by Jhos Singer
I’m just coming back to earth from a rousing Simchat Torah mulit-verse celebration last night and a day of teaching and learning with the fellows at Urban Adamah today. My passion for Torah—with its murky, watery, mystical, psychedelic pathways—is what motivates and underscores my Jewish journey. There is a rabbinic dictum that says that the raw text of the Sefer Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) is often crying out to us, “Interpret me!” That the text itself yearns for our eyes, hearts, minds and spirit to engage in an intimate encounter, seeking as yet undiscovered wisdom, guidance and insight from its hints, symbols and hidden meanings.
The Jewish project turned from being a sacrificial cult to being an innovative way of thinking by way of a group of radical thinkers whose descendants are now called rabbis, maggids, darshans/metarguman and moraim—the legal scholars, preachers, interpreters and teachers of the Jewish spirit path. You won’t read about them in the Torah itself because they arose out of necessity, when their community literally blew apart with the Babylonian destruction of the 1st temple in 586 BCE. After the rebuilding of the temple (~536 BCE) a schism between these radicals and the return of the establishment leaders (the Kohanim/Priesthood) rattled Jewish life until the fall of the 2nd temple in 70 CE. And it’s been radical thinkers ever since, creating new Jewish practices and ideas from one upheaval after another.
Here’s a link to a brilliant teaching on how to cope in the midst of a crash, by my own radical teacher, Rabbi Benay Lappe. It’s 17 minutes long and it reveals insights about Judaism’s incredible ability to adapt and survive as well as some really useful concepts on how to make it though our own lived experiences of our plans going awry. I hope it brings you food for thought and inspiration.