Sunday, 23 November 2014

Lessons, Death, and Connecting the Letters

Lessons

Over at the excellent Hermetic Lessons blog a four part series of (1, 23, 4) articles has been posted that sums up the work that the author does. My understanding of how Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) is put in to practice is pretty much in line with that posted there.

Death

A man who I greatly admired and hoped one day might become my teacher was murdered last week. He was hacked to death during morning prayer in a synagogue. He died as he lived - a man of peace in a house of prayer and study.

The four widows of the attack in Jerusalem posted the following request:
With broken hearts, drenched in tears shed over the spilt blood of holy men – the heads of our families.
We call on our brethren wherever they are – let us come together so that we may merit mercy from Heaven, and let’s accept upon ourselves to increase love and comradery, between each individual and each community.
We ask that every person accept upon himself on this Sabbath Eve (Parshat Toldot, November 21-22, 2014), to set aside the day of Shabbat as a day of unconditional love, a day during which we will refrain from words of disagreement and division, from words of gossip and slander.
May this serve to elevate the souls of our husbands and fathers who were slaughtered while sanctifying God’s name.
God will look down from the heavens, see our suffering, wipe away our tears and put an end to our tribulations.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Moshiach (Messiah) speedily in our days. Amen.
Signed with a torn heart,
Mrs. Chaya Levin and family
Mrs. Bryna Goldberg and family
Mrs. Yaacova Kupensky and family
Mrs. Bashy Twersky and family
The past Sabbath was one of unity, but it will take a long time before we get used to the empty rooms in our souls where these holy mens' influences used to shine their love and wisdom.

Connecting the Letters

Lastly, I meditate on the letters each day. But something has been missing of late and I realised that a new project would breathe new life in to my daily practice.

Therefore I will spent the next 22 (or so) weeks going through each of the 22 Hebrew letters in turn and combining them with all the others, plus with one of the four-letter Names of the Divine in the Torah (Five Books of Moses).

These meditation exercises have nothing to do with the Tree of Life or path-working between the Sefirot. The aim of this project is to become better attuned to "energies" of the Sefirot as they are manifest through the letters.

Scope: Combine each letter with 21 others. Combine each letter with four-letter Name
Time: 22 weeks (approximately)
Cost: Most evenings per week.
Quality: Output of experiences will be recorded to evaluate how "energies" from each of the 22 letters "feels",
Communication: Progress update at end of project.
Risks:
1. Daily meditation of this nature is very time intensive at the slow pace that letters are meant to be sounded. (Warm up can take up to 20 minutes alone)
2. Project fatigue may kick-in
Issues: 1. Difficult to measure how effective the project might be.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

November 2014 Update

This is a lump-it-all together post...

Film: Noah - the movie
See review from Paleojudaica. It certainly seemed to draw very heavily on Midrashic literature. Was a bit too long really... IMDB says it was 138 minutes but it felt longer... I think it was 138 minutes too long.

Space: Mars
See twitter quote: "Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots." The current Mars is life-less, but it might not always have been...

Books: Broken Homes (Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch et al.
The Bill (police procedural drama) meets Harry Potter.
This is not a review... summary: Continues a really great series. This one builds on an existing story arc is a really nice way.

Music: Discovered Red Band
Funny. Talented. Really made my 2014 :-)

Motivation: in the Matrix
What keeps a solitary Trainee Golem Builder going when the winter rolls in?

These two quotes from the The Matrix sum it up nicely:
Morpheus: "I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind - driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?" 
But that's not enough... just knowing is not the same thing as experiencing, as Morpheus points out:
Morpheus: "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize just as I did that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."
Conclusion:
So in summary... survival (Noah) is not enough. We need to continue our push to other planets (Mars) even with the tragic set-backs of this week.
As with all things, a balance needs to be maintained between the right and the left... science (robots) and art (Broken Homes, Red Band).
And the most important thing is to walk the path. What have you done to improve the world today?