Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Let Us Make (Snow) Man"

On the East Coast winter has set in. We find ourselves once again standing tipee-toed stretching and feeling for that second glove up in back of the closet. Every woosh and click of the front door seems to carry in a moan of relief and a statement of "just how cold it really is out there" all expressed to the rhythmical stomping of boots on the front mat. The kitchen seems warmer and more inviting filled with the smell of all things baked, braised and starchy. The throw-blanket on the couch is rediscovered (along with that book that was lost underneath it) as is velvety sweet honey which now finishes our nightly tea. Yet it's the beeping of the Robutusm, Ludins and Puffs passing over the checkout which reminds us that not only is winter here, it's here for a fight.

We know that nature is a a most basic form of prophecy. So what's winter whispering to our souls? Of course to each one of us it whispers its own message, but to us as a whole what's it saying?

The Talmud states:
"All is in the hands of Heaven - Save the Cold and the Heat"

Elsewhere The Talmud States:
"All is in the hands of Heaven - Save The Fear of Heaven"

The questions are many and obvious.

Through Kaballah we are taught that the stem of the soul in its highest form in the highest world is rooted in two G-dly attributes , Love and Fear. The attribute of Love is represented in our world, the lowest world, the world of asyia by Fire - the heat of passion driving us to express and create. Fear tho is represented by water - the cooling intellect restraining our actions.

Free Will, Heat, Cold, all left in man's hands alone.

The cold season of winter is surely the season of intellect. A time of learning , study, contemplation and honing of the mind so it may lead us in the service of G-d. Its no coincidence that it's in this very time of year that we add a special passage in the daily prayer requesting rain - which represents Torah learning as expressed by Moses Our Teacher "May my teachings fall like rain" (Deut. 32-2).

Winter is not the season for sowing or reaping, cutting or threshing - nature tells us to head inside our homes and ourselves. To take some quiet time with a "Gluz Tae" - a glass of tea. Simply, think, learn study and build a better human infrastructure - so when the spring comes around the seeds planted in the winter will burst forth to beautiful blossoms.

Of course any extreme has its dangers and winter is no exception. A dose of heat is required - but the general direction is introspection - and the Great Chassidic Masters took from the Goanim a secret that these winter weeks were a special time that the gates of change were opened, a timed they named "shovovim" or "returning".

We all know that on the second day of creation G-d split the water, there were the waters that above in the heavens and the water below in the oceans. The water of the oceans cried to Heaven - "L-rd it is unfair we are so far from you", Heaven responded "There will come a time when man will bring sacrifices to me on the alter in the Temple , and he will be required to place with it salt that comes from your waters".

The two waters represent the two types of knowledge, the knowledge of Heaven and knowledge of earth.
The earthly knowledge said - "I'm so far from you"
"In this lowly world, what type of knowledge is there? We are so far from G-d who's hidden behind endless veils - even Moses the greatest prophet was told he cold not see the face of G-d and live! Even when a Jew struggles and wants to do the right thing he isn't sure what to do' "Givald!" said Knowledge," I'm so far from you!
Heaven answered - "You are right, earthly knowledge has severe limitations what people think is right could be so wrong and vise verse - but I made it so, earthly knowledge is not about attaining absolute truth, its about the quest and relentless pursuit to find it. Earthly knowledge has to nullify itself before the knowledge of Heavenly Torah - only through this "hisbatlus" nullification - or evaporation does the salt emerge to be brought on the Holy Alter.

So it's winter, and a time for collecting holy heavenly knowledge - we push aside all our earthly ideas of right and wrong - of sensible and nonsensical and open ourselves up to the wellspring of Torah Knowledge - as the snowflakes fall passed our windows - we are bent over our holy books and like the seeds sleeping in the ground, gaining nutrients and growing stronger - waiting for spring to awaken and put out new found selves into play.

1 comment:

  1. Love your writing. Did you learn how to write like this in Sha'ar HaTorah?