One more special, message to go, and then i'm done, and I can go home
We've been using the question of drugs in Torah to talk about the mystery of Torah as forms of drugs. In the context of this, one thing that has come up has been the response of non-drug users to junkies like us, the responses of our families to our indulgences, that is to say, all the nations of the world and their issues with jews.
Why not stop a junkie from being a junkie? because maybe dope is the purpose of creation
But really, if you are a junkie C"vS, I bless you that when something better comes along, you should have the strength and will to drop all your habits and run after her with all your power, in an instant, without hesitation.
But why bother? It's only worth quitting, if the drug is holding back good from coming into your world, i.e., making you feel less free rather than more free. It's good to check in every so often with the self, just to check: Is this what I really want to be doing? For my sake, or for yours.
So. We've talked so much about why to smoke weed. But Why stop smoking weed?
The worst thing marijuana does is make it harder to feel outside.
It's a blessing when feeling is Too Much, but a curse when things are so good, and I can't even really experience it, because my nerves are too numbed.
Because dope may not be the purpose of the world. That is to say, no a midrash ha ikkar elah ha maisei. The midrash is how we give it over, the pill we give each other to swallow, and that's we don't doresh nothing on Tisha b'Av, because we are fasting from the drugs we're usually taking to make life feel good, that is, the Torah's that
let us handle it.
Mostly Torah's really good, right? Kurt Vonnegut z"l famously wrote"
"Live by the foma* that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy." — The Books of Bokonon 1:5"
The only problem is when the foma stop being harmless, which, you know, has happened in every religion at least once or twice, even in the best of them. With Judaism, notably the theology of the Gentile, I'm really sorry about that. I don't hink we've got it worked out so well, but it comes, this delusion and many others, from confusing Truth with Tenets of Belief.
Where an idea about how to ignore certain people, their demands and the priorities, can be liberating, a problem inevitably comes when we decide to ignore them forever.
The Buddists in Tibet saw this, when the masses of farmers offended by the meditative oblivion of the Monks in the mountains were easily motivateable into becoming Communist armies, ready to force attention through atrocity. I do believe that maybe something similar happens with the Jews whenever we depend on our fufillment of our required responsibilities, be they to man or God, to save us from having to be pay attention to the vulgar, dirty world, and it's music and priorities. I totally vibe with the need to create sacred spaces, not easily violable, for the sake of endless focus on The Holy, AND the crying children will become angry police if they are ignored for too long, if their desires are called petty, and their appetites dismissed as disgusting.
I hope that Torah is still growing, and able to adapt back, to it's very source, all the new info and wisdom about how to live, all together, better, and that the holy arrogance of those called leaders won't hold the kids back from being able to save their own, all our own, lives. Amen.
The brain can be negatively affected by too much psychedelics over time. So what's the fixing?
Ayurveda has answers! One, Calamus, has been mentioned before. The more powerful one we haven't brought up yet, that would be his majesty Chaparrel.
Bitter and deeply cleansing, it's a hardcore thing to fast on, but there you go: it takes the residue of excess psychedelicatessen out of the brain and liver in a quick, vicious punch. It's bitter as all get out and VERY ungrounding, but y'know why? the psychedelic motarot stuck in the recess of the brain are ungrounding, and the process of cleaning them out comes with living them again.
Because rarely do we metabolize the whole thing, when we trip, nebuch. often we end the trip with food or more drugs, something that pushes away the trip into the recesses of our spines or wherever these things get kept until the worms get to trip off our flesh.
Bitterness foods are the "healthiest", as long as it's not bitter from rancidity. Gurdieff says suffering is the most beneficial thing in the world, as long as it's voluntary. And therein lies the rub, the once mentioned difference between good medicine and bad poison: how much the heart is in it. That's the easy way to tell if something is genuinely good for you or not, on any level, nutritionaly and spiritually, sexually and morally. Listen really close to the reaction when you taste a little bit. Remember that it's perfectly ok, and maybe even ideal, to stop, leave and get away. And then, if you really want to continue, continue as slow as you can, the better it is, tasting and chewing. This is the ideal way to live, tasting and chewing so slow, as if there was really nothing else to do, and now where else to go.
