I told you I was growing the beard back. After I had the divorce and the nervous breakdown I shaved my beard and cut my hair. Now that I have found myself I am growing it back.
I have been holding back. I have been sending a friend from Finland poetry and writing about the meaning of life, stuff that I believe and have been studying in the hope of understanding myself and my place with others better. Stuff about kindness, love, purpose, a common humanity, and serving others. Beautiful imagery about lights and stars and sparkling nets, understanding what G-d is and being connected with G-d and the universe and the entire human race. But I have not been sharing it.
For lack of a better word I could say Kabbalistic mysticism, but that is misleading. People say “Kabbalah! Secrets!” But that’s just flash. The depth of meaning which comes out of Kabbalistic teachings is incorporated in the Jewish liturgy. There are no “secrets”, really. It’s all there in the prayer service.
My friend is the Lubavitcher rabbi in Finland. A very busy man, but I am a “nudge”. That means a bothersome pushy stubborn person in Yiddish. I’m not Jewish, but I wanted to be connected to Judaism and continue to learn.. Well, I was not born into a Jewish tradition. But I may be able to follow my direct female lineage back to a Jewish mother. Which, I believe, makes me, practising or not, and my entire female line, Jewish by Orthodox law. So I may be Jewish and my situation may be one of “return” rather than conversion. But it is a moot point, because I practice anyway. And I pushed myself on this Lubavitch rabbi, and I borrowed the books in his library. But, to be fair to myself, because nudge has a negative connotation and you should not demean other people, even yourself, he has called me a “mensch” and “ayzn”, which means a good, strong upright human being. “Ayzn” means iron. People seem to believe strongly in me. Still I belittle myself and my abilities.
You should not insult others or yourself because all things come from G-d. If you belittle yourself you are belittling the Divine Image. The Lubavitch are an Chassidic group. Chassidic practice is based in Chesed, which is the Hebrew word for loving kindness. There are a lot of laws a Jew has to follow, 613 of them, by tradition, that guarantee that, even if a person is horrible, he has a code to follow that will allow him to be good. I say this because there are a lot of different personalities. I believe that it is possible to follow the rigorous ethical path and still maintain your individuality. Before you start looking into mystical questions you should have a strong foundation in the tradition. Your ethical and philosophical foundation should be strengthened by the Law. Otherwise, there is no foundation and the centre cannot hold. There is a saying called “pulling up the shoots” which literally means uprooting the tradition. Very upsetting. But just as I believe there can be individual personalities within the rigour of the law so I believe there can be discovery and innovation without discarding tradition. According to the Hassidic way you should discard your ego because all things belong to G-d. Now, what is G-d, and what is our relationship to that? That is the ultimate question, isn’t it. What is our purpose? What is our place in the Universe?
I haven’t answered that yet? But I am asking the question.
The Lubavitch rabbi told me to make a blog and share my thoughts with others. Well, I have a great deal of respect for the position. God says and we do. I feel like the rabbi can get what I am trying to say, but I don’t know if anybody else can. Well, for anybody to get this stuff, I have to be an honest forthright person and put it out. Maybe someone else will “get it”.
Because, if the purpose is to create a better world, you have to address the world.
So, more to follow.
Peace and Love