21 November 2010

150 (148-150)

148.  Creation's triumph here celebrated, which we need to do sometimes when man's own dystopic renderings--the noisy grid, the iridescent wonder of all we've made left out on the curb like garbage, and our indifference to it all--threaten to overwhelm us.  Don't give up!  Look to the sky!  Sun, moon, stars of light; heavens of heavens and waters above the heavens.  Fire, hail, snow and vaporous mists blowing in from the sea.  Mountains and hills, fruitful trees and mighty cedars; beasts and cattle, creepy things and winged creatures.  Kings, queens and all the rest; princes, judges, young men and maidens; old ones and children, too. 

What if this were all on your mind as the Torah is returned to the Ark on a Saturday morning.  The orchestral transcendence of the Matter of Life:  "Let them praise the Name of the Eternal, for His Name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.  He hath lifted up a horn for His people, a praise for all His saints, even for the Children of Israel, a people near unto Him.  Halleluyah."

This is our testimony.  It's for Someone else to judge, to make order of our chaos, to raise the Law over man.

149.  Triumph and the execution of Justice.  A victory without justice is more chaos.  How can it be done, I wonder, in a society where everyone has a right?   As we're not often enough reminded, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  We often make the mistake of interpreting this to mean we have an unfettered freedom to do whatever makes us happy; but Jefferson, who wrote the words, and Lincoln, who drew from them great inspiration for his view on the development of American law, knew that such Happiness could be found in a moral, covenantal upholding of the Law.  Law, not Chaos, but on American terms, not British terms. 

Similarly, there was Law in Egypt; and then Freedom.  And then Law at Sinai.  Which we agreed to follow, albeit against our will, as the Sages point out--with God holding a mountain over our heads, saying, "Accept and live or reject and this rock will be your grave." 

We are all born into obligation:  to the poor and the needy; the widow and the orphan.  "He adorneth the humble with salvation." 

A society that aggregates nearly 30% of its wealth in the hands of 1% of its population leaves the humble by the curb, like so much garbage.  Not a whole hell of a lot of happiness to pursue there.  Righting these wrongs and inequities is not easy; but it doesn't mean it ought not to be done.

"To execute vengeance upon the nations, and chastisements upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; He is the glory of all His saints.  Halleluyah."

You break one set of chains only to find yourself bound up in another.  Happiness is over-rated.  Goodness, unlimited.  Halleluyah.

150.  Cue the music.  No words.  Blow a shofar.  Grab a violin.  Play a harp.  Tap a timbrel.  Dance.  Pluck strings.  Clean out your pipes.  Bang and clang your cymbals.  If you have a gong, now would be the time to use it.  But don't speak.  Just your breath, the one breathed into you at the beginning, from the One who gave you life, long ago, when you came into the world.

Now say 'thank-you.'  Again and again.  Halleluyah.

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