Crying children, angry landlords, bosses or soldiers are standing at the boundary of this ideal, for sure, and I wonder how to deal with it honestly and righteously. I know people who just don't eat very much, for the sake of not having to hurry when they do. Lord! Give us confidence in the value of our time, give us confidence in how much you appreciate and long for our pleasure and true satisfaction, amen.
And that's why I'm not going to smoke herb... today. Life is so nice, lately, y'know? I've been around all kinds of beautiful people, and I really want to feel what it's like to touch them, really feel that contact as deeply as possible.
Yeah, Now that I'm done with Cannabis Chassidis, i'm gonna stop smoking grass for a little bit. Or maybe forever.
That's actually, secretly the real reason I started this blog: Otherwise, I have a moral responsibility to smoke weed with people, in order to give over the Torah's of how to do it "right." Now, having said all this, i'm free. Maybe now I can go get that job at the bank that I always wanted---
So once, I brought Dan Sieradski to Micha Odenheimer's house for a shabbos day meal. They lived near each other, both valued human rights and progressive Torah; I figured they'd get along, and was curious for what they'd talk about.
So, the question of Daniel Merkur's Mushroom/Manna theory comes up. Dan talks as if it's Pshat that the Manna MUST HAVE BEEN mushrooms, and Micha is like, I dunno man, it's kind of a mythic metaphor. Trying to prove out what it was is kind of like trying to prove out how the splitting of the sea could have happened naturally. Doesn't literalizing the Manna take away from what's symbolizing?
Manna has been understood as a labor metaphor for a long time.
the food was free?
came down from heaven and we always had
Everyone knows, why is there war in the world? Because people are afraid, that if they don't war, they won't eat, and that's part of why the hebrew word for bread (Lechem) is so like the hebrew word for fighting (Locheim).
There were tribes that never learned violence, because they had no fear of starving. A friend was telling me about a Polypensian tribe that actually would have these big, ritual land trades once a year, just for fun. They had no problem with internal fighting, no language for physical violence within their own species--
...and they were very into touching. Babies would not be put down for the entire first years of their lives, and everyone would hug each other hello.
Another tribe, on an island not far away, had the opposite tradition. Babies were put down unto blankets or something shortly after birth, and pretty generally left to crawl around on their own, or tied up and hung on trees. affection was uncommon for members of that tribe...
...and they were into cannibalism. They had less land, and food was scarcer, so they
grew up meaner. G-d help us all, save us from hunger and disassociation!
What we need the drugs for is to learn how to accept a new reality faster. We may not have time or luxury to feel like we don't have time or luxury to appreciate life, without fear...
One of the problems with excess psychedelics is the fear, the paranoia, that comes from weakened, debilitated Kidneys.
That's the danger of drugs, if they stop you from touching each other so deeply, with so much presence, chas V Shalom, and lock us into our little trips more than anyone wants. We need the drugs for better things; wilder imaginations, married to cosmic awareness and sensitivities, expanded, sensitve and adaptable moralities, grounded in the golden rule, married to our roots and souls, the Torah understood very deeply. We need to be righteous, and Tzidkes depends on harmony, sensitivity balanced with dominance--
This cannot be accomplished through dogmatism and legal proclamations, our hearts themselves have to be married to the sensitivity principles, and it has to be an open marriage, with room for all the new Law and principle coming in.
Marijuana, Mushrooms, LSD, and other friends in the family, are so good for opening the self to profound realization, and the value of that cannot be over-emphasised.
Yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, all these things is crucial, however, for deeper feeling and appreciation of the life, and must be incorporated in to anyone and everyone's life-- somekind of movement, that is not panicked and purely recreational.
