So, once or twice upon a time, there was a conference, between the chieftain of our clan and the cheiftain of theirs.
Our people had been fighting, and the cheifs wanted to end that.
The cheiftains who care not for their people don't mind so much when there is fighting, they benefit from The Enemy being The Other, instead of too much attention being focused on the domestic Caeser.
And that happens. But a generation later, two generations later, who's in charge? Maybe sometimes, the leader of a nation is secure in his own place, and genuinely takes on the priorities and concerns of the people he is in charged with caring for.
In tribal times, when dissatisfaction with a leader resulted in the end of that leader, it might have been easier to ensure at least that the Chief was the most devoted, helpful, caring and wise of the tribe. I wonder if it's ever been that way, but why not? Why shouldn't things have worked righteously at least for a minute every so often?
So, once or twice, it was that the Caeser of Rome and the Exilarch of Judah had a conference, to end the fighting.
Enlightenment depends on communication, translation. It was very important for Greece to translate the texts of all those living in it, so that the wisdom of the other should be understood, in order that it not be threatening. This is why it's crucial to understand other people's languages, and contexts.
Remember that old episode of Sesame Street? It's ok if you never saw it, But once a few of the people in the neighborhood of Sesame Street go with one of it's more wounded, forlorn residents to visit his hometown, on the occasion of some family get-together of his.
He was a grouch, unlike the other mostly positive (though occasionally frustrated or even sad) members of Sesame Street's rich and diverse community of Birds (big and small!), Puerto Ricans, Monsters, Blacks, Queers, and even deaf or retarded people and puppets. His name was Oscar, and he apparently chose to live in garbage, in a relatively constant state of anger and contempt for the goings on of the community. But he was loved, nonetheless, and found friends amongst the people, some of whom wanted to come along with him to visit his home town.
In fact, It could be he even begged them to come. It had been so long, and he was worried that his changes in charchter might not make sense unless he had some of his newer friends with him. So two human beings come along with him.
And they are greeted with jeers and screams! "scram!" "Who said you could come here!" "leave us alone!"
And so they start to feel bad. I guess they don't want us here. "fine!" "we're leaving!"
And the Grouches in Grouch town are surprised. Oscar understands, and calls his friends back.
Guys! Don't feel bad! They like you!
That's just how we say "hello."
Ohhhh! The humans say, and they come back, suddenly recieving the seemingly jeerful greetings with appreciation and aplomb.
That's just how grouches talk!
And so, Romans have been confused by Jews and Jews by Romans. There's a long history of guilt and wound, distrust and confusion. Shchem some how offends Jacob's children, by marrying their sister wrong, and they use it to wipe out his people. And our defensiveness continues to confuse, offend and destroy, even as it might save our lives and our pride, it might well not be. who knows?
And so, Rome is aware of it's atrocities, and defensive of them almost to the last. Even as it tries to grow, no king is sorry for what decisions he has made for the sake of his kingdom. His kids might be sorry though, but everything they had comes from their father, and appreciation for what father has given over is ever the virtue of empires.
This is a vision I had while tripping on acid at a String Cheese Incident concert in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. I grew up in Brooklyn, and it's was a very deep messianic thing for SCI to come play there. That they knew this was reflected in the set list, and in the party favors they brought with them.
Do you guys know how tour culture works? It's mamish awesome. People from lost places jump on, meet new family, fall in love, and follow a band on tour for as long as it goes. They make money selling whatever good they make or bring to locals in the new towns, selling anything from food to clothing to jewlery to psychedelics: how pure and how good the merchandise depends on the band being toured with, with the righteouser bands having righteouser, healthier crowds.
And String Cheese, somehow, is one of the sweetest. the music is really peripheral, but trust worthy, and the true testament to the goodness of what they're doing shines on the faces of the kids that feel safe and compelled to tour with them.
And so, sweet positive people sell Psychedelics that can be trusted. A lovely interacial couple from Virginia sit and talk with me about God and Prayer before selling me two tabs of acid. One is enough, but I feel safe here, having fasted all morning on Cacao beans ground into a paste with fresh organic blueberries. I'll take two, in the hopes of finding something new.
And so it goes. I tend to experience psychedelics very physically especially when music is involved, not music for listening, but music for CELEBRATING.
And so, it takes on and takes off. It's a really positive bunch of bands, and a nice circle of friends. Fro-yo comes with his mom, who has a whole cute easy chair set up. When the acid starts to kick in, I put my bag and surplus clothes near her, in the hopes of having them again once the show is over.
I used to have a problem, where exctatic psychedelic revelations would result in me losing all my property. Tephillin and I.D. cards and all kind of important detail, don't ask... It would often be experienced as worth it... but not ideal. Moish Geller once claimed that it was a sign of some kind of lack that needed filling, and, thank g-d, lately my excstatic transformative experiences seem to come without such a cost, caniynahurrah.
But that day, the only cost was some terror. Not really, i'll explain.
I'm dancing, spinning, rolling, going crazy, but in control enough not to be hurting myself or anybody, as I start peaking. Messianic fervor hits me, and I want everyone else to dance themselves back to life too.
At one point someone comes up to me, an older guy comes and whispers to me as I slow down, You know: you rea;;y have to be careful with traveling now, because you're on the FBI's suspicious person list.
I laugh openly nervously, "maan, don't tell me that!" And then what can I do? What would R' Nachman do? What would Adam Silver do?
