The secret Jewish Cannabis History and Wisdom teachings of all ages

Monday, April 24, 2006

lineage part 3: Won't Know

Jerusalem confuses me with her inconsistant mystical peak experiences. It's NICE to be able to speak words that feel like they matter, like they inspire/clarify/bridge...
The most shameful feeling in the world is shallow attempts at depth and positivity. The feeling of lying for the sake of fuff and appearance... and we do it very often, because who wants to ruin the show for everyone? who wants to look like just they just don't get it.

I love the rebbes, I might be spoiled by their Torah, and i will not say that I don't care, that it's worth it... have I been saved to come to another, better, truer perspective? I have not been willing to identify with many other paths as much as I have here, and perhaps I'm lying to say that I want to or could leave Jerusalem for long. for long.

But My Family, What do I owe them? Nothing. Love. Communication. What gates wish to be opened there? What better God am I serving in the meantime?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

So, in an attempt to talk with the Rabbi about ideas and maybe see where we agree and where there's difference in understanding, in an attempt to hear something new and challenge my old understandings, in the hope of hearing something new from someone old, I ask about Kotsk.

R Hutner was really into kotsk apparently, as well as the Vilna Gaon and the Maharal.
I mention the Kotsker to the Rabbi, and he mentions the Maharal. I pause in the hopes that he'll just expound from there, but no dice. So I go on asking things.

"Why was R Hutner so into these people in particular? What was it in their torah that he noticed, or was connected to?"

What do you mean? The Rabbi asked.

"Well... Kotsk is a very different kind of torah, with maybe very different priorities..."

The rabbi tried very hard to listen to what I was saying, an anguished look of concern on his face for what terrible thing I might say at any given time.

He was very supportive of me when I was younger, and had trouble in school, at least as ar as encouraging my expression of the difficulty. I once wrote I really scathing piece about my yeshiva in seventh grade, I forget to who it was adressed, I think it was for school, but it was reacted to very poorly by whichever teacher or administrator recieved it. The Rabbi, on the other hand, applauded me for it, saying it was important and showed a real love for Torah and a demand for it to be taken seriously.

I really have no way of knowing if he ever did anything from his position of power in the Day School system to do anything about it, either one way or the other. There could be any number of favors he's done for me and/or my father, from helping me get into one school to keeping me from being expelled for another. I wonder...

He suddenly got very open, something for which I eternally give him credit. Please note that none of what I'm describing happened at all the way i'm remembering it, let alone the way i'm describing it. This part of the conversation is very dreamlike to me, and i'll list the three things that may have been said. Either:

Well, you know, what's R Hutner looking for? What's his torah about that he's not satisfied with just Rashi and Poskim?

Or

Why do you think he was into the Torah that he was?

something like that. The next thing I remember is me talking about the mystery of lineage, and the new Torah being revealed. The frustrations with the limits of the Torah in "our time" and the mystery of Moshiach Torah, how much are we allowed to live it?

Which, come to think of it, has been the central question that i've been wrestling with since Dovid Hertzberg passed on.

What are you talking about, Moshiach Torah? Everyone knows there's only one Torah, what Moshe gave, what was passed down through the Chachamim throughout all generations, that's all the Torah we have!

"Well... in some communities, they seem to be wanting to learn from the students more than from the Rebbes... Like Kotsk, like Pshiske--"

But in all those places, they were learning from a Rebbe! The KOTSKER REBBE, THE PSHISKER REBBE-- They all had their Torah, coming FROM a REBBE, TO a DISCIPLE!

"What about the Baal Shem Tov?"

He learned from Achiya Hashiloni!

(Achiya Hashiloni was a biblical figure in the times of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. He appeared to the Baal Shem Tov as a spirit guide, revealing unto him... all manner of things, including What kind of shabbos G-d likes )

I shrugged, as if to say "well?" He bristled and huffed.