This is what Shabbos steps have to be.
Also, food. Good food. Whole Grains! Legumes! Vegetables! Without these, all the drugs won't do much to help, because they can only work with what they have. Eat real food! Smoking weed can only feel as good as the body is capable of feeling. Maybe it can help transcend assumptions and situations, but really, take care of yourselves, and each other! It's really important! Hug! Massage, softly, slowly, with care! You are the healings and the Life that G-d depends on and dreams of, You are the sacred names that G-d has wirtten in his Tephillin, and really have to treat yourselves that way.
It's so basic that we've, as a community, become embarrassed to remind and remember about it, but really! The medicine has to be whole, and we have to be honest with ourselves about which medicines are really helping, and what's just me banging my head agianst the wall because I don't know what else to do, chas v' shalom.
When you get high, want it to be really good? Then let it move you, let it dance you and swing you! Obey the inspiration, and sing that song, draw that picture, write that idea down before you have a chance to forget it! Do something so fun, the munchies don't interest as much as the sacred activity you're engaged in.
Yaakov Leib Hakohen brought down a Zohar recently, saying: "Don't tell your dreams to anyone who doesn't love you, because it gives them power over you." I feel like this applies to psychedelics too-- you can't do them except around people who love you, who you love, and the upside is, sometimes just sharing a dream with someone is what compells them to loveyou.
There's been a problem with our reaction to the holy and the sublime sometimes, when it gets too heavy, we tend to break the space. So, sometimes we get high, and just shove that special experience into some lamer situation. Why? We're afraid of having our hearts broken, the the holy will push us away, chas v' shalom. That once we are overwhelmed with the love, to the point where we can no longer hold anything back from her, we will lose grace in her eyes, and we'll be left, vulnerable and wounded, the desire for us lost once we stop being mysterious. This is the secret of marriage, how do I know that you'll still hold the space for me once i've given you everything? Don't fear this, if you can help it, be inspired, and let the sublime voice of the amazing happening in between you and the divine be! And from that silence, the silence of trust and the end of fear, something new from somewhere completely other can sometimes be heard.
On Har Sinai, we are forgiven for the Golden Calf. What's the biggest sin in the golden Calf building? Besides tearing the earings off of the women's ears, is just that we wouldn't hold the space for a little bit longer, wouldn't listen just a little bit closer to what the voice wanted to say. We were so afraid of dying.
Of the four who ascend to Pardes, only Ben Azzai is praised. R Akiva ascended and descended in peace, bully for him, But Ben Azzai let himself die! He didn't run away.
And later on, R Akiva atones for not Dying in Pardes by Dying in a Pardes of torture somewhere else... I guess it wasn't his time yet. But Ben Azzai, of him it is written.
in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his Saints" (Ps 116:15)
Ben Azzai, despite bemoaning his not having learned more from R' Akiva, disagrees with him openly on a number of issues, on most which he has the last word.
Akiva declared Bar Kokhba to be the Messiah, God's annointed one, the redeemer of Israel, King of the Jews, descendant of David.That is to say, Moshiach can't come while R' Akiva lives. Why? R Nachman brings down
Ben Azzai, a colleague of Akiva said to him:
grass will grow
in your cheeks
(i.e. you will long be dead and buried)
before the Messiah comes."
Anyone who sets a date or a time for when Moshiach will come
It's for sure, without question, that Moshiach will not come then
Or maybe, it's for the same reason Moshiach can't come while Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev is in the world: As long as everything is fine, good enough, Moshiach doesn't have to come. This is what R' Akiva's Torah emphasised, and as long as Moshiach is for sure coming, then who needs him to come?
And this is the main "problem" with coping, accepting, surviving, if it's a problem at all.
One of the traditional issues in different uses of drugs. Some drugs make us OK with the problem, other drugs make us very aware of the problem. And the best drugs do both., L chayim.
