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I have been struggling with how to address this awesome day, at this awesome time in history. I started with a rambling discourse that would be more suitable for a book. And then I received an email that brings it all into the perspective of the personal. So I post this awesome email (anonymously) and my response. I pray that it be usefull for one and all.
Shalom Reb Moish,
My guess is that you don’t expect to hear what I’m about to say here and now, and that’s alright. I didn’t expect myself to write this email up until several days ago. But now that I’m typing it there’s nothing more important for me then to make sure that you take this email seriously and don’t dismiss it as “one of those weird outputs” or as “orthodox Jewish holiday spam” or as one of the notorious “*****’s best of crap” emails. I’m 100% committed to what I’m saying here; I’m 100% serious about the need to write and send emails like
this one and I’m writing this text because I’m convinced that it’s the right thing to do. It is my modest hope to serve as a role model so that perhaps more people will take time and courage to say out loud what they never thought possible to express in tones, words and letters.
For now let this one email be an unusual guest in your mailbox. Consider it an unexpected sign; a pouring out of the soul of somebody who can’t agree with apathy and who’s had enough of the prevalent indifference of our time.
See, I transgressed my highest ideals, I sinned, I committed iniquity towards my fellow men by doing the following: I have judged rigorously upon everyone I met. In my heart I compared myself with others for the
sole purpose to find a weakness in them and by assumption that a person is only as noble as his weakest trait, to elevate myself over my fellow man and thus to feel better, higher, stronger. With that I have denied every person I met the right to have any flaw. I assumed to be the measure for all people, I subconsciously assumed to be perfect. I stopped to look for the positive traits of people, I stopped to just appreciate people the way they are, I did not judge people by their actions anymore, but I proactively looked for their faults and when I found them I exploited them for my personal psychological purposes. I committed the horrible transgression of
self-assured pride when I stripped down my fellow brothers and sisters to their core, and there was not one core that I have not found faulty, except of course my own. For me I had excuses, but for other people I had criticism and sometimes even worse. I assumed that because of my talents and potential I was indeed naturally better / higher / stronger then others. Because I’m so clearly aware of myself I saw in others only their limits and biases, and that is equal to gazing upon their nakedness.
In my lofty heights I subconsciously despised everybody without even being aware of it. For no reason but self-satisfaction and pride have I baselessly hated everybody whoever by virtue or coincidence crossed my way or remained in my life for a little while. I am guilty of baseless hatred and I’m sorry for it.
Behold, I regret, and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat these acts again. I have gained nothing from judgments over others. Through judgment I have not grown in any respect; I have not created a positive difference in my life but have instead damaged the whole world a little bit by not seeing the beautiful sites of people. By reducing people to their most apparent negative attributes I have predispositioned my responses to people to be reactions to those attributes. If, for example, I would behold a person choosing between several alternatives, I would hold it guilty of being dependent on other people’s opinions where I could and would have chosen sovereignly. My negative opinion about that person would from then on be fixed and would not change unless proven wrong several times. I would spurn that person for not being independent enough while I would assume that I can’t be subject to his / her “error” and am thus better/ higher / stronger.
I’m asking for forgiveness with sincere heart and outpoured soul. I repent from my sins and I want to be a better person and a better Jew. Please accept my apology and excuse my misdeeds. With Yom Kippur only
hours away, let’s rule off old sinful behavior and with the help of God begin a new year filled with pursuit of righteousness and personal growth.
All the Best,
The only question I have is why you are directing this email to me. I have not perceived nor personally experienced these tranrgessions. At least not directed personally towards me. And if there have been such judgments towards me, they did not reach a place inside that I have felt nor had a conscious impact upon me.
I do know of what you speak as my own transgressions in the past. I have worked dilligently to overcome them as I continue to do so. it’s a lifelong project. I have been forced by Heaven to abandon such judgments and expectations, as HaShem has involved me in so many of the life’s crises that afllict all to many in these times.
I have learned that our hardness towards others reflects a hardness to ourselves, usually because this was imposed upon us in the home we come from. And as I have learned to have compassion for and forgive those closest to me I have learned to have compassion for and forgive myself. With this comes acceptance of others failings and weaknesses.
