Thursday, April 16, 2015

This is the twelfth day of the Omer and of Easter. That's pretty close, anyway. It might be the thirteenth.

I haven't done much blogging. It has been busy at work with one of the guys out, and I already think I do too much work so you can imagine how I feel about additional classes, though we get a little more money when that happens.

I had a ukulele lesson yesterday. I hadn't practiced very much. OK, I hadn't practiced at all. But we managed to have a good lesson anyway. I am learning a song that I like, and we played some of my old songs too. My teacher is from The Philippines so he is a little more westernized than most, but he sometimes gets his terms of speech mixed up. Today he told me that I had a nice package. I must have looked confused because he explained that I have a nice voice and I can feel the music. It was a compliment. But, still... a nice package. I didn't explain what it means in the USA. I just said thanks.

I skyped a couple people, chatted on FB with a couple people, and I practiced my ukulele.

My groceries came and I've washed some clothes. Such an exciting life.

So, I drew a connection between the broken Hei and the being that results when you link it to another Hei with a Yud. -- I don't know if I explained that clearly or not. I see from the comments that I have a bunch of big-brained readers who can figure things out, though, even if I don't connect all the dots.

It is hard to talk about the Yud without talking about tzimtzum. And, really, I think it will take someone more learned than me to explain it. But, basically, there is a belief in Kabbalah that before creating things, Ein Sof, or the divine light of God, withdrew and that created a space in which the limited things could have existence. The Bal Shem Tov told us not to take this withdrawal literally. God's beautiful light is still here, but in order for there to be limitation, such as we have, there has to be the appearance of some space which is not God's light. An easier way to say it is that tzimtzum, the withdrawal, explains how limitation can emerge from infinity, and how many different things can be created from an essential unity.  

Image result for tzimtzum images
The words above the circle say Ein Sof, or Divine Light. The small dot in the middle is the area where creation will happen. It is the tzimtzum.

Tzimtzum is not just for God, though. When we contract our desires, or when we are able to cultivate some humility then there is a contraction of ego and in that action, or contraction, we enter the moment. There is only one. It is called the present. That is also a place of creation, or recreation. Some Christians talk about an anamnesia, or remembering in the Eucharist, in which they imagine the body of Christ is somehow put together or re-membered, re-created. But this can't happen without a corresponding withdrawal which I am not sure gets as much liturgical attention as the remembering does. But, they go together.

Before the tzimtzum limitation was impossible. The withdrawal basically made it possible for existence, at least as we understand it so far. Interestingly, it is also the thing that revealed the infinite nature of God. Opposites have that power -- the power to reveal their own opposite. This is shown in the saying that a fish is the last to know that it's wet. It can only discover that it's wet when it experiences a state of not being wet.

Somehow this business of the tzimtzum -- important business --  has not, at least to my knowledge, made it into Christian thinking. Of course, there are all kinds of things the Christians don't tell you.

You have to know about the tzimtzum, though, because at the very center of the withdrawal is a small Hebrew letter. That's right, it's the Yud. Yud is the ability of God to contain everything that exists. God may or may not have existence, but what does exist exists within God. So, there you have it.

The Yud is the smallest letter, and it is the only letter that hangs in space -- Just like Earth itself hangs in space.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.
-- Job 26:7
If you look at it you can see that there is a crown on top, and a line that extends down. You can think of this as a pathway from infinity to limitation, or from Heaven to Earth, or from God to each one of us. It just depends on how you want to think about it.

I want to show you something. Look at these letters. You can see that every one begins and ends with a Yud:


It is especially clear in the Aleph where the two Yud remind us of the waters above and the waters below. A great mystery, that. The Aleph is very mysterious.

It's numerical value is ten. The ten commandments come immediately to mind. But, before that, there were ten divine utterances through which the world was created. There were ten generations from Adam to Noah, and ten more from Noah to Abraham. Ten nations were given to Abraham, Joshua had ten battles. There are ten in a minyan, We have Yom Kippur on the tenth day of Tishri, after ten days of repentance. The most obvious ten is in our modern number system. Even the Bible says that the tenth shall be blessed.

But, I am still on this business of the hand, and somewhat the friend. I have a feeling that this is a refrain you'll hear from me again:  You can't get better by yourself. Phone a friend!

Yud is the letter for hand.
  • You know the pointer used to read Torah is usually a hand with one finger pointing to the words. That's called the yad.  It points from that which is not Torah to that which is. There is a pathway from not Torah to Torah.
  • Three times a day we remember that God opens her hand to feed us. The pathway is from hunger to nourishment.
  • We know that God created the world with one hand, but the temple was created with two. The hands are joined in companionship, they work together. A path from unity to plurality.
You see how that path from the crown is always leading to something?

So, I really don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that we can go through the Yud from the brokenness of the Hei to the wholeness of Hei, Yud, Hei. I don't think the Yud makes it easy, I think it shows that it's possible. And I think that it doesn't happen in isolation.

My experience.

The blog is all about me, remember? All About Lindy?

I am grateful for all my friends.

I am grateful that hard things are possible.

I am grateful that I've already made the decision to heal. Making the decision is one of the hardest things. But once you decide, you don't have to make that decision again. You just keep putting the pieces together, making it fit.

I am grateful that Ein Sof, the divinity, made a place for all the created things.

I am grateful that I exist.

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