Drew T. Noll © 2023, all rights reserved

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Radiator for the Mind

In the heavens above, not in the fabled heavens but in the heavens that are described by our sages as the worlds above, there was once a place where the water gathered into petty and jealous pools of rivalries. The Master of the Universe had to separate these pools by putting a five hundred mile thick barrier or a firmament between them. Wait… I think I need to back up, you see, the water isn’t really just ordinary water; it is a viscous and vaporous condensation of spiritually incandescent and pearlescent… water. This is not only the water of life but the water of everything else as well. Talk about the fountain of youth! Water…I am getting thirsty… for something wet and watery… water…

Ok, back to reality. You see, this story is really about how our minds work. It started with water because this is the substance that leaves our body when we activate its spiritual thermometer by engaging in acrobatic mind maneuvering. This water isn’t the normal water but it is also the same viscous and vaporous condensation of spiritually incandescent and pearlescent… water from the heavens above. Well, maybe I need to back up some more…

You see, our nephesh (our soul and energy source) heats up when it supplies the motor (our minds) with power to run. As our minds turn at ever increasing speeds to follow leads from life and the big plan in an attempt to close the gap between the heavens above and ourselves we get hot. Not hot in the physical sense, although that is also effected, but hot in a spiritual sense. This water needs a release valve as it heats to temperatures beyond our ability to measure. We need a radiator to kick in. we need something to drain the excess fluids from our minds or our motors.

History has shown us that this is accomplished with following God’s commandments. The Torah gives us a release valve and it describes to us how to manifest this release valve in our lives, but this is not all. It also tells us to grow the hair on the four corners of our head. What? Maybe we are all just block heads after all! One thing I do know is that two of these corners are on the chin and that means a beard. Oohhh, now I get it! A beard is a radiator! When we start to rev up that engine (our minds) we need a radiator (our beards) to let the excess water drain and vaporize back into the heavens above! Phew!!! Now I am feeling hot… and my beard you ask? If you didn’t know it was gone… Its back!

So, the next time you see the morning dew, a hail storm, or the most amazing sunset ever, think about the water… not the regular stuff that is inside and on the surface of all of creation, but the viscous and vaporous condensation of spiritually incandescent and pearlescent… water… that was paternally separated by The Master of the Universe way back in the beginning of time.

Shavua tov kulam!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

If a tree falls in the forest…

Long ago, in a time before there was time, there was a garden. This was no ordinary garden mind you; it was a very, very special garden indeed. This was the first garden that was ever created and it was done so in an otherwise barren wilderness. There was nothing anywhere else in the whole universe, accept one thing. And that thing was (and is) so big, so large, and so timeless, that I could never use words and language to describe it. It is a thing that we have come to call by many names and all are Holy with a capital ‘H’. So, not to labor the point too much however, this story starts in a place that can only be described as everything and nothing at the same time. The ‘everything’ comes from what we see today… everything that is always all around us to see, hear, smell, feel, and whatever. And the ‘nothing’ you ask? The ‘nothing’ is also everything around us. The ‘nothing’ is something that we can not see or hear or feel. Sometimes if we are lucky we get a whiff of it though. It smells like something familiar, something wonderful. It smells like we know what it is, if for just a moment, before it disappears into our justifications and explanations of the world around us… you know, the one we can see and hear and feel and yes, sometimes even think we can smell.

There was a time, well that isn’t exactly the word for it… maybe a better way to describe it is an infinite instant, that in this very special garden, before it was or could be tended by any… person, every single plant had never existed, ceased to grow, grown to its mature height, and spread across the universe as if Moshiach had already come. Every tree was just a want-to-be seed as well as resplendent with fruit. It was an instant where everything in the universe was only possible but at the same time, was complete and in this instant, in this garden of gardens, a tree fell. Some have said that this occurred as a result of a forest creature that, because of its treachery, was destined to slither for all eternity. Others say that it was because of the concept of free will or because of something lurking in the world today, the evil inclination, that this occurred, and still others say that it was because of something all together different. These ‘others’ say that is was because ‘we’ needed to see the tree fall. ‘We’ needed to know that there was once a place that was so perfect that it needed to be hidden at the end of a curvy and unseen path and guarded by something that might have looked like General Grievous from the Star Wars movies.

We didn’t witness this tree of trees’ fall with any of our senses and yet, we know that it fell. We can see the results of its calamitous plunge throughout our lives and still we ask ourselves the simple question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to witness it, did it really fall?” of course it did! Look around already… or at least take a whiff. You might catch a scent of that ancient and, at the same time, imminent tree; that tree of everything and at exactly the same time, that tree of absolute nothingness in a garden where nothing is as it seems, and the ‘nothing’ is really ‘everything’.