You will experience though, a continuation of these on a feeling level. The job is not to put them into practice and working on that you will find the way to remove them from your heart. The idea is not to identify with the feelings. Just see them as conditioned feelings and let go of them as you as you become aware of them. You recognize there existence, acknowledge them, but do not identify with them as an authentic expression of your soul. In time you will see them lessened and you will find your natural love and compassion and mercy flowing though you. And then the big pay off. You will see HaShem directing you through all this. You will see that you had all this negativity as a gift venue to emerge as a higher being, more united with your soul.
I applaud and commend you and bless you to see that you are already on your way to redemption. And I further bless you to embrace this reality of being ‘on your way.’ Let it gladden you and give your heart and strength to continue with clarity and fortitude, encouragement and confidence.
May you have an easyt fast, awesome davening. Remember, Reb Shlomo says, “How do we know if our prayers were accepted on Yom Kippur? How much are we b’simcha at its conclusion?” I bless you to be b’simcha raba at the Yom Kippurs conclusion. Thank you for honoring me with this pouring out of your heart. it is a lesson to us all.
G’Mar Chatima Tova, Shana Tova U’Metuka, and Hatzlacha B’Chol Ha’inyanim.
With love, Moish
There is so much that can be learned just learning about Yom Kippur. I beg one and all to read, study, be touched, moved and exalted through going through the teachings of my Holy Master, Rebbe Reb Shlomo Carlebach. Just log onto http://www.rebshlomo.org.
It’s all there. I’ll post some short, quick teachings on Sunday. Shabbat Shalom, Moish
The following is is an email forwarded to me by some friends in Phoenix. It was from their tour guide for when they were in Israel. It also gives some insight into reality here. It says it all.
This is to wish you and yours the sweetest and most heartfelt wishes for a wonderful, healthful and peaceful New Year!
Here in Jerusalem we are experiencing the first cooler days and chilly evenings, after the long hot and dry summer. The first rains normally arrive during Succot, which is in a couple of weeks. The dusty pine tree forests around our village, and the rock-hard dry earth all around, as well as all of us humans, will welcome the rain with much gratitude. The hills and plains are now covered with clusters of squills, a long white flower that blossoms – the only wild flower to do so! – at the very end of summer, and heralds – we all learn this in kindergarten – the arrival of winter.
This summer we saw very few Americans here, a reflection, I assume, of the economy. Tons of East Europeans: Russians, Poles, Romanians; Indians, Brazilians, Koreans, – their economies must be booming! Those of us who love Americans best loitered around with our tiny groups, drooling with envy at our Slavic-speaking colleagues leading their gold-toothed undeodorized hordes of pilgrims. I can’t stop marveling at the sight of the black clad Russian Orthodox priests, large gold crosses on their breasts, leading their flocks of scarf-wearing Babushkas, scenes out of Czarists Russia. In my mind these scenes always evoke the word “Pogrom”, which was actually a riot led by the Russian clergy, who looked just like them. Now they come here to visit, with an Israeli stamp in their passport. But when will the Americans return?
Let me share one more thing. Two nights ago, Dorit and I had a high blood pressure scare and we rushed, at midnight, to the emergency room at the Hadassah hospital, which is 10 minutes away from us. We spent three hours there; everything is all right now. This was an opportunity to observe the Israeli “health care” system in action. The place was busy (though without any ER television drama). The patients were mostly middle and low class – the regular Jerusalem crowd, secular, religious, Arabs. The place was sparkling, the staff was efficient and very polite and patient, the whole place functioning smoothly and efficiently. The ECG was in place within 10 minutes of arrival; the eye test that was required was done at the proper department immediately upon arrival ( at 1 in the morning ). There were people groaning around us, some looked really bad, and all were attended to. It was very impressive. The bill was $150, and will be covered by our (government-subsidized) insurance.
All this becomes poignant to us as we watch the acrimonious debate you have about health care in America. The intensity of the opposition to the plan baffles us completely, and those of us who admire America find it embarrassing. Our socialized health system – which is similar to most of the West European health systems – is one of the most shining aspects of life here, and draws no opposition at all. The rich can still get some extra perks, some expedited non-urgent procedures with greater comfort, but overall it is a system that works well, at a fraction of what it costs in America, and it provides us with one of the highest life expectancies in the world (this, and plenty of humous!)
