The secret Jewish Cannabis History and Wisdom teachings of all ages

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Hayashan Nitchadash, VhaChadash NitKadesh

great little moment in the subway yesterday, I had to share it with you.

I get on the L train, and, as I swing in, i notice right next to where i want to sit, there's a kids in tzitzis and kippah poring over an artscroll gemara. He sees me, instinctively moves his stuff out of the way, and I sit down next to him.

"hey, what's happening in the gemara?"

reflexively, he responds with the page and side.

"Yeah, but what's happening on the page?"

He takes a second to process and sweetly answers, I'm just starting a new sugya.
It feels to me like he thinks i'm testing or challenging him, or like i'm going to try to call him on how well he knows it or something.

"I'm just wondering what it's about." I'm in seriously curious scholar mode! personal interaction will follw, but for now, teach me something!

He smiles, and starts telling me,

You can't sell something holy
for the sake of buying something less holy
Only for the sake of aquiring something even more holy.

That's the mishna. It's already so deep.
The gemara asks, what if you have
two things
that are equally holy
two sepher Torahs

One is old
The other is new.
Can you sell the old one to buy a new one?

I laughed when he told me this.
An old one isn't holier because it's older?
No, he laughed,
A new one, you can read easier, it looks nicer.
An old one, it's still holy, just less nice.
Can you sell it to by the new one?

Friday, August 12, 2005

when vessel is shattered, what do you have left?

So basically, Tammuz does not just refer to an Idol. It means the force in the universe that is the peak of life and creativity, the Tzaddik Chai Olamim as we call it sometimes.

There's a problem with the idea of God that the atheists have caught on to. If he's so good, how can there be evil at all, right? How does he, not just tolerate it, but how can it be at all?

So, what we religious folk like to say is, oh, it's not so bad. Or even better, you're bad for noticing it. The fuckers had it coming, karma from a previous life and all that. Don't blame God for the things you did. Which is a little bit bullshit, if you're not blaming God, you're not thanking him either.

So, I heard another thing from Josh Lauffer, only atheists really have an idealistic idea of God, and that's why they don't believe in him, because God is supposed to be So Good, how can any of this bad be? Religious people kinda let God off the hook really easily, like an abused wife justifying her husband's... eccentricities. Aishes Chayil mi Yimtza, right?

So, one way the problem was phrased was like this: There's the big G-d, who includes everything, including evil. He Is Beyond mortal judgements of right or wrong, and, well, that's a hard G-d to pray to and feel close to. How could it be my beloved doesn't care more for me than anyone~anything else? And for that matter, how can I ask for anything to the impersoanl infinite, before whom all is equal valued and valueless.

And so, there's the little G-d, the smaller face, who's my hero. He fights my enemies, saves me from evil, and is just So Good, it makes me cry.

What's the problem with the little G-d? He sounds and feels almost exactly like a person. This is where theology gets tricky.

We need to be able to see god, hear god and or feel god in order to really mamish believe in god, otherwise how could we ever, really believe? So G-d has to become people sometimes. really all the time, if you have the eyes, but sometimes more so, more revealedly. Kings and parents, warriors and teenagers, all have a conspicuously divine quality. And Power is rendered to them to rule in the world, as G-d himself. Tzaddik Gozer Hashem Mikayem, the tzaddik decrees, and Hashem fufills, W Hashem Gozer, v HaTzaddik Mivatel, for that matter, what Hashem decrees, the Tzaddik has the power to nullify.

I feel like the concept of Tzaddik is very close to the concept of soulmate. There might be many, and it might be everyone, but really, it only a rare few, maybe thirty six in the world, and really, there's only one, in the whole world... at a given moment. Who is it? Could it be the both R' Nachman and the Baal Hatanya were alive at the same time? How could it be?

So, while one can get into the fun kabbalistic game of identifying whihc part of the soul of the tzaddik each tzaddik is, I feel like it's... something else.

