By Rabbi Elisheva Brenner In the Torah “holiness” is part of an idiosyncratic way of understanding how the cosmos came into being, our place in it (cosmogony) and the nature of reality (epistemology). To our ancient ancestors, the cosmos, the physical world as we experience it, all life was brought about by “the word of G-d.” Today we would regard “the word of God” as a metaphor for the energies, forces, karma, particle and wave plus the energy of human consciousness that concentrates, compresses, expands and contracts into what we experience as the physical and spiritual world. When the energies of life are in properly balanced, albeit dynamic, homeostasis, the life system has achieved a state of sustainability. In Torah-speak, that homeostasis, that sustainability, is called “Holiness.” The parts of the system as well as the objects, actions and time intervals used to maintain and correct the system are called “Holy.” We can find our way into the Torah’s way of understanding through the study of language and literary structural forms. Language is a window onto the way a people or culture perceives reality. It both arises from and reifies a culture’s epistemology. Biblical Hebrew is a language that […]
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Why was Adam’s “consequence” to work the soil? Why were many of the Bible heroes shepherds?
Dear All, Shavuot is a rabbinic holiday overlaid upon an agricultural one: chag hakatzir (the holiday of reaping the harvest) and yom habikkurim (the day of the first fruits) which then became zman matan torateinu – the time of the giving of the Torah. And it’s the time of the giving of the Torah – and not, in its name, the receiving of the Torah because, in a sense, a person can give a gift, but only the recipient can decide if s/he wants to receive it. Thus each year, as it were, the Torah is given – and we each get to decide whether and how we receive it. (more…)
Reflection on some of what I’ve been thinking about, as we look back on Hazon’s first dozen years and look forward to the future.