But this is the problem also with accepting our community and our Torah as is, something Ben Azzai maybe has more trouble with that R' Akiva
And maybe that's what Moshiach is so frustrated by, and this is the truth that we would rather not have to hear on Har Sinai. What could Hashem have been saying that made us die? What does Ben Azzai see that lets him die?
Perhaps Ben Azzai's and Akiva's political differences are rooted in a more fundamental disagreement.
The Talmud notes:
"Rabbi Akiva says:
'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
This is the great principle of the Torah.'
Ben Azzai says:
'These are the generations of mankind.
This is a greater principle of Torah.'"
The Hebrew for "Love your neighbor as yourself" can also be read as
"Love your neighbor who is like you"
- in other words a call for tribal solidarity.
Akiva believed in the primacy of Jewish solidarity
above all over values.
As such he blindly supported a nationalist zealot,
who led the Jews to one of the greatest disasters in their history.
"These are the generations of mankind"
refers to the sentance in the Bible
preceding the genealogy of the descendants of Adam.
The Rabbis note
only one Adam
so that no person can say:
"My father is greater than yours."
For Ben Azzai, our primary moral imperative is the universal one -
is the descendant
of one father Adam,
who is created in God's image. All peoples, Jews and gentiles alike, are equal in God's eyes.
There is a revelation that comes only once we are secure in the health of our families and our nation, that there is a higher value, and a transcendant truth, of the world and it's unity, beyond the small community called Yisrael. One couldn't call R Akiva racist per se, it's not about blood to him. He marries a convert, and lets go of the ten tribes, saying they're gone forever, and their blood won't save them.
For him, it's about the ideas, the Torah. Those are what make a master race, what make our people immortal and which are so precious that what little water he's given in prison are spilled over his hands so he can make blessings, rather than wasted on drinking. And I think Ben Azzai is saying, even those will be transcended. This Torah, this law-- something better is out there, coming, and he is so desperate to see it.
Ben Azzai talks like the reason he won't get married is because he loves the torah too much. As if R' Akiva didn't love the Torah? I'm reading it like, "I love" IS my torah, so why should I ever get married?
From Moshe Idel
...for some Kabbalists at the beginning of
the Thirteenth Century the major figure was not
R. Aqiva but Ben Azzai, the Talmudic master who
died. For them, the Pardes was not a matter of
intellect, but of the experience of a supreme
light. This Light was not an intellectual or
conceptual light, but an experiential light...
... There is a manuscript text by an unknown
one which I needed some 60 pages to
analyze, so we can only deal witha small part of
There are some ten lines in it about
(who did not return).
peeked and died.
at the radiance
of the Divine Presence
like a man with weak eyes
who gazes at the full light of the sun
and becomes blinded
by the intensity of the light that overwhelms him...
He did not wish to be separated,
he remained hidden in it, his soul
was covered and adorned
...he remained where he had cleaved,
in the Light
to which no one may cling
and yet live."
This text portrays people gazing
not at a Chariot
or a marble throne,
but at the radiance of God
(Tzvi ha Shekinah),
that no one can bear it.
of having a great desire to cleave,
as described in the medieval text,
In ancient literature,
contemplation is of something far away,
across an unbridgeable gap.
There is no idea there of love,
only of awe. Here, however,
we see a trace of a radical change:
of the experience
is linked with a great desire
to the radiance
of the Shekinah.
There is a strong experience of union
with the Divine, the result of a desire to enter
and become a part of the Divine realm.
There is an attempt
to enjoy the Divine
So yeah, that's about all there is to say on the subject.
And if you believe me when I say that, you probably aren't interested in learning more. There is SO MUCH I didn't get to. just because I wanted to get this book out before the Telapathic Alien Overlords (yimach shimom!) ban it or something. Miriam was not fully explored in this whole narrative, was she?
Her Name matters So Much, she is the fixing of the waters, right?
