Well, Shavuot was lovely. Sorry I didn’t get to post anything drashy before I went into No Computer mode, but oh well. I hope those of you who do that whole “Judaism” thing got your fill of Divine yumminess this weekend. (For those of you just tuning in, Shavuot is the holiday about recieving the Torah, and it’s generally marked by staying up all night, studying… Torah.)
My Shavuot started out at a potluck, which was lovely and yummy. There were a few shiurim (classes, talks, lessons, whatever) there, most notably a really striking, gorgeous one by a rab student at a different seminary on the love of the Divine. I’ve included a piece from the Zohar (Vol 2/Shemot page 60a) that she taught, because it’s simply an amazing text. That’s below.
After potlucking it, I went to the Progressive Orthodox Yeshiva to hear the Postmodern Literary Torah Commentator do her thing. It was OK. That was the third time I’ve seen her, the second on Shavuot, and it seemed like the exact same lecture she gave 6 years ago. But maybe that’s not true–the thing with her stuff is that it can be very moving and engaging at the time, but I can never remember what she’s said afterwards. So who knows.
Then there was an asskickingly good shuir comparing the texts of David/Batsheva and Yehuda/Tamar called something like “The Charismatic Rabbi: Uses and Abuses of Power.” It was great from the Torah learning standpoint and she drove home the way that these texts illustrate some of the problems in our community now in a way that was powerful and effective, not contrived at all.
Anyway, suddenly after all that it was 3am. I was debating trying to stay up all night and walk to the Kotel (Western Wall) at 5am with the rest of the known Jerusalemite universe–the egal folk had a section all staked out to the side, even–but as regular readers of this blog know, sleep deprivation is not my friend. Given the fact that I have finals this week and a massive output of paper-writing still to do, and then immediately will have to get ready to travel again, and given that I had started to have that incredibly grumpy feeling that happens when I get peopled out, I decided that there was no reason to try to be macho about it and pay for it with my health later. So, suddenly exhausted, I left in the 3/3:30am zone, muttering “stupid Kabbalistic minhag”, went home and crashed. I’m sorry to have missed the Kotel thing in an abstract way, like one year I would like to go, but I’m not sorry in the concrete way, like given how rotten I felt the rest of the weekend, it was clear that I had hit my limit already.
Anyway. It’s a new week, and I have a new round of papers! to write! How fun!
In the meantime, here’s some Zohar for your entertainment, courtesy of Helen:
Said R. Simeon: â€˜When the Israelites stood at the Red Sea and sang, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them with all His hosts and chariots, in order that they should know their King who had wrought all those signs and mighty works for them, and that each one of them should perceive of the Divine more than was vouchsafed to any prophet.
Should anyone say that they did not know and did not cleave to the Supernal Wisdom, this song that they sang in perfect unison is a proof to the contrary; for how could they, without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have all sung together as if through one mouth?
Yea, even the embryos in their mothersâ€™ wombs sang it in unison and beheld things that the prophet Ezekiel could not see.
They all beheld the Divine glory eye to eye, and when their singing was ended their souls were so filled with joy and ecstasy that they refused to continue on their journey, desiring yet more perfect revelations of that glorious mystery. (Zohar Vol 2/Shemot Beshalach 60a)