So, may you enjoy this holiday season (which here, need I mention this, is a big deal), and may you have a healthful, peaceful and happy new year!
There has been of recent a heated discussion about Disco music on the Rainbow discussion list. Here’s my 2 cents:
I find it interesting that this thread has been put mostly in political terms. I see things through a spiritual prism. That is, whatever is going on in this plane, what’s going on in Heaven? Another way to put it is that whatever is going on here, is only a corrolary and a manifesting of what’s going on on the spiritual plane. The imagery is that of two things: Jacob’s Ladder; there’s the going up and there’s the bringing down and the Star of David. The bottom plane reaching up to a point in the Heaven’s and the top plane sending down energy to a point here in the material world.
There was an awesome Light shining into the world back in the sixities and untold millions of people received it in some form and way or another, based upon who they were and where they were coming from. As Ram Dass said of the psychedelic experience: Set and setting. The people who were most easily identified with the Light were/are called hippies. Because we’re all individuals, we each receive/received it in our own way, with measures of accuracy, reflection, refraction and distortion, thus producing the conflicts we continue to experience. Further, the way we received it was/is so powerful, we think that what we see is what IT is.But since IT is Infinite, then by definition, we can’t see IT, we can only see what we see. And then grow and learn and refine the vision as we obtain a greater, more sophisticated vocabulary to describe it. And there are so many way to describe it. As the Talmud says, “There are 70 Faces to the Creator’s Revelation. There’s the Native American way and the Sufi way. There’s Abraham’s and Moses’s way and there’s Buddha and Krishna and Jesus and Muhammad. And all the creative ways we’ve all witnessed and experienced as we bring our individual revelations to the collective Family.
This is one of the most profound elements for me at Gathering. I obviously live in an intensly Jewish world. I hunger to receive of the myriad of ways Family has come to know what they know. I learn as much in the two weeks of my Rainbow journeying that I do during the rest of the year. For that I am forever grateful.
The music most of us identify with from the Sixties was Infinite: It was new, revolutionary, going in a million directions from a million influences: blues, jazz, R&B,soul, reggae, ska, African Tribal roots, folk, blue grass, country, protest, etc. It was improvisational and experimental. Disco was pre-designed and pre-packaged. It was a corporate revolt against FM radio and revolutionary and anti-Establishment music. It was anti-home grown garage music. It was an effort to wrest control of sexually expressive black music. Disco was the Establishment’s effort begun in reaction to the ‘race music’ of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Fats Domino with Elvis all tghe way through to Pat Boone and buble-gum music and Frankie Avalon, to wash out any of the profound inner experience that music can produce. It shallowized, superficialized, commercialized and materialized an essential spiritual medium. Music comes down from Heaven to reach inside us and connect us to our higher, deeper, more profound selves. The higher the place from Heaven it comes, the deeper and more profoundly does it touch and transform us through its power of transcendence.
And that’s the crux here. They didn’t and don’t want us to transcend; to reach for something more than what corporate Amerika wanted us to have.
As I said, there’s the coming down and there’s the coming down and there’s the going up. The coming down comes first, as the Creator is the first cause. But we are partner’s with the Creator, whether we know it or not. Either we are a concious tool of the Universe or an unconcious tool. We either bring it down from on high or we bring it down from low places.
One final thought on hate to expand upon what Mouska wrote: There’s a man who woke up each night at mid-night with tears in his eyes, begging the Creator to allow him to experience all the the tears and prayers of all the peoples of the world. From that profoundly deep space, he wrote a kabbalistic book of songs. He had no agent or manager, no publicist, no newspapers, books, radio TV or Internet. His name was David and the prophetic songs he composed are called the Psalms. And 3,000 years later, billions of people look to these songs and sing these songs to transcend the tyranny that rules their lives. And he wrote: “Ohavei HaShem – the ones who love the Name – Sinu Rah – hate evil.”
Disco had within its foundation an element of evil. It was calculated to nullify music that liberates. That’s why we hate it. And Rob, wish I was there.
Blessings for a New Year filled with sweeteness and Light, good health and sustanance, Joy, Love and Peace.
From the Holy City, Moish