One of the deepest acid trips I ever had, I'm at a Phish concert for the first time. It's a big show, at a big stadium, and i'm dancing like never before. Suddenly, after like three hours of dancing, I have broken through all the walls of tension and stiffness and whatever I felt was physically holding me back, and now I'm alive, not only more than i'd ever been before, but maybe, more than anyone's ever been before.
It occurs to me what a big cosmis thing it is for a jew to be dancing this awesomely in public, at such a universal peak of culture, the place where it felt like the light of the newest highest music in the world, with physical expression to it restored to Israel, it came with a wave of clarities-- The water moves all the time, the wave of life is moving constantly. The most stagnant in the back is constantly being wiped out of existence, and the frontest peak of the wave... that's what's called The Life of The World...

Innovation in torah is what has marked the charachters i've associated with being the neshamos klalliot for a generation, and there's a sense that whatever they lived, in those moments, pushed existence forward. And it was never any body personally, we're just riding the waves of the torah and priviledge that's been given to us, the tools and secrets of longing and davening and perseverance that's been gifted to us by all our rebbes... This is what has marked some as being The Tzaddik, and when you're there, God is looking right at you, and he can refuse you very little, if it's real.

How do you know if it real? If you're crying, G-d can't ignore you. If it's moving you like that, it has to be real, at least on some level.

what do you call godly? only that which looks it. Idols and Partufim, the only ways that hashem is perceived and identified, tells us nothing about what's on the inside, but it does command our respect and awe, and kind of puts us into a religious state. The one who's called "The" tzaddik, may not have more karma points, or be a more flawless human than anyone else, only that he's percieved that way. Tzaddikim are not nessesarily closer to G-d than Rishaim, except on the level of deeds and other similar visible standards of judgement. This is part of the secret of the proverbial "Don't make yourself too much a tzaddik" because wealth, karmic or other wise, is not the main thing, except on the outside. But on the outside, it sure looks like the main thing. It's the main standard for which things are weighed and compared, the main way you know that someone else has succeeded.

What's an Elohim? Areyeh Kaplan says it's the percption of G-d, and that's why authorities, judges, idols and rebbes are all called it. That's Tammuz and that's Yosef Hatzaddik, right? The tradition of Yosef's life has him born on the winter solstice and die on the summer one, much like any other traditional killed and ressurected solar deity. The twist on his story is that he's human, but a human with divine powers, that is, to feed people in times of famine, and divine understanding to interpret dreams.

Yosef is one of the few old testament heroes who never talks to or hears G-d. "Are interpretations not to Elohim? So, let me interpret it" Instead of hearing G-d, he manifests G-d, and speaks his will for him. Grant Morrison talks about a bumper sticker he loved, Instead of letting God do your thinking, let's tell him what to think for a change!

This is why, in Ishbitz cosmology, rabbinic authority is associated with Yosef, because it has to do with decreeing The Law, instead of listening for the law. The crux of rabbinic law is that's not in heaven, and that, as far as legilation, the voice of G-d has no authority anymore. As opposed to David, who, in Ishbitz, symbolizes the heart of longing for divine truth, that lives in the law, and for that revelation which is beyond the law. After a law is broken, he'll go back and take responsibility for it, but fear will not stop him from having crossed the boundary in the first place.

Obviously, everyone needs to have a little of both to be in the world and beyond the world. We need both the big G-d, to be beyond, and the little one, to stay alive.

And the flaw in both Yosef and Tammuz that gets them both killed is what all peak experience leads to: When ou're really alive, and shining like the sun, you become oblivious to everybody else. This is the danger of the summertime, and why, right in the peak of it, we stop and hold back-- lest we burn ourselves out. Lest we forget to drink enough water, and make sure the kids are taken care of.

