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Thursday, June 19, 2014

I want you to want me...

א"ר יצחק מפני מה היו אבותינו עקורים מפני שהקב"ה מתאוה לתפלתן של צדיקים
) שמות רבה כא ה, תנחומא, תולדות ט, (יבמות סד א, בראשית רבה מה ד

“Rabbi Yitzchak said: Why were our forefathers barren? Because The Holy One, Blessed is He, desires the prayers of the righteous”
Yevamos 64a 

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
Feelin' all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin'
Ohh, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I see you cryin'?
I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I'd love you to love me
I'm beggin' you to beg me
-Cheap Trick

 Hat Tip: My wife

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Devolution of Man

I once had a little monkey for twelve years in my home, and he was my very best argument for Darwin, because to be descended from such a nice being is just wonderful.
 C.F. von Weizsacker, quoted in Cosmos, Bios Theos (ed.  Henry Margenau and Roy and Abraham Varghese), p. 130

In the time of R. Simcha Zissel of Kelm, Darwin was influential. R. Simcha Zissel said: “Darwin claims that Man came from ape. It is befitting for Darwin to say such a thing, for he never saw a person! I saw R. Yisrael [Salanter], and therefore I know that Man does not come from an ape!”

R. Shlomo Wolbe, Alei Shur II, p. 79 (my translation)

Friday, May 9, 2014

If you're happy and you know it...

Rabbi Akiva used to say: Beloved is man, for he was created in the image of God. It indicates a greater love that it was made known to him that he was created in the image of God, as it is said, "For in the image of God did He make man" (Genesis 9:6). Beloved are the Children of Israel for they are called children of the Lord. It is indicative of a greater love that it was made known to them that they are called children of the Lord, as it is said, "You are children to the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 14:1). Beloved is Israel that they were given a precious utensil (the Torah). It is a greater love that it was made known to them that they were given a precious utensil, as it is said, "For I have given you a good possession; do not forsake My Torah" (Proverbs 4:2). Ethics of the Fathers, 3:18

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sippur Yetsiat Mitzriam, Narrative Therapy and Amalek as Deconstruction

“Narrative therapists are interested in working with people to bring forth and thicken stories that do not support or sustain problems. As people begin to inhabit and live out the alternative stories, the results are beyond solving problems. Within the new stories, people live out new self images, new possibilities for relationships and new futures.” 
Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities, Jill Freedman and Gene Combs, p.16

"This book is not about imposing new stories on people's lives or giving advice. Instead, this book invites readers to take a new look at their own lives and to find significance in events often neglected, to find sparkling actions that are often discounted, to find fascination in experiences previously overlooked, and to find solutions to problems and predicaments in landscapes often previously considered bereft...This will provide the reader with the options in knowing how to go forward." 
Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience, by David Denborough, p. x, quoting Michael White

“Every time we ask a question, we're generating a possible version of a life” 
David Epston, in Freedman & Combs, p. 113

"It is stated in the Haggada that 'All those that tell the story at length is praiseworthy,' for story-telling [sippur] leads to knowledge [da'at], as the verse states 'and that you may tell in the ears of your son, and of your grandson...  that you may know that I am the Lord.' Since the Exodus from Egypt is written in the Torah and the Torah was given to Israel, it has the potential to awaken the force of redemption, for the redemption moves from potential to actual through story-telling. This is similar to the relationship between the Written Torah and the Oral Torah through which Israel creates new understandings of Torah. This comes through the power of language, which reveals hidden reasons.

The Tannaim [R. Yosi the Gallilean, R. Eliezer, and R. Akiva] mentioned in the Haggada accomplished this when they expounded that each plague consisted of four or five plagues and at the splitting of the sea two-hundred and fifty plagues. These plagues were hidden in the plagues [explicit in the narrative], and they brought them from potential to actual. This is the meaning of  'All those that tell the story at length is praiseworthy,' that they increase and expand the miracles through story-telling of the Exodus. 

The final redemption will emerge when all of the hidden aspects of the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt will become clarified. The initial redemption included within it the future redemption...through remembering and recounting the Exodus it will bring the Messianic era. 

When Israel left Egypt it was intended that this would be the final rectification, with the revelation of God is One and His Name is One. However, the wicked Amalek confused Israel, as it states: '[Amalek] cooled you [the Children of Israel] on the way'. Therefore we must remember our hatred of Amalek for all time since they caused all future exile. Only through telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt every year will the ultimate rectification emerge and the name of Amalek erased little by little." 

Sefat Emet, Pesach, 5635

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The idolatry of technology

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

They have mouths, but they speak not: they have eyes, but they see not:

They have ears, but they hear not: they have noses , but they smell not:

They have hands, but they feel not: they have feet, but they walk not: nor do they speak through their throat.

They that make them shall become like them; all of those that put their promise in them.

Tehillim 115:4-8