I’ve never been good at math. As a matter of fact, once algebra and trig came on to the scene I was blank and still am. But Hashem compensates. I guess I have always felt a sharpness, call it a keen perception of the sixth sense. It is not by chance (as nothing is) that I am where I am now– and can feel things- Divine Providence in my life. Like, the other day when I went to our local beauty parlor nearby. Right outside the building there is a barbed wire fence and right beyond that -a barrier, a checkpoint of soldiers that monitor the passing of people through the area. So as you sit to get your nails done or have a facial in that calm pink ambience, on an average of twice a week there is a terrorist just meters away that comes to strike with a knife or Molotov cocktail or gun .(You will not read of this in the New York Times) At the large red sign that demands no entry of an Israeli citizen due to a life threat, I had an epiphany . Driving out of this sphere, you pass a plethora of butchers in the village and various shapes and sizes of bloody meat and mean looks indoctrinated by their drip system of hate. Now don’t get me wrong- if you want to live a full life you learn to sift these images out- they aren’t even in your field of vision – but as redemption comes closer and our return becomes more real you can’t help but notice the vibe of darkness surrounding the potential light. And there you are- trailblazing the way for the flow of a Jewish presence to run up and down the narrow strip of the bible belt of Israel. Inside of that.
It got me thinking to Shechem Ben Chamor and how he took Dina. Not far from here actually. About the Romans and the Greeks (in different times) that took our Temple and Amalek who followed and attacked Israel all through their journey in the desert. So- the “goyim” feel the paranormal too. Subconciously. Aha! (So THAT’S WHY the Temple Mount is such a sore subject with Unesco and that’s why the U.N. are obsessed with Israel- the only democracy in the Middle East.) This is why the heart and soul of Israel- Shechem- Jerusalem-Chevron were all stolen from the Jewish State in the Oslo Accords. For every physical place there is a realm of metaphysical. This is not just a war for Land. It goes way beyond to the unearthly. The paradox reaches so deep into the psyche that what is most exposed (as described) is only a flipside of what is hidden: The deepest secrets of the Land, the primordial stations of our Patriarchs.
This is a time of counting the Omer. We are soon reaching the time that connects Passover to Shavuot- the special day of Lag BaOmer- the birthday of Jewish Mysticism. Most of the year we busy with the practical aspects of Shabbat festivals and mitzvoth we do and perform to the most minute detail through defined and apparent actions- the Do’s and Don’t’s of the Torah. There is one day though set aside for the fire of the greater dimension, the secrets, for shining the great light. Way before Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai- the master of Kabbalah was born and passed, the foreshadowing of the seeds of the unseen and deeper meaning of the Torah were planted 3,300 years ago as passed to Moshe Rabbeinu and on to Joshua and on and on developing ever since and taking on new dimensions that fit into this very day -today. Everybody knows about the great bonfires we light on Lag BaOmer. On the other hand, we also shoot bows and arrows on this day as tradition holds. Why? It is a custom for Jewish children to go out to the fields and forests far away from urban centers to celebrate in shooting the bow and arrows- the symbol of the power of the inwardness unleashed by the mystic soul of the Torah. In the teachings of this minhag, we learn out that the more the bow is drawn towards oneself, towards ones heart -the more distant an adversary it can reach slashing through barriers. Going out to shoot required leaving the known places of the neighborhood to where you have not gone before- into the unknown- a place you can perceive on a new level. So when the Romans would watch the Jewish children shooting bows and arrows they could not distinguish the hidden intention behind every child’s heart to propel and pound the redeeming influence of the fire of the Torah against the forsaken idolatrous ways of Rome. We also remember the Great revolt and the brave Jews who actually fought our enemies with the sword and bow, Jewish warriors.
On a Cupid level – the arrow of love propelled from the dispatcher to the heart of your beloved….. The harder you pull the bow closer to your heart, the more the arrow will penetrate the twin heart of the one you love. In a way you are pulling back- almost a small retreat- but boom- conquers with a force of the deepest expression of the fire of love and charges the electricity you can’t see but can feel. This is the real weapon – the Torah’s insights we are so thirsty for in these days of redemption. We are thirsty today for flashes of lightening and knowing our beloved- Hashem! There are many “goyim” who in fact share the zeal and cleave to the purest truth of the Torah and the Land. The righteous gentiles of the world in droves come to pledge loyalty and great love for Israel now more than any other time in history.
In these “paranormal ” days of the end of the time as we know it, there is now more urgency to pierce hearts in other dimensions with knowing and sharing the magic of our times . We are a people of chesed, mussar, law and are even called the people of the book. Moreover though, we are a people above nature. Take one day to look beyond what you see.
Shabbat Shalom! Lag BaOmer Sameyach!
This Blog has been written in the memory of my father-in-law, Levi Ben Efrayim zt”l