Shabbat Shalom Kulam!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Mouse and the Scorpion

Deep in the burrow, the brothers and sisters were snuggling together for warmth against the damp musty air. A smell of wet fur and newborns was still evident upon entering the well hidden home under the ancient tree. The ancestors had raised all of the generations under this same old oak tree and it had born witness to all of the wonders beneath its roots. It had also witnessed the tragedies. This tragedy however, is foremost in its memory. This story is about one particular creature that had always seen the world from eyes of wonder. Burnsting was a very normal looking field mouse. He had brownish matted fur and an extra small and twitchy nose. His brothers and sisters usually laughed at him when he would have one of his moments of vision. He had a very peculiar way of noticing the small things, while never really grasping the larger ideas like the time he day-dreamt for days why the little line marching bugs would break their formation when interrupted, instead of asking himself how they eventually overcame the obstacle in their path and continued to their unknown destination. Burnsting was a wonderfully simple creature and most of his syblings loved to be in his company, even with his overly simplified view of the world around him. He was just very trusting and quite a happy little mouse, which is why it is so much harder to understand, what in the end, occurred.

The burrow was also home to many varied and interesting other creatures. There were long legged occupants with many eyes. There were many legged squiggling creatures and there were also the hard-shell rollers that would curl into themselves when disturbed. These were mostly harmless when confronted however there were some creatures living in the burrow that were not so harmless. These were creatures that when confronted would not just curl up and hide or quickly squirm away into a dark corner. These creatures would raise the evil death striker that protruded from behind them and if an innocent was close enough, would strike with it, causing a slow, twitching, and painful death. This had happened, or so it had been said by some. It had never, however, been witnessed by any of the relatives that were still in the presence of the old oak tree. And to Burnsting, it was just make-believe, which is why on that day when the legs of the old oak were washed free of the warm and familiar walls of soil that created such a loving and womb like home for all the fathers, mothers, brothers, and the sisters, Burnsting wandered into the burrows depths and into the tunnels of the dark side of the ancient oak tree.

The dark side was an area that never saw the light from the warm globe above the tree. Some of the dark creatures that made their home there came to the light side for warmth, but were never bothered when they did so. Venturing into the dark side was always forbidden for the brethren but on that day, the burrow was a mess. Many of the tunnels were gone and the remaining tunnels were full of water. There was not a dry place to be found on the light side. Burnsting was only trying to help his family when he wandered into the darkness and found a peculiar and short lived sort of friendship. His new found friend’s name was Akbar and he was a small, yellow scorpion.

When Burnsting leaped through the mangled remains of the old oaks’ root system and entered into the dark cavern that was once the dark side of the tree, he had intended on turning around immediately. He realized at once that the entire tree had been deprived of its precious soil on both the light and the dark sides. He began to turn but he noticed a glimmer across the pool of rising water in the bottom of the dark cavern. There was a creature trapped against the far wall and would surely perish if something wasn’t done to save it. Without thinking, Burnsting jumped to its rescue, not thinking for a moment of his own peril. The water was still rising and the current was powerful and erratic as the water spilled into the black pool from beneath the exposed tree roots. He was barely halfway across when he realized that the creature was one of those that he had been warned of. He almost turned in panic back to the tunnel that lead to his family, but decided to at least talk with the creature before he abandoned it to its own fate. He was sure that, once he was close enough, this would be possible to do from a safe distance.

He swam as hard as he could and stopped just in front of the frightened scorpion. Its death striker was raised in a frenetic and menacing threat and its arms were slashing out at the mud walls and bared roots behind it. It twirled to meet its new adversary and its death striker slashed out at the air between the wet and tired Burnsting and itself. Burnsting had an urge to flee but instead, spoke to the frightened scorpion. Burnsting had always had the desire to make peace and to question things that were, in his experience, only baseless fears. The stories that had been told were most likely only exaggerated fabrications of fears that had been passed down from the ancestors. These fears had created a deep rift between the creatures of the tree. He needed to find out if this was true and what better way than to do it while saving one of these dark creatures and uniting it with its family on the other side of the swirling dark pool of flood water. He asked the scorpion its name. “I am Akbar, son of Achmen,” replied the scorpion.

At the sound of Akbars’ voice, Burnsting relaxed his tremulous breathing. The dark creatures’ voice was soothing and calming. It was fluid and was not threatening. It could not belong to a creature with evil intentions but just to make sure, Burnsting asked a second question, “Are you able to swim?”