The story with Tammuz, his wife gets dragged down to Sheol, and is allowed out only on condition that she find someone else to take her place. Upon leaving the pit to find someone, she sees her husband, and behold! he's just sitting on his throne, oblivious! He didn't even notice I was gone! So she drags him down to hell, and keeps him there until his sister talks her into trading places with him every six months, so that there can be life in the world sometimes.

How could she over power him? It must be that he felt so bad when he realized what he'd missed, that he let himself be dragged down. Yosef, is talking all this snap about his brothers, and their sins, and bragging almost about how great he's gonna be... How could he not notice that his brother's were angry with him, and wanted to kill him?

One midrash claims he did it all on purpose, he knew that Israel was supposed to be enslaved in Egypt, and he wanted to try to take their place. But, maybe he was just oblivious, caught up in the divine rapture of the moment, and honestly couldn't see anything but his own light. Happens sometimes, and we're all so afraid to be and express too much self in yiddishkite, because we're afraid of re-living that "mistake." Rebbe's are only allowed to be because they are so wholey devoted to their community. And Yosef's re-union with his brothers can only happen once he's really listening to Yehuda, to someone else's experience. He comes to power when he starts interpreting other people's dreams, becomes sensitive to other people's realities.

It's nice to be the god sometimes, and it's even nicer to not be anything at all, listening and present, not just in your own fire, but hearing your brother. Which the main work of the three weeks and T'sha B'av, right? The fixing of Av is hearing, the whole fasting and holding back from music and external joy-making things is to be able to hear, what's really going on with each other. Because the only reason we ever get invaded or destroyed is because we refuse to hear our enemies, our brothers, our lovers ourselves. Please, do us all a favor... who ever you feel like is attacking you, who ever you feel is trying to take away everything from you, your enemy, who ever's attacking you... listen to them for a second. Listen to what they're really asking for. If Hevel had done that to Kayin, If Kamtza had done that to bar Kamtza, If Yaakov had done that for Eisav... Well, he might have his daughter marry him, which is for another time.

Basically, when some one is yelling at you to die, they're really asking for attention for something else, and they don't trust anyone to care about that, so they
make noise instead. A girl in Brooklyn was telling me tonight, when someone's runnig down the street away from someone yelling "rape!" everyone ignores her, but when she's yelling "fire" people look to check it out. Please, listen to your enemies... don't obey them, but listen for what they're really trying to say. It might just save your life.

And, it might let you see the bigger truth, the realer God too. Temples, like Idols and Partsufim, are basically so that you can contain G-dliness a little bit. Without vessels, what can you do with light, right? This is a Shlomo torah, Zev Savetsky turned me on to. You need to make vessels to beable to hold the light, and the light itself is infinite. Tisha ba'v, when the temple is destroyed, is just like when the temple is built.

when the vessel
is destroyed
You suddenly see how infinite the light is.

Imagine you love someone
and they break your heart
and leave you, and say they never want to see you again.
It hurts.
And then, once you let go, is when you see how infinite the love really is.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hunger strike

Ever feel like there was something missing from your life? Something really important, that you almost might've once had, but somehow...?

In Judaism, we call that something the holy temple. That's gotta be it.

Conversely, doesn't it feel like there's some mysterious part of the tradition that's missing? Some context, some kind of detail that would make the whole Torah make sense? As it stands, we trust it and live with it to whatever extent we can and do, but doesn't it feel like we're hidden from some vital part of the story?

I've heard said by Yaakov Sack, quoting Freud, that the most important part of the tradition is passed on in silence. Total silence, all the things that are going on, that no-one can bare to talk about. Or knows how to at all.

Terrence Mckenna holds that, what is the temple we're longing for?
Once, we lived, really lived. Our mother the earth gave us all satisfactions, food and psychedelic drugs, growing all around. We learned what the things we saw growing were and what they did to us and other animals, and together, we grew for generations. Then, came the day...

