Bridges

ב׳׳ה

There are many truths,
but none of them is Truth,
so the only answer is Love.
We must summon compassion
when we least think we can
and offer it to those
who think that we won’t.
For then bridges are built,
one person to another,
that will carry us all to Heaven.

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praying shabbat brings more shalom to us all, jen

Olam Ha’ba today

ב׳׳ה

 

 
 
Awareness of Your Love
–like the first morning light–
transforms the world around me.
From dark and isolation,
great fear and sinking unknown,
to a fullness where hope can abound.
It helps me stand up.
It lightens my load.
Makes dreams seem not so far away.
It gives me the courage
to pass on to others
the Love of Olam Ha’ba today.
 
 

Praying Shabbat brings shalom, and greater awareness of Gd’s Abiding Love, to us all, jen

And I wonder . . .

ב׳׳ה

The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you, as life is in every seed. O servant! put false pride away, and seek for Him within you.

A million suns are ablaze with light, The sea of blue spreads in the sky, The fever of life is stilled, and all stains are washed away; when I sit in the midst of that world.

Hark to the unstruck bells and drums! Take your delight in love! Rains pour down without water, and the rivers are streams of light. One Love it is that pervades the whole world, few there are who know it fully:

They are blind who hope to see it by the light of reason, that reason which is the cause of separation— The House of Reason is very far away!

How blessed is Kabîr, that amidst this great joy he sings within his own vessel. It is the music of the meeting of soul with soul; It is the music of the forgetting of sorrows; It is the music that transcends all coming in and all going forth.

Excerpt From: Kabir. “Songs of Kabir.” iBooks. 

And I wonder…

if I 

-raised a Baptist, Jew by choice- 

can find holiness in the words of Kabir 

-self-professed child of both Allah and Ram-

… why is there strife between Sunni and Shia??  Muslim and Jew??  any two people based on religious difference??

As Kabir said above, G-d is in all of us.  If we put away our false pride, we will see…

.

with prayers for peace, jen

Theology of Love

ב׳׳ה

I don’t usually post on Shabbat, but I picked up a book of Thomas Merton quotes this morning and read a passage that seems too timely to not share.  

A theology of love cannot afford to be sentimental. It cannot afford to preach edifying generalities about charity, while identifying “peace” with mere established power and legalized violence against the oppressed.  A theology of love cannot be allowed merely to serve the interests of the rich and powerful, justifying their wars, their violence and their bombs, while exhorting the poor and underprivileged to practice patience, meekness, long suffering and to solve their problems, if at all, non-violently. 

The theology of love must seek to deal realistically with the evil and injustice in the world, and not merely to compromise with them. Such a theology will have to take note of the ambiguous realities of politics, without embracing the specious myth of a “realism” that merely justifies force in the service of established power. Theology does not exist merely to appease the already too untroubled conscience of the powerful and the established. A theology of love may also conceivably turn out to be a theology of revolution.  In any case, it is a theology of resistance, a refusal of the evil that reduces a brother to homicidal desperation. 

Thomas Merton, at 8-9, Faith and Violence (Notre Dame, Ind.: Universoty of Notre Dame Press, 1968), as quoted in Seeds at 129-30, Robert Inchausti, ed., (Shambhala Pub., Boston, 2002) (italic in original). 

.

I do not mean -and I do not think Merton meant- to suggest there is ever a valid justification for murder.   It is, after all, prohibited by the Ten Commandments.  

I mean only to remind myself, and (G-d willing) perhaps a few others, that I must more consistently find nonviolent means to challenge “the too untroubled conscience of the powerful and the established,” because as I look at the world we all share, I see too many examples of inequity that I cannot tolerate if I wish to consider myself a person who lives a life grounded in a Theology of Love.  

…may the rest of Shabbat bring shalom to our too-fractured world… jen

translating Torah into reality

ב׳׳ה

photograph of picture in 1925 -1926 United Palestine Appeal

And let a man keep himself pure of hating his neighbor, as it is written: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart.” [Leviticus 19:17].  And our masters, blessed be their memory, said: The second sanctuary–there were the Torah and good works, yet why was it destroyed?  Because of the groundless hatred that was among men. [Yoma 9 b].   And groundless hatred brings a man within reach of many transgressions of the Torah. Our masters, blessed be their memory, said: “‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’–that is the essence of the Torah.” [Midrash Genesis Rabbah XXIV, quoting Leviticus 19:18].   For through the love of one’s neighbor and through peace, Israel translates the Torah into reality.

Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi
Spain, 13th Century

As quoted at 160, In Time and Eternity: a Jewish Reader, edited by Nahum N Glatzer (Shocken Books: New York 1946).

The news from Turkey yesterday has me reeling again.  More innocent blood shed.

And yet I know that the great men of the Rabbinic Assembly, the “masters” of whom Jonah spoke, were correct — Hate is not the answer.   Hate begets more hate and will only continue the cycle of meaningless violence.

Neither must our answer be apathy, indifference, or acceptance of the status quo — because resigning ourselves to live in a world that includes continuing acts of terror is the equivalent of deciding not to create the love and peace commanded by Torah and desired by G-d.

The only road that truly might move us “forward” is a compassionate road.  Our answer must be, always and only, to speak and act from a place of Love.

From where I live, I cannot literally repair damage done in other states or countries, but I can commit to repairing the world around me on behalf of those whose lives were shattered.  I can show respect and compassion to every person I meet today.  I can donate blood to save a life.  I can look a homeless person in the eye and hand him (or her) a sandwich. I can be supportive of others trying to spread messages of hope, peace, and love.  I can, in other words, make a conscious choice to reach for the “highest” version of myself that I can imagine.

For only when enough of us commit to being the highest versions of ourselves, so that as a large community we share unconditional love with all others and are at peace with all humankind, will we decrease groundless hatred and truly translate Torah into reality.

with prayers for peace, jen