26 June 2005

For the love of...

The third Rebbe of Vorke - Reb Simcha Bunem of Vorke - made the journey up to the Holy Land and settled in Jerusalem.

Some people think it's hard to live here these days. It was a lot harder then.

One resident found it difficult to adjust to the new life in the Holy Land. He decided to leave, but before he left he went to take his leave of the Rebbe.

The Vorker Rebbe told him, "I'm truly sorry that you didn't find favor in the eyes of Jerusalem. If you had, she would have found favor in your eyes!"

22 June 2005


Some nights the king thought he heard crying - a child crying.

"Strange," he thought, "that there should be a child crying. There are no children in my castle."

When he would wake in the morning, the demands of the day served to distract him, and he would seldom think of the sounds that he had heard in the night.

One evening, in the silence of the well-run castle, the king thought he heard the crying. He put an ear toward the sound and listened. Echoing, he heard the cry. He put down his evening business, and padded off through the dim hallways to locate the sound.

You must understand that a castle is a tremendous thing. Even its king is not familiar with all of its turns and tunnels. Half finished constructions from generations of Kings have turned nearly every castle into a maze.

The king followed the cry until he feared to lose himself entirely in the unexplored depths. By now the cry was distinct - clearly the cry of a young child.

The king begin to see dancing shadows cast by candlelight, and he quickened his pace. He turned the corner and saw a hallway with a door of iron bars at its end. The flame of the candle shown between the bars.

The king nearly ran the length of the hallway and put his hands on the bars. Sitting in the cell was a child of not more than six. The king spoke reasurring words to the child until he stopped crying, and looked up at him with piercing, honest eyes.

The king listened, and the child spoke.

"I myself was king once - the child king. My rule was cut short, you could say overthrown. My family may even have turned against me, for reasons I don't understand. I was supressed, thrown in this dungeon."

"How long have you been here?"

"Nearly as long as you've been alive."

"But how can that be? You're just a child!"

The child looked at the king, silent tears beginning to form. The king looked into the child's eyes, somehow deeply familiar.

Finally, the king began to understand.

17 June 2005

Missive from Atlantis?

I don't spend a lot of time watching movies, but I saw a trailer for What the #$*! do we Know and picked up the DVD on my last pass through the States. Ever since I took a course in the philosophy of physics I've had an interest in the greater implications of quantum mechanics. Unfortunelty, the movie turned out to be scientifically wishy-washy and the thinly vieled mouthpiece of a cult.

People are thirsty, that's much is clear.

Why else would they be drinking such dirty water?

14 June 2005

Sometimes a mystery...

Sometimes it's enough just to believe that there is a secret. You don't have to know what the secret is.

It's told about Reb Yisrael ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov, that his soul was a certain piece of the Messiah (Nefesh David d'Atzilut, whatever that means).

Rav Chaim ibn Attar, the Ohr haChaim haKodesh, lived at the same time. It's told that his soul was another piece of the Messiah (Ruach David d'Atzilut) and that if the two ever met, they would bring the Messiah himself (Neshamah and Hiat David d'Atzilut) to the world.

Whereas the Baal Shem Tov lived in Poland, the Ohr haChaim lived in the holy land. The Baal Shem Tov's brother-in-law, Reb Gershon Kitover, was learning in the Yeshiva of the Ohr haChaim in Jerusalem. He expressed to the Ohr haChaim that the Baal Shem Tov was very anxious to meet him. The Ohr haChaim told him to pass along the following message to the Baal Shem Tov:

When you see yourself in heaven, see if your whole body is in heaven.

The Baal Shem Tov recieved the message, and the next time he ascended to the celestial spheres, he examined himself. Sure enough, he saw that his feet were not in Heaven (some say it was just his heel.) He advised the Ohr haChaim of this.

When the Ohr haChaim heard, he immediately told him not to attempt the journey to the Holy Land, that it surely would not be succesful. It seems that the Baal Shem Tov was driven by deeper forces to attempt the journey anyway. As we all know, his attempts to come up to the Holy Land were not succesful.

Yesterday (Shavuot) was the Yahrtzeit of King David and the Baal Shem Tov.