Once, we had Mushrooms all the time, and would use them, to become better hunters, better seekers, smarter, more creative. Then, one day, some of us didn't feel safe hunting and gathering anymore. For some reason, the awareness of death that most of life is able to ignore in the moments of life became intolerable to Some People, who took responsibilty for individual tracts of land, and began to grow crops on them, in an attempt to have enough, non-poisonous food available all the time. What was the Tower of Bavel, says he, it was a storage house, for our first compiled community stash of grain. tall enough, that if anyone came to steal, one could just drop bricks on their heads.

And so, the three weeks, from the seventeenth of Tammuz to the ninth of Av have long been a canaanite period of morning, since way before any temple was set in Jerusalem. The destruction of the temple was ordained from the day of it's erection, and it's not just so much a period of mourning for a particular catastrophe, as much as a period of high alert going back... to what?

Doesn't it feel like there was something happening before the tradition we have passed on became the template for what's now called the Torah? Couldn't it be there's an older tradition incuded in It that's still available to clarify what G-d really wants, and what we're up with/against?

I've heard R Micha Odenheimer doresh, what's the Chumash about? It starts with a story of how we were introduced to the Etz Ha daas, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And God tells us, "eat of this, and you will die."

And in the wild, that's very much a reality,
Eat of the wrong fruit,
And you'll die.

How we must have dreamed and prayed
for a safer world
where we'd have stockpiles and aisles
of "safe" food, that we'd never have to worry was poisonous, ha!

And so we were dismissed from the Eden of living in the moment, and were doomed to live off the sweat of our brow, growing a subsistance crop. I gave unto you all the seed bearing herbs, and now you're down to and dependant, on that one grain. Or seven grains, that are included in one.

And so Cain kills abel, ultimately for the same reason that Abraham splits from Lot, ultimately for the same reason a temple would be destroyed-- in the fight to survive, the farmer cannot tolerate danger, lest his field not survive him the winter, lest the crop he now depends on die, and he'll starve.

This is what the three weeks ultimately comes from. Outsiders come and destroy our temple. Why? Because of weakness, and dis-unity? Yeah. And deeper than that, it's because of the memory of something terrible that happened because we were too caught up in our own trips to notice The Others.

want proof? check out the story of Tammuz. I'll get more into that... soon.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Candy vs.Family: What do you really NEED?

I saw a movie the other night that really... caught me. Ever see it?

Party Monster, the trueish story of Michael Alig, club kid, party thrower extraordinaire. Maculay Culkin plays him with a Mary Martin Peter Pan voice and dangerously playful temperment.

I saw another movie on friday, that kinda got me similarly/differently. The new Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, that Tim Burton just put out. Tim Burton, it must be noted, was one of the few people I thanked in my bar mitzvah speech, back in the day.

Both movies are about drugs, what we do with them, what we use them for, and what they can't do for us.

Party Monster gave me a heart to imagine what religion could be like if we ever got it together. This kid becomes a party organizer, despite complete organizational incompetance, pathetic irresponsibility and no friends. His "best friend" hates him, and only gets close to him because of constant badgering, and offers of great parties. Through sheer force of will, and an indominable sense of play, he scores a huge club, The Limelight, and becomes the hottest thing in town, coming to national fame just because of his fabulousness.

How do monks and mystics get away with it? How do they get supported? Either because of community guilt, we have to support him, for he is holy, and our souls benefit, or community extacsy, what he does is awesome! surely, I give whatever I am asked so that this good time can endure.

Grace depends on what? Being pretty isn't nessesarily enough, we see how many beautiful people are hated for their beauty, because it somehow doesn't give over the party, just keeps it over here where you can't share in it. If you can be a part, if there's ahope that I can be beautiful with you, then any demands, financial, ideological or moral is just another opportunity to come closer to the Life of Worlds.

A concept in kabbalah/chassidus: The Tzaddik Chai Olamim. Identified with the pillar that holds up the world in the talmud, responsible for all satisfaction and nourishment-- maybe not responsible for, didn't nessesarily have to work for, but it's all recieved though. The Yesod of Yesod is identified with, not just the phallus, but the sensitive part within it, through which all orgasm is felt.