Her son dies from authencity, for refusing to build an idol. That says something about something.
p.s. "what" is a synonym for "something" The two words are completely interchangeable, more or less.
Miriam is the one responsible for the drinking water we had in the desert
and the soul that experiencing ALL THE SUFFERING IN THE WORLD
(acc. to R Nachman. I have no idea where he finds it)
That's the other end of creation.
Some want to say that Miriam is Moshe's mother as well as sister. It's a very deep thing to want to learn out, because she's so big. How popular is her name, in so many different cultures? It's up there with Joseph and Ephraim!
I need you to keep me sane, Maria Maria
All the suffering in the world, and when the power?
She has so much attributed to her, just when she was a kid.
That is, it was her, and all the nashim tzidkanios that she represented, that insisted that the baby boys be born. Why? Out of love for life.
I really feel that Shlomo was a Gilgul of Moshe Rabeinu. He's the one who first makes a handle for the cup that moshe poured, Acc. to Chazal. And the yom Hashimini is called Netzach Netzachim sometimes, isn't it? As I misremembering that?
It's funny how life happens, but, thank the good good lord, it's kept happening. may it long endure and sustain! Amein!
Mariam is what Magydalyne is called in the Greek Scriptures, the Mary being what remains of the long name, as the rest burns off on the road... The same thing happens to all the harsh, sharp names, Yeshu is hardend into Jesus, and then softened in the far east back into softened into Isa, Yoseph gets complicated into Guisseppe, and then quietly allowed to become Jose', or just Joe...
Though I was very shocked when I first heard of a Gentile Latino named Miriam from Puerto Rico. I was so sure she was a secret Marrano, and though she never discounted the possibility... the name spreads nice.
I had a vision once, of R' Nachman, or anybody else in that tradition, traveling to America, on one of their strange journeys to anywhere, hanging out with a Mexican farmhand. Talking, softly, in simple words, because neither really speaks the other's language. So all the Mexican can do is offer the Rebbe some smoke off his joint. And when the rebbe asks "Vos Ist?" Jose' can only smile beatifically and say "Mariajuana!" To which the rebbe can only close his eyes and reflect on all that a name means, and how familiar the taste feels.
The Waters are Not Bitter, anymore, thanks G-d. By not, I mean the bitter must be consumed to balance out the sweet, and is so sweet even. Have you ever sat and just held wheat grass jews, oops, i mean juice on your tongue? So sweet.
Speaking of sweet, you know what part of davening I love the most, on any given shabbos?
Aniyim Zimiros. The whole thing is sublime, every line is a song, and the last stanza!
And my blessing
Nod to me your head (Lord)
take it to yourself
Like some Heady spices
May my speech, please be sweet to you
Because/then/if my soul longs for you.
And with that, this volume of Cannabis Chassidis closes. It's not like the topic is really exhausted, but it's like tachanun: you've got to stop somewhere.
Feel free to write your own sifre chassidis, by the way, to comment in any of the essays above, to criticize, attack or update anything expressed here. I appreciate so much the steady, heady, presence of everyone reading this stuff, and please be blessed to find your ways in Torah, that your paths in Torah should be clear, and the subtlest language should be there for you to be understood, all too well, by all who encounter you. Stay High and stay happy, and remember:
It's very important to be happy
And the only thing more important is to be free
And i'd say further, the only thing more important than being free is just to be at all.
Updates on my next projects will be here, if not on www.sevenfatcow.wordpress.com. One will be a nutrition/torah blog, to be named, the other will be too controversial to do under my own name. Don't ask me about that one.
And, yeah, I guess I'll see you in Jerusalem, where I hope you'll school my ass on everything I don't know, bimhaira biyameinu Amen
(p.s. If it wasn't said clearly enough, let me say it now: Love is the most powerful psychedelic. What else compells us to change our minds, ever? Be blessed with an unending supply, of the purest, finest, freshest Schoirah, coming out of you, coming towards you, as needed, as wanted. amen, Selah)