Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's in a Name?

Summary:
The death of Leonard Cohen led me to connect to one of his most popular songs, “Hallelujah.” He questions the fallacy of naming God in a particular way, and encourages us to recognize divinity in all of its manifestations. This got me thinking about God’s name in the Bible and how the biblical insistence on worshipping only a god that goes by this name may actually be a barrier to a more expansive recognition of the sacred. Thank you, Leonard!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Eden: A Mythical Journey

In the beginning was the One
Hovering above the indistinguishable darkness
Essential, unitary Being
Unfathomably deep
Impenetrably dark
Wind-blown and chaotic
Alone and undifferentiated

Yet the One sought self, consciousness
And yearned for the Other
To distinguish the One from the Other
And so the One divided mitotically
Producing Father Sky and Mother Earth
Like the One, both empty and alone
Separate, yet needing, yearning, desiring

In His yearning and desire
Father Sky reached deep into the womb of Mother Earth
Extracting Her rich red seed
Creating a vital Earthling called Human
Fashioned from the cosmic womb of Mother Earth
Carrying her essence, but also her corporeal substance
Yet infused with the breath of the divine Father
But, like Him, singular and alone
And through Him, overwhelmed by Power, Dominion and Authority
Restricted, bound by rules:
Don’t touch this
Don’t eat that

A luxuriant, verdant Tree blossoms
Distinct in the midst of a lush Garden
Its roots deep in the heart of Mother Earth
Imbued with Her divine wisdom and knowledge      
Its branches seeking eternity
Reaching for the embrace of Father Sky

“Do not eat of this Tree,” demands Father Sky
Wrapped in Power and Authority,
“Do not taste Wisdom and Knowledge
Close your eyes
Remain ignorant, naïve, innocent
Here among the other creatures born of Mother Earth
Like them, remain wild, uncultured, uncivilized,
Feeding on the fruits of the trees and the grass of the earth.”

Thus did singular Humanity
Remain caught in a web of patriarchal authority
Left dependent and ignorant
Living in a trap of Maleness
Awed by the allure of Power
Unable, unwilling to imbibe the cosmic secret
The mysteries of knowledge, consciousness and self-awareness
Cowed by rules and authority.

Yet just as the domineering Divinity
The Oneness of Being
Alone in His Male Power and Authority
Could not ignore the allure of Feminine intimacy and knowledge
And so divided Father and Mother
Just so was the singular Human bifurcated Male and Female.

Broken free from the embodied bondage of Maleness
Released from the power of patriarchal authority
Female would not be trapped and bound
To her belong the secrets of intimacy
The deep recesses of motherhood, mystery and mercy

An oracular Pythian voice
Spoke from deep within Her rejuvenating, regenerative essence
“Eat of the Tree
Open your eyes
Attain self-awareness, consciousness, knowledge.”

Spellbound by its beauty
Fascinated by its fragrance
Inspired by its promise of Wisdom
They ate
And their eyes were opened

Finally they could see, discern, know
Each saw the other and all of the other others
Bifurcated, distinct and separate
Male and Female
Earth and Sky
Nature and Nurture
Divine and Human
Life and Death

Aware as well of separation’s accoutrements:
Need, yearning, desire
They walked together
Knowing that desire would overcome separation
And bring forth a world
Populated by a race of humans
Born of Mother Earth
But reaching for Father Sky


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Divine Attributes (middot)

Summary:

In my essay “The Anthropic Principle: Consciousness Creates the Cosmos,” I pondered the possibility that it is human consciousness that creates the cosmos. In this piece, I suggest that human consciousness is a manifestation or emanation of divine consciousness. As such, we humans are responsible for manifesting the divine ethical attributes of love, mercy, graciousness and forgiveness, not as imitations of God’s attributes, but as the immediate manifestations of these divine attributes.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Foreign Policy or Mythology?



Summary:
We hear it all the time: the evil empire, the axis of evil, the big Satan, the little Satan. How many times have we heard and read that Iran is the most evil regime in the history of humanity. Where does all this “evil/satan” language come from? What I would suggest is that this is age-old and deeply ingrained mythic language, which is designed mainly to instill fear, but which truly has no role to play in a rational foreign policy.
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

King David and Oedipus Rex

I've just published a piece on the website TheTorah.com. I argue that the so-called Succession Narrative of King David, from his affair with Bathsheba to the succssion of Solomon, is a rather late composition dated to the 5th or 4th centuries BCE, during the time of Persian rule in second-temple Judea. One way to demonstrate this is to show thematic connection between the Succession Narrative and classcal Greek tragedy of 5th century BCE Athens. Check it out at King David and Oedipus Rex