There's a party in the world, always. My favorite Zev Illowitz torah, one of them, why does G-d keep lowering the count of how many people are nessesary to make Sodom and Amorrah worth saving? Why stop at ten? Because ten is a party, a good party, and without a good party, there's nothing making a city worth keeping. It's been agreed, that before New York can be destroyed, it'll have to become lame first, as all the imaginative, creative pleasure culture is the first thing to go when a city becomes scared for it's life. That was the downfall of Berlin, Cordova, Rome, London... Once they got lame, it was over.

That party is thrown by the tzaddik, in his generation. The baal Ha Tanya brings down, and i can't imagine it's not an idea from the Zohar already, what makes a tzaddik better than other people? Just a love of pleasure. Ahavat Taanugim, this is what makes us demand more from ourselves and our God. Holy arrogance grows out of the love of pleasure that will not tolerate the lame. What's Avodah Zara? Zar, lashon strange, scattered (zaruah), awkward, uncomfortable. Lame service, paid despite the lack of real pleasure. Ever get involved with someone, only to realize, oh, half way into the sex act that you really didn't want to be there? a tzaddik would then say so, and either get up and leave, or find a way to genuine make it fun. A beinoni would just accept it, try not to hurt the poor girls feelings, and fake interest. A rasha would blame her for not being good enough.

Why aren't we all on the level of tzaddik? We're afraid we don't deserve it, aren't strong enough to handle it, couldn't appreciate it. Why do we get tired at parties so fast sometimes, why is it so hard to dance for too long, to Love for too long? We're afraid of pushing ourselves, and getting hurt. Or disapointing someone else.

The tzaddik is responsible for "feeding" everyone. If he doesn't, people, angels, and god will hold him responsible for pretending to be The One Who could "take care of it." Be careful what you commit to, we're taught, because then someone will expect it.

And be willing to do amazing things, to be amazing, impossible. The tzaddik does the impossible, or rather, adjusts what we believed was possible. Mostly through grace.

It is known that all prayer is received through grace, that is, charm, cuteness. Noah is not saved nessesarily because he deserved to be saved, says the talmud, just because he was cute. That's what made him "a tzaddik in his generation"

The baal Hatanya brings down, presumeably from the kitvei Ari, who might well be bringing down from the zohar, what makes a tzaddik different? Ahavas Taanugim, love of pleasures. That's all.

"What's the point of candy?", one of the four failed initiates into Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory asks. Five kids enter, all except for one through means and ways, each on their own path to "success," each being consumed and rejected by what they've mis-identified the Main Purpose of life. Money. Success. Intelligence. Sweetness.

They have all identified their God, their source of pleasure, and are all undone when what they expected to guide them just makes them too obnoxious to live.

What's the main thing Hashem demands? Stay interesting. The faliure of every dismantled society and subculture, no matter how devoted and brilliant, is being the same for too long.
Don't be too much a tzaddik, lest ye become stagnant and obnoxious, expecting the same old drug/god to work the same way forever. I heard Shalom Ahron Dym once say, why is the Torah always refered to in Lashon Toseph, addition, innovation? Because if it isn't new all the time, what good is it?

"Candy doesn't need a point. Candy just is." Says the little boy, so poor, his family can only afford one candy bar a year, which they give him for his birthday.

For his grace, his refusal to demand anything from the ride besides the ride, he is given the keys to the Kingdom, the chocolate factory itself. And he refuses it, when told it can only come at the price of ever seeing his family again.

Family is kind of offered as the opposite of candy in both films. Dependable, contractive, warming and nutrtive, family is what Michael Alig reaches for at the end of Party Monster. Finally in prison for murder, Michael declares his plan to get marry his girlfriend, settle down and straighten out into what might actually be called sometimes "real" life.
Alas, she's overdosed and dead, too much chocolate, too much life.

