? Is a good person someone that pays his bills on time, helps little old ladies to cross the street, and refrains from beating his/her loved ones? Is a good person someone that doesn't waste valuable resources that have been generously provided by our earth mother? Is that all it is to be good? Or, is a good person one that takes the entire world on his/her shoulders, growing into the cracks that have been corrupted by the tongue wagers. Is a good person someone that says, "I will do what it takes to make this world a 'better' world and that means that I need to fix myself first; I need to go deep into my 'own' nature and find that place that does not accept others, that operates from weakness, from pain, and from fear. I need to reach out to God by reaching out to others and by seeking enlightenment with the tools that He gave me, my mind, my heart, my soul or in other words, my Torah…"
Since it appears from this neck of the woods that we are heading down the last swirl of the cosmic flush, if you know what I mean, I just might have to put in some small effort to try and save it from the giant gold fish and crocodiles that are reported to have consumed the underworld and are now thumping up under the floorboards. The world has become an upside down, inside out adventure land, just waiting for someone (maybe you, maybe me) to come along and right it. Why is it so hard to see the moment that our collective tongue begins to flutter, to produce involuntary spasms that tear the Universe asunder? Maybe it is because life is just 'so' hard to do right, I mean to actually live. Why does it have to feel like I am being dragged up the hill, anyways…?
At the blues bar we talked about the history of Israel and how impossible it is. No one understands how Israel is still standing today. The amount of wars, terror, and hate that has stomped down at her is mind boggling. Israel is tiny, a little pin-prick of a democracy in the middle of an oil driven Middle Eastern Arab cacophony of chaos. How is it possible that it still exists, is still on the front page of every newspaper in the entire world? And now it even appears that the rest of the world has joined the rabble pounding on the city gates. Europe is lost. America is divided down the middle and has a chief chef that acts as if he has burnt his tongue on something sharp. The way it is going, America will be lost as well, (they say) maybe in 20 to 50 years… There will be a time soon, when Israel will have to rely on more than just wide open and obvious 'miracles' to get it through. Yeah… I don't think we are in Kansas anymore…