"Well, sure, they had schools, but they were trying there to find a better way, to get Torah more directly from G-d. Didn't R Pinchas of Koretz say, after the Baal Shem tov died, when they asked him to be the rebbe, didn't he say: Why can't we all just be friends? Isn't that what the Kotsker was so angry about? That people were depending on him for Torah, instead of just listening to what was being revealed by G-d?"

the only teachers I ever had who really were on the level were the ones who wanted not just to give something over as much as dig something out together... The ones desperate to hear what G-d is trying to tell us."

"I'm concerned... what if we've been using Torah, the way we've been learning it to avoid what G-d is trying to tell us?"

(There is a well established theological reasoning, involving the revelation on Sinai, and Chaim Vital's introduction to the pri etz chaim, arguing this point. It's probably one of the central teachings in Berg's Ashlagian Kabbalah, the repression of the true Torah through the revealed revealed Torah, by the way. But i never got to tell the Rabbi about that)

What are you getting at!? He demanded, enough with side points and nonsense, just come out with it, what are you trying to say!

The question surprised me, I thought I was being pretty straight forward. What does he hear?

Yoseph, I don't understand what you're trying to say. In fact, I don't understand how you even think. I don't understand what you're getting at at all. What are you asking?!

"I think maybe you understand all too well what i'm saying. There's some crucial problem with how Am Yisrael is relating to Torah and Mitzvos that is keeping us, maybe, from what Hashem wants us to do, wants us to know."

He took this to be an attack on orthodox Haredi Jewry, a dismissal of all their good works and an assault on their charachter. He berated me for not knowing anything about real judaism, for talking about communities and a lifestyle that i've never seen or had access to. Which seemed odd to me, because, y'know, he was responsible for all my primary Jewish education, summer camps and kollels included.

I was struck by the need for the assumption of my ignorance in order to devalue my message, instead of engaging me. I was reminded later, as a diplomat, and fundraiser, the Rabbi is master of conflict resolution and peaceable, non-confrontational ways of making peace between people.

And so, once again, he opened up.

Yoseph, you have No Right to have an opinion in Torah, No way of understanding any of what you're trying to talk about at all. You have to go back and Learn Chumish and Rashi, and A daf Gemuhruh, learn how to read a Daff Gemuhruh like a memnch, and then maybe after years, you can start to learn some Kabbalah, after you've learned first what it all means. You know who you think you are? Jesus Christ!

(Which is the worst thing a jew can be accused of being, with the possible exception of Hitler, arguably a figure with a much less threatening theology, at least as far as understanding.

Yehoshua Witt once, after the beit Simcha shul in nachlaot was vandalized by some pious folks with the words "Yeshu!" on the door, said to one of his sons: Anyone they want to hate, they call Yeshu.

Once you're Jesus, jews can't hear what you're saying anymore, because, by definition, he's saying that judaism and the Law don't matter anymore, at least not the way we thought they did. "I am here not to revoke the law, but to complete it"
That is, when the Christ speaks to you, you understand in your heart what the Law was trying to teach your mind, and all the layers of protection and insurance become revealed as irrelelvant, unnessesary. The shell is discarded as the fruit becomes ripe, overripe.

What if we're the shell, pasted up and tied over the living fruit, long since ripened, soured, fermentd? Or salted, left to sit forever?

More on the mystery of the Messiah to come
Plus, the secret history of mine lineage, because I don't think this shit up on my own. I would never dare.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jessi said...

"I'm concerned... what if we've been using Torah, the way we've been learning it to avoid what G-d is trying to tell us?"

Hmm, well Yoseph, would "lo b'shamayim hi" have to do with that? It seems like from that story that yeh, we are avoiding G-ds voice. N we know it!

"Yoseph, you have No Right to have an opinion in Torah,"
*slaps cheek* Oy vey! Well thats...controversial and plain wrong in my opinion. Must've been hard to take.

So what you need smicha to have an opinion on Torah?

8:05 PM

 
OpenID Michael said...

Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melech ha-olam, borei p'ri ha-kanehbos, etz chaim

7:13 PM

 

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