Charlie's grandfathers give him different ranges of advice, clarifying the priorities that he, even in his infinite goodness, could not recognize. Chalie is ready to give up his Golden ticket for money to help his poor, impovershed family, his cynicalest Grand father tells him, why trade something so special and rare for something as common as money? Biglal Avos, only because of what we've learned from the ancestors, are we able to save so much time making the same mistakes, and while an Am ha-aretz, a limited-to-common sense person can be a fine chasid, he can't be a proper tzaddik, someone who actually does what's most right and correct, because he doesn't have access to The Things Experience Has Taught Before. He is nourished on endless cabbage soup, the opposite of chocolate in both price and effect.

Cabbage is drying, cheap, and doesn't go bad very much at all. It dispells parasites, and prepares the I for life and health, so that when the chocolate comes to blow your mind, you have a mind built up to blow.

I heard a wise man (Dr Mike Harris) once say, don't do psychedelics while you're too young, there's nothing to blow yet. Build a healthy ego first before you go knocking it down.
Willy Wonka ran from his oppresive dentist father (Christopher Lee!) fleeing his strict and righteous health advice, and grows up to eat nothing but candy. He is Free, his imagination and genius unfettered by the assumptions and impositions that family/cabbage makes about what is possible and what is healthy. And ultimately, he needs to come back to wholeness, only by re-integrating family and counsel into his life, first being taken by Charlie to reconcile with his father, who, it tear jerkingly turns out, has been watching his son grow and been keeping clippings charting Willy Wonka's success in neatly organized scrapbooks, and then, by sitting and feasting with Charlie's family, ultimatly becoming part of it.

Michael suffers from much the same freedom, the drugs, just a side effect of allowing his vision to expand infinitely. Polysexual, dressing and behaving with infinite creativity and openness, his mother is portrayed as an utterly vapid and irrelevant creature, just along for the parties and glamour, putting no check, offering no guidance to Michael ever, besides demanding drugs and limosines. No wonder he seems to be trying to build the funnest, most beautiful family ever, desperate for love and good times, brutally sensitive to heartbreaks and all manner of pain, furiously insulted when people keep dying on him.

Don't you feel like you've found the greatest, funnest family ever? If you haven't yet, I bless you to feel that way at once. Thank God for good Shabbos, good community, and the amazing torah, or candy, or whatever brings us together. I feel like better Torah brings better community into being, and i'm so greatful for all the love I keep finding. Be blessed to have the good supplies of both, and the sweetest balance ever.

Candy is no fun with no one to share it with, this is a big part of both stories. Even as Michael sits in prison, he calls the "best friend" who betrayed him to the authorities, and still talks to him about how much he loves and misses him. chocolate cannot be appreciated without a life of cabbage, and this is the secret, ultimately, of Torah and the Tzaddik. Hamayvin Yaavin, yeah?

Thanks again, you guys. Be blessed with a religion worth rocking and Welcome to the party that will not stop.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sod 420

Addenum to that last piece:

The first post we did here gave over the secret that 420 = AShaN, B'gmatria. Everybody knows that now. Also, the Gematria of Mimitzrayim, because all solid objects are held together by boundaries and constrictions, and only that which is disolving into smoke is really free, as is known.

What was not mentioned were a few other Gematriatic correspondences with 420, notably, CiNashim, "like women"
Shlaymim, "peace offerings" or, alternatley "Whole"
Shnaihem, the two of them, because ganja is rarely enjoyed alone; every exhale lets you share it with the heavens. Anyone got anymore?

The most ridiculous one i've dug up? MaLlY is Rashai Taivos (first initials) Maduah Lo Yibaer (HaSneh) "Why won't it burn out?" Get it? Did I spell Mally right? is it spelled "Molly"? This is the problem with oral traditions... :>