“No and I will surely parish and never see my family again,” Replied Akbar in a smooth and non threatening way.

At this response, Burnsting noticed the death striker relax and fall behind the dark creature. The scorpion was ready to speak, not to fight. Burnsting approached a little closer, for he was also getting tired of swimming in the turbulent water. “If I give you a ride on my back to the far side of the pool, what is to prevent you from stabbing me with your death striker?” asked Burnsting.

“If I were to do that, we would both drown,” replied Akbar in his most soothing voice.

Now this made sense to Burnsting. The stories of old must only be exaggerations and the time was now to put the old oak trees’ community tradition of baseless fear to rest for good. He would unite the tree and all its inhabitants could live in harmony together. Burnsting swam close to the edge and asked the scorpion to gently climb on his back. He steadied himself for the extra load and once Akbar was on his back he swam as hard as he could for the opposite shore, to the safety of his family, and to the glory that surely awaited him for putting an end to this ridiculous ritual of fear.

Burnsting swam like never before and only once did he worry that his new friend the scorpion would be washed off when he had to traverse a particularly nasty section of currents. He doubled his efforts and once through, could see the light from the opposite side of the cavern. He swam, the whole while, with Akbar caressing him with words of encouragement. He was almost there, just a few more good hard strokes and this dangerous journey would be at an end, and so would the delusions of a community of fear mongers. Five more strokes, Three more strokes, and…

Burnsting felt a peculiar sensation of the weight lifting from his back and at the same time, a sharp pinch, just behind his shoulder blade. At first, Burnsting didn’t know what had happened, and then he understood. He had been stung. But how could this be so? He was sure that they were both safe. Akbar, the scorpion, had stung him and must have tried to make it to the shore by jumping. As they both swirled in the dark pool and down into its depths, Burnsting was able, between spasms of toxin driven nerve damage, to ask, “But…why?”

The answer was simple, Burnsting heard the scorpion, with its last breath as it disappeared beneath the dark water say, “It is my nature.”

And then it was quiet as both Burnsting and Akbar sunk to the bottom with the only witness to this terrible tragedy being the ancient oak tree that had once been both their friend and their home.

Adapted from the original and written by D. Noll

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Just Some Minor Coincidences...

October 30, 1991: President Bush (the 1st one) opened the Madrid Conference with the intended purpose of which was to strip Israel of land in exchange for peace with the Palestinian Arabs. ON THAT VERY DAY, an extremely rare storm formed on the coast of Nova Scotia, a storm later named "The Perfect Storm" (which the book and movie were about), and record-setting waves pounded the New England coast causing heavy damage to the President's home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

August 23, 1992: The Madrid Conference moved to Washington, D.C. with the same agenda of attempting to wrest land from the sovereign country of Israel, leaving thousands of Jews in a state of homelessness. ON THAT VERY DAY, Hurricane Andrews produced an estimated $30 billion in damage, leaving 180,000 Floridians homeless. It was the worst natural disaster to ever hit America, at least up to that time.

January 16, 1994: President Clinton meets with the Syrian President in order to develop a strategy that would force Israel to give up the Golan Heights. LESS THAN 24 HOURS LATER a powerful 6.9 earthquake rocks Southern California, leaving countless Americans homeless.

March 1, 1997: the terrorist leader of the Palestinians, Arafat, begins a one-month tour of America and President Clinton publicly rebukes Israel for not surrendering land for peace. ON THE VERY DAY that Arafat lands in America, powerful tornadoes devastate huge sections of the country while ripping across Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Days later, as Arafat is still touring, storms hit the Dakotas, causing the worst flooding of the century. Weeks of storms rage throughout the Midwest until Arafat completes his tour. The day he finally leaves the U.S., the storms suddenly settle down and end within a few days.

January 21, 1998: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Clinton and is coldly received as President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeline Albright refuse to lunch with him. ON THAT VERY DAY, just hours later, the Monica Lewinski scandal erupts and will consume the major portion of Clinton's time for the remainder of his tenure.

Others include:

The World Trade Center bombing of 1993, ON THE DAY that Secretary Albright leaves on a trip to visit 8 Arab/Muslim countries to develop a strategy against Israel.

The Northridge Earthquake in 1994, ON THE DAY that President Clinton and Syrian President Assad demand that Israel turn the Golan Heights over to Syria.

Ravaging tornadoes hit the Mid-West ON THE DAY in 2002 that Bush negotiates the terrorist, Arafat's release from Israeli capture.

Hurricane Lili hit the U.S. at the same time in 2002 that Bush refused to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital.

