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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What a g-d wants, what a girl needs.

In my travels this summer, I got to meet some amazing people.

In one town, there was a beautiful river at the end of an arborium, with a foot path built leading into the river. There, past a certain point, the rocks have been arranged to create a heart shape river flute, leading the water in subtle harmonious song.

He claims to have been instructed in this task by his god, personally, at the same time as he was given the gift of tongues. He would pray in both english, and a tongue language that would seem to include hebrew, aramaic, chaldean, arabic and myriad other ancient languages in it's expressiveness. He was given this too by his god, along with many lessons every day.

He spoke about humility, learning that one cannot control G-d's will, only pray in deep faith and listen for what will come. We'd been learning the Inyan of Tzaddik Gozer, Hashem Mikayem for a little bit the last little while, and he responded to that idea with a very humble: G-d will do whatever he wants to do.


God tells someone to be quiet and stop talking about whatever they're talking about twice. Once to Moshe Rabbeinu, and once to Truth itself.

Moshe Rabbeinu is very troubled over the mystery of G-d's will. He wants to know it and recieve it as clearly as possible, but while he's up There, taking it all down, he's troubled by a big question.

Why do some Tzaddikim suffer and some Rishaim flourish?
Which is an extention of a larger question,

What really pleases you?

Which, on a darker level, is connected to the functional half of religion. The real question, the cynincal buisness man within might say is:

How do we get what we want?

Tell us clearly, the honest buisness man sweetly and respectfully asks, what it is we have to give you in order to get what we want. If we let you check our ingredients, turn on the fire, THEN will you buy our product?

And on a very tachlis, heady level, this is what Torah and Mitzvos are for, right, chas v' shalom? Rain in it's season, protection for our children and friends, food and clothing.

And everybody knows and feels this deep down. When we're children, we can have whatever we want, and if we don't, we cry. We explore to see what's worth wanting, what's worth tasting. And if we're not fed, we feel ourselves dying.

At some point we're told that we will only get the things we want, we'll only get fed the food we want, if we complete some tasks, accomplish some service, or, at least, don't do the bad things that piss mommy and daddy off. Ask the "right" way, and anything can be ours, right?

Moshe is coming before G-d, having learned all kinds of right ways to do so, and finally having been invited a little bit in, to ask for what he/we wants. And he asks the infinity question in response, what can we do to get hwat we want?

He has learned to phrase the question in chen and kavod, in charm and honor, how to do it exactly right. And he's told a bunch of things, one of which is, you'll never get it right, and you'll never have a flat way of knowing what's on my mind. "i'll do as I see fit" we learn in brachos.

Moshe asks about the crowns on the letters, what are these for? What are we supposed to do with these? And Hashem tells him, don't worry, someone will come along who will learn things out of them. As if to say: someone will come who understands it better than you, the delicate, strange ebb and flow of my will.

How? By dying horribly and happily. R' Akiva sees destruction and has learned to be consoled by it, sees good people suffering and has learned to see the virtue in it. Moshe Rabbeinu not so, "this is Torah, and this it's reward?"

As if to say maybe "is this what we're working so hard for?" If Torah and tzidkes doesn't earn your protection and master your will, then what good is it? I thought we had a deal: We do the good in your eyes, and you do the good in ours."

To which G-d says, Shut up! That's how It came up in thought. That's how we want it.

The Gemara in Brachos asks the question, why do some tzaddikim suceed, some suffer, some Reshaim suceed, and some suffer? Because if suffering in this world is good, then great, lets do that, if that's enlightenment, but no! Some Tzaddikim don't have to suffer. And if success in this world is a sign of divine protection, then great, but why do some Reshaim suceed and some fail?

So they answer, it depends on totality. A tzaddik gamur only suceeds, and a total rasha only suffers, they say. What does this mean?

It occured to me that it has to do with grace, What G-d Likes, which changes all the time sometimes, as the ebb and flow of what's cool to G-d changes, as the balance tips in any given direction, as g-d's dark side is charmed, as is bright side is charmed.

The Torah is to help us understand, feel and relate to Hashem's struggle, maybe. His struggle to learn what is it that I really want, now and/or forever. To the degree that it can do that, it's really torah.

Aaaron Genuth mentioned to me seeing in Moshe Idel's book on Chassidus, Between Magic and Exctacy something that surprised him, the idea that amongst controversial innovations of the chassidic movement was calling the things that Rebbes were giving over "Torahs." As if any new Torah could come down since the gemara!?

The Chassidim of the maggid justified this by claiming a gemara somewhere that described Torah as being something with seventy faces and seventy interpretations, saying that anything that was given over deep enough to mean seventy different tthings in different contexts, that's called Torah, and the words of the Maggid surely apply.

So is Tisha B'av mourning or moshiach? Once again, all we can do is listen for what Hashem wants today. Please lord, bless us to be with you in your will of what time it is Right Now, and how you want us to live. Please help us indulge our truest desires, in the way that only you can: with the wonderuful things that we cannot control, only appreciate when they come. Give us hearts to know when to accept the good, and when to be as unsaisfied with it as you are.


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