Tag Archives: Jewish

Musing with the times…

21 May

Lag b’Omer has come and gone, and once again, I ask myself the quintessential Jewish question, “where am I”?  I don’t know why Lag b’Omer does this, even Yom Kippur doesn’t make me as introspective as Lag b’Omer does.  While everyone else is huddled around a huge bonfire or pushing their way up to Meron and R’ Shimon bar Yochai, I can be found alone at my desk, pondering the mysteries of the universe.  Is there something wrong with that on lag b’Omer?  I don’t think so, actually…Lag b’Omer is all about what the mystics called hod, or “glory” and the way we get into the glory is by pondering the mystery of creation, so maybe I’m onto something…at the same time, Lag b’Omer is not just your standard “glory.”  It’s hod within hod, or the “glory of the glory.”  Another way of getting that is to know that we are not just puny in relation to Him.  That would be like saying, “yeah God is bigger than I am.”  Congratulations you have arrived at step one.  Rebbe Shimon was step one thousand or maybe one hundred thousand.  Hod within hod is more like, “I don’t exist, I’m really not here, I’m only a piece of the One above.”  A little infinity (soul) within a body, that’s the Jew.  When my musings get me to that point, I’m ready for R’ Shimon…

For more meaningful musings from a more advanced human being, go to http://www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly/w_Bamidbar_5774.php  For books and information about Jewish meditation and prayer, go to www.jewishspiritualbooks.com  For more background and info on Chabad in Jerusalem, visit us at www.chabadjerusalem.org  And here are a couple of other great sites as well: www.neirot.com and www.rootsofprayer.blogspot.co.il  

The Right “Gong”

18 Feb

Recently, we tried out a new gimmick in the old city.  The Hurva square downstairs is full of tourists, students and soldiers.  The level of noise is cacophonic, and it can be difficult to hear the person speaking next to you.  We needed a novel way of attracting attention to our tefilin stand.  We decided to try a Chinese gong.  We imported a gong from China, and it has begun to serve its purpose.  Until now, it was necessary to approach people individually to ask if they wished to don tefilin.  Now, the gong does the job.  Within a couple hours, several people hearing the gong approached to put on tefilin, including two who had never put on tefilin in their entire lives.  Speaking philosophically, a gong is not a mere piece of metal with which to make noise.  In Yiddish, “gong” means “a way of going,” a “path,” if you will.  So, when you hear the clang of the gong, the purpose is not only to put on tefilin.  It is also to usher you onto the right spiritual path.  Other than tefillin, that includes mitzvoth such as Shabbat, mentioned in our weekly Torah portion (Vayakhel).  You can cover all of that by going to our website at http://www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly    If you are more philosophical and you like Jewish meditation and prayers, have a look at www.jewishspiritualbooks.com, and if you just want to know what’s going on in Jerusalem, check out www.chabadjerusalem.org   Have a great week!