And last (so far) but by no means the least…August of 2005 was the month when Sharon expelled the Jews of Gaza from their homes. Just about 10,000 Jews were made homeless, in accordance with the demands of the American President and his Secretary of State. The operation was being concluded on August 29. THAT VERY DAY, America was hit by THE WORST natural disaster to have ever occurred in America. Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area and just about 500,000 people were made homeless. 10,000 Jews out of a population of 6 million in Israel at the time is a percentage of .00167. 500,000 Americans out of a population of 300 million in America is also a percentage of .00167.

coincidence or not? we might all need to duck soon... the way things seems to be going.

Thanks' Betty from America for the info and thanks to you too Mom!
Baruch Hashem, Kulam

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ma Hadash

Ma hadash… Well, what is new anyways? In the big picture… we are all still working on our little lives, busy all the time, living day to day. The news is just more of the same (check this link out for the official… ‘Global Incident Map’ to see what I mean). http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php Is there anything that is really new to us in the world? Are we all just on a cosmic zip-line that takes us down the same track as the last time? Or, are we really doing something that counts, something with meaning to us and the people around us? Maybe if we are lucky, there could also be some meaning beyond our little lives and into the unknown. Well, the word unknown is kind of leading because we actually do know if we want to take the time to not only look, but to believe. I have recently taken steps to continue to walk up that path. A path that started for me as a Surfer on the beaches of Southern California and in the want-to-be ashram of the Hare Krishna’s in Laguna Beach, California. It continued at U.C. Santa Barbara Hillel with Rav Steve Cohen who was not only my first Rabbi, but my first Hebrew teacher as well. This path moved with me to Boulder, Colorado with first Jewish Renewal and then, as Hashem would have it, an amazing shift in consciousness and spiritual awareness to Aish Kodesh in Boulder and Rav. Gavriel Goldfeder’s North Boulder Shul (Yehudis Fishman too!) From there you know the rest from the blogs I have been spilling all over the internet super highway. So, ma hadash you ask? My spiritual journey, after having a brief hiatus to reflect and to develop a new and improved Israeli base of operations, is now under way once again. As some of you may or may not know, I was not born a Jew. I found Judaism in my quest for answers to questions that had none. Judaism gave me answers, but not like you may think. You see, it is customary in Judaism to answer a question with more questions so after 25 years of asking questions you can imagine how many questions I have rolling around in my head! However, not to worry, these questions all lead to one cosmic and ultimate answer which is really just the biggest question that has been continually asked throughout human history by every single human being and in every culture known… “G-D???!” So here I am, in the cradle of civilization, in the heart of the Holy Land for Jews and for Christians (also a minor holy land for Muslims… well, technically they were here more so when the Turks took over just a few hundred years ago…but that’s another story), and still asking the big question. I know that there are some answers around here someplace… There just has to be, and that is why I have decided to continue on this journey and to go to the next level. My loving wife and children have given me the green light to proceed on a cosmic quest, a journey that G-D willing will last until I am 120 years old. My old friend, my Kippa, is now permanently upon my head and I am moving up that path toward enlightenment and toward, yep… you probably guessed it… more questions. And speaking of Kipote (Yarmulke plural), today at the factory I had an interesting encounter with the hostile Nazareth Arabs from a couple of blogs ago. I was driving a fork lift, filled high with thousands of shekels worth of materials down a steep ramp. You need to drive backwards (one thing I learned in the 30 hours of forklift driving theory that I wrote about a while back) and saw in the rear view mirror these Arabs walking up behind the forklift. Now this is a forklift with sticky brakes, a teetering load of expensive and slippery materials, and driving down a steep and bumpy hill. Anybody walking up behind it is worrisome. There were two of them and one of them, the older one, walked around with some room to spare, but the younger guy walked right up behind the forklift, walked as close as he could to it, glared at me when he went past, and then when in front of it, turned his head and gave me a confrontational kind of grin, like you might see on a little gangster kid. Then it hit me; this guy has seen me before but he hasn’t seen me with a Kippa on my head. Aye… So, I have had a few dreams that I hoped to accomplish sometime in my life. One was to learn another language, one was to learn to play a musical instrument, and the last was to learn a martial art. The language is getting there slowly but surely and the instrument will probably be a Shofar. As for the martial art? Maybe Crav Maga (an Israeli martial art)… I think when I am wandering around in Israel with a Kippa on my head it might come in handy, at least in my own mind…Hashem is watching too! Now… that is a really nice feeling to have. Chanuka Sameach, Shabbat Shalom, and Baruch Hashem! Lahetraote Kulam