Showing posts from April, 2010

Of Cavemen, Politicians, and Regular Folk

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was a beloved student of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva was the spiritual guru during the Bar Kochba (Ben Kosiba) revolt in 135 CE against Rome and the only one of the four sages that entered the “Pardes,” which means Orchard in Hebrew, and came out whole, both mentally and physically. Pardes is also an acronym for Pshat (simple or plain), Remez, (hints or deep), Drash (inquire or seek), and Sod (secret or hidden), which are the four levels of Torah learning. Rabbi Akiva passed on orally to his student, Rabbi Shimon, the Pardes of the Torah including the hidden level of Sod. Because Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was a student of the spiritual guru of the revolt against Rome, bar Yochai was relentlessly pursued by the Romans and their politicians (it didn’t help that he hung out with Rabbi Jose and Rabbi Judah, whose parents happened to be proselytes; I need to be careful here... My ego might get offended...). The story in the Talmud goes like this: Rabbi Judah commenced the

Inspiration, Paradise, and the Promised Land

Inspiration... That is what it is all about, isn't it? When I was in art school, I began to search for the reason that I would eventually move to Israel. For a long time I thought that it was all about how I was going to be recognized by others for my achievements, so I was so happy when news articles were written and shows organized around what I had done. But in the end, when the paint dried and all that I had to show for it was a few bucks and a hole where I thought there had been a child—I was empty. Inspiration was not, evidently, enough to hold me in the long haul. Or maybe it wasn’t about the inspiration as much as what the inspiration was about. I was moving from high to low and back to high, like I was taking a drug. When I look back on that place in my life, I realize that it was self inflated and artificial. It went in circles and never really had an end. I kept thinking, if I could only get into that gallery, if I could only speak to the right art dealer at the right ti

One Jerusalem!

Study of the Foundation Stone  © DTNoll 4-16 דורונול Did you ever wonder what in the world is going on in Jerusalem and why is it such a hot-spot on the planet? Let’s look at a little history to see if we can figure it out. It all starts way back, but let’s just begin in 1948 when a convoy of 78 Jewish medical personnel, on the way to Mount Scopus on the eastern side of Jerusalem, was attacked and the personnel killed in an Arab ambush in which the bodies of the fallen nurses and doctors were mutilated and left as a message to other Jews. After this massacre, Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital both closed their doors on Mount Scopus and moved locations to the relative calm of western Jerusalem. One month later, during the defensive war that the fledgling state of Israel fought with every single Arab neighbor in the region, the Arab Legion captured the police station on Mount Scopus, isolating it from the rest of Jerusalem. The Jordanians occupied eastern Jerusalem until Isra

The Glue that Binds Us and the Land of the Lost

As a seeker of truth, I have spent probably too much time learning as much as I can about how the world works. Subjects such as archeology, anthropology, history, religion, culture, social movements, politics, philosophy, physics, sociology and on and on, just to try and understand the universe and its inner workings. All this has led me to an understanding that, ultimately, each individual when operating on his own and by him/herself, is doomed to be lost. What is ‘lost’? ‘Lost’ means alone, afraid, and without recourse for changing the circumstances. ‘Lost’ is a way of being without a plan and without any direction. I often feel lost in the world, which, if you look around seems pretty normal for everyone… So why is it that when someone speaks out with a plan, we seem to trust what they say? Maybe we all sense that we are lost too and just want someone to give us directions. Don’t you wish there was some kind of spiritual map-quest? We could plug in our coordinates and pick a destina