Adam Silver is a very nice person, who left a strong mark on Jerusalem when he was there. He did this by dancing, non-stop, during prayer, weddings, and other religious occasions. His dance style was mostly kind of pogoing up and down, leading Emuna Witt's father to call him a "yo-yo." There's great stories about him going around, and Moish Geller has the most sublime video of him giving over this amazing Torah about the tree of life and love by his engagement. And Moishe tells this Adam Silver story:
Once, in Nachlaot, before there was a beis Simcha, the Shlomo Chevre would daven in alot of different places, and once we were davening in this one Chabad house.
And Adam was jumping in the air during the whole davening.
And so, one of the Chabad daveners came up to Adam, and gestured with his hand, while shuckling his head and wincing his eyes cynically. "ok, that's enough. You can stop now."
So what did he do? He danced stronger. pssh! Nothing can hold us down! (lashon Moishe)
And yeah, so inspired, and remembering the words of my master, I started dancing, spinning, softly, with the music laying all the heavyness of the world and it's danger down, I started screaming/singing
SO MUCH NOTHING
to be afraid of
so much nothing.
And while doing that a vision hit me,
The pope and Avraham Abulafia
or was it Antigonus and R Judah Hanasi?
Sitting in a room. They are so happy, so high.
They are the richest people in the world, ostensibly in charge of large communities,
but ultimately slaves to the fears and limitations of the communities they minister to.
Ultimately limited like every Rabbi and priest, unable to tell the people too much of what they don't want to hear
lest they lose all influence, and/or be killed
Aaron Hacohen becomes a liar and an idol masonto save his life and stay close to the people, to be there with them in their folly. He sees what happened to the priest who wouldn't indulge the flock.
They're talking, having come together at a neutral party somewhere, having opened to each other as they opened to the secret of the One G-d that everyone serves
There is no enemy Anywhere.
And so they meet. How can we keep our people from wiping each other out, but still let them be themselves?
Because assimilation is not an answer, if either side is precious.
So theologies are constructed that acknowledge the Other, and make excuses for why we have to be who we are and they have to be who they are and it's ok, and when Moshiach comes, we'll figure it all out. Cabals are formed, suspicions are raised, and secrets are carried through genrations, shared through initiations and parties. Shared in subtle ways in the official rituals and theologies that the enlightened sages distribute, that somehow find funding to get lots of copies made, and schools established.
It's a big historical mystery: Why didn't Rome wipe out all it's Jews? They did a real good job of wiping out every single pagan culture under their wings-- why not Judaism too? "While we're here", you know? The official Jewish folk myth is that they tried and couldn't, but ultimately, a decision was made to give the jews a certain autonomy, althroughout Roman history. The Church, as anti-semetic as it was and had to be philosophically, found lots of loopholes for not wiping out the Jews, and even found a need fufilled only through them, as banking and usury became vatican staples, the pious christian authorities needed someones who could charge interest safely, without violating neither Our laws nor Theirs.
Somebody had to have gotten together a few times to work something out. Maybe it wasn't always or ever with so much trust, but somehow the aleinu prayer got the worst parts of it editted down.
It occured to me then, looking around at a wide variety of Edomite (and Edom Colonized) and Israelite children in Brooklyn: we really want to be at peace, and psychedelics play a part in helping us forget the limitations that we always took for granted about who we are limited to being.
as I start dancing wider, faster out of control. I breathe and use Tai Chi principals to keep me from flying out of control, and it occurs to me: Kids have died from doing crazy things while tripping. People have died from not knowing what to do with the infinitude gifted to them by the boundary disolving substrated.
And I had a vision, of telpathic conduits connecting the kings of the world to the psychedelic adventurers, letting them poke in and see what going on.
Gods and angels don't care if you die, unless they want to defend you for some reason. They are not impressed by recklessness, at least not reliably, and would really rather you be smart enough to take care of yourself. I have studied the body and how to speed and slow it, and I don't have to stop too fast or run too long, and that way, I remain useful to them.
It occurred to me that this culture is being allowed to happen. Why? Because they, the lawmakers and enforcers, are less threatend by us as they are curious to see what will be. Our innocent piety sometimes charms them, and the main fucntion of youth is to give elders hope for the future. Stupidity, naive irresponsible self indulgence doesn't impress Them, but beauty? shared excstacy that some how leaves better things and sweeter awareness of your humanity? Aculture that makes people less of a threat and more of a help to you and yours? Once understood, such things are hard to hate.
And so, it seemed to me that the Sabbatean conspiracy in charge of America and Israel lets these things go sometimes, in the hopes that we'll be able to heal what they couldn't. Our parents are only jerks in the hope of making a world safe so we can play happily, and in a very deep way, who can oppose that?
The fear of the other is that they don't understand, can't appreciate, don't care and aren't interested in what beautiful we're about, and that's why art-haters are called Philestines in english. As if Philestines didn't have gorgeous pottery and the finest purple linens.
And that's why the war on idolotry had to change, why prophesy had to be surrendered to reason, and reason to some subtler listening.
And that's what Chanuka and Christmas are all about. See here.
The rest of the show, I kept bumping into people, and when the show ended, a great proof to the intentions and cares of the bands involved was revealed. They sang "rollover" which is all about the futility and shortness of empires as waves wash over them, and ended with a Beastie Boys cover, the very deep "No sleep 'till Brooklyn" turned by Michael Franti into "Smoke Trees in Brooklyn" and "Grow trees in Brooklyn," a clear allusion to the Williamsburg classic "A tree grows in Brooklyn" and, of course, all the kids growing like trees everywhere and right there. You can find the show here somewhere.
I followed some kids into the subway and talked about Jerusalem, they asked me if i saw Jesus and I laughed, saying "I saw Christ there, but no Jesus" and a few of them seemed to get what I was saying.
Alas, I'm still in Brooklyn, back and forth between here and Jerusalem... looking forward to seeing you all here and there.