Archive | April, 2012

unpleasant news in the Orthodox Jewish World

30 Apr

Maybe I’m the last one to wake up and smell the coffee, but I fell upon a rather disturbing documentary posted on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbXqOOPYYrg  about the plight of Yeminite Jews who are ‘rescued’ by Satmar Chassidim and brought to the US (well away from the ‘Evil Zionist Entity’) only to be left to deal with the authorities while their kids are taken into ‘custody’ of Satmar families. The poor families don’t speak a word of English (or Yiddish) and, judging from the documentary, it’s downright abuse of innocents.

But there is nothing new under the sun – combine that with corruption, sexual abuse and filthy politics one could turn all this voyeurism of the misdemeanors of orthodox Jews into a religion, God forbid.

What does God want to teach me when he opens my eyes to this?

Belonging to a religious group does not necessarily equate fear of God. Real fear of God. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. Belonging to a group may give a feeling of religious self-righteousness and superiority which allows us to commit atrocities akin to those that were committed against us.

God is the only answer.

How often do we have that feeling that there are eyes that are watching, and ears that are hearing us, in every corner of our lives? I don’t want to sound like a Teshuva lecture; that’s far from the point. God is our parent, and the same way that the parent is wanting and willing for their child to do the right thing, God has infinite patience with us. But we have to know he is there. With us. All the time.

One day all the flags of the groups and movements we affiliate ourselves with, or hide behind will be removed. We will be naked and exposed.

So let’s think of Who we fear the most.

enter the calm

27 Apr

We get so caught up in our thoughts and then we lose track of where the rule truth is, where the Godliness is…it’s in that calm place. It’s in that place of acting (or not acting, as the case may be) upon a deep inner intuition, a Godly intuition of doing what’s right. Not to be confused with ‘what feels good’ – we’re all looking to run away from problems and stay within our comfort zone because that is just temporary numbing, a dose of painkillers that eventually wear off. The calm is being with Hashem and allowing ourself to remain there. That calm touches those around you, more than a million words. Don’t you sometimes notice that a person can accept what you are seeing because they know ‘it came from the right place’?

We need to locate that place, feel the warmth of quietness of that place and remain there. And that place is not dependent upon getting ‘what we need’ in life, it is a place of connection, no matter what.

 

 

Shabbat Shalom.

quietly but boldly

25 Apr

I am trying to figure it out, to sort and divide. To put my ego aside (is it possible?) and to try to act according to what God wants. The feeling of truth and quietness is inside of me, but it can so easily get blended with my egotistical drives in a subtle way. I need to define and refine.

God wants me to do it. I know that. To stand in front of those who are against me and speak the truth, without fear and without anger and without using God as a justification for my own personal needs. And it can only come from quietness.

What has happened to all of us? I feel that there is a madness that is overtaking the Jewish people – pressures to conform, pressures to give in and losing the wood for the trees. And for those who are not busy trying to prove their ‘rightness’ there are the others who are so busy with themselves that they are scarcely aware of the world around them. We are all so busy trying to prove that we’re RIGHT. What about Hashem? Isn’t he the one we should be seeking? When will we come in front of Him and say ‘I really don’t know the answers. You’ll have to guide me.’ And until that day we are in a huge battle of egos, wills, righteousness and zealousness (from left to right) that leaves no space for His presence.

That’s what I’m seeking. When He is with me, I know it. My fear drifts away and I come face to face with truth, the real truth.

 

God I pray that you should give me courage, courage to act according to that deep inner intuition that knows what’s right. Courage to listen to Your voice, courage to speak out against evil. Don’t leave me, whatever You do.

 

Jeremiah 22 verse 7

“So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

9 Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man,
like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the LORD
and his holy words.
10 The land is full of adulterers;
because of the curse[b] the land lies parched
and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
and use their power unjustly.

11 “Both prophet and priest are godless;
even in my temple I find their wickedness,”
declares the LORD.
12 “Therefore their path will become slippery;
they will be banished to darkness
and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
in the year they are punished,”
declares the LORD.

 

 

How not to drive in reverse

1 Apr

God You are so simple, pure and perfect. When I am with You, there are no questions. You hold out Your hand to me and beckon me to come, join Me, be with Me, connect with Me…..I feel Your warm embrace and I feel the simplicity, I cease to feel alone, vulnerable, afraid.

But if I lose my fierce grip on Your hand for even a milisecond, I am lost, stumbling, whirling in a dense fog of confusion, a milky soupy grey sludge of ….the unknown, the unclear, the complex…..the unfaith.

It’s so bloody simple, but yet why is it so hard? Why won’t I allow myself to be held by you?

If we go through Tanach we see themes that have been repeated again and again throughout the ages; love, jealousy, revenge, treachery, unsound leadership, unwillingness to see truth, faithlessness,betrayal, evil and good. Life is like a spiral whirling around and around. My own personal belief (don’t know what the source is, but I’m sure it’s somewhere) is that God has a ‘theme tune’ for us, the same challenge that winds itself around us again and again, and will continue to coil it’s tentacles until we’ve uncovered the puzzle. Until we have finally ‘moved on’ from this test. I have to be willing to accept that no, I’m not in a futile, lawless, random universe of ‘just because’ injustices and cruelties. I am a willing partner with God, in the battleground of real life, of eternal challenges and I at war, but He is leading the way into battle. It is His war. And my theme tune is being played.

Last night I dreamed I was driving a car, except that whenever I pushed the gas to go forwards it went into reverse. I think I’ve finally figured out what this dream was about. The more you believe in your own efforts, the less you succeed. I am not the one driving the car.

 

it doesn’t get easier

1 Apr

God You are so simple, pure and perfect. When I am with You, there are no questions. You hold out Your hand to me and beckon me to come, join Me, be with Me, connect with Me…..I feel Your warm embrace and I feel the simplicity, I cease to feel alone, vulnerable, afraid.

But if I lose my fierce grip on Your hand for even a milisecond, I am lost, stumbling, whirling in a dense fog of confusion, a milky soupy grey sludge of ….the unknown, the unclear, the complex…..the unfaith.

It’s so bloody simple, but yet why is it so hard? Why won’t I allow myself to be held by you?

If we go through Tanach we see themes that have been repeated again and again throughout the ages; love, jealousy, revenge, treachery, unsound leadership, unwillingness to see truth, faithlessness,betrayal, evil and good. Life is like a spiral whirling around and around. My own personal belief (don’t know what the source is, but I’m sure it’s somewhere) is that God has a ‘theme tune’ for us, the same challenge that winds itself around us again and again, and will continue to coil it’s tentacles until we’ve uncovered the puzzle. Until we have finally ‘moved on’ from this test. I have to be willing to accept that no, I’m not in a futile, lawless, random universe of ‘just because’ injustices and cruelties. I am a willing partner with God, in the battleground of real life, of eternal challenges and I at war, but He is leading the way into battle. It is His war. And my theme tune is being played.

Last night I dreamed I was driving a car, except that whenever I pushed the gas to go forwards it went into reverse. I think I’ve finally figured out what this dream was about. The more you believe in your own efforts, the less you succeed. I am not the one driving the car.