Sunday, 6 May 2007
First steps to aliyah
I typed a response to Hanna Cohen's email today (from the Jewish Agency). I explained my circumstances and asked her if I was eligible to make aliyah.
Maybe it's because I feel trapped by my present circumstances. I am going crazy trying to figure a way out. Something needs to change, and this is the only thing I can change at the moment. If God wants it to happen, then it will happen, if it is not to be, then at least I will know that this option is no longer viable.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 10:16 BST
Friday, 10 December 2004
Trying to have feelings
Topic: Asperger's Syndrome
I often wonder what it would be like to have normal feelings and emotions, how I might be different if I were a 'normal' person. Having read quite a few books now about Asperger's Syndrome, I realise how AS compeltely defines me as an individual, how it affects every aspect of my being.
I guess I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will never share my life with anyone, that I will not be close to anyone. But I still wonder.
I wonder sometimes how it would feel to have close friends. What would I do if I had close friends? How do you sustain a friendship? What things do you do? How do you make the other person enjoy being your friend?
I sometimes try to imagine what it is like to have close human friends, I strain to imagine, and nothing comes.
I'm glad YHVH is my friend. When I think of God, I feel God's Presence, and I am alive. God gives me a tremendous feeling of contentedness. God completes me. All my cares fall away, and my whole being smiles. YHVH is my friend who enjoys me as I am, and who shows me such warm moments of understanding, acceptance and tenderness. I lose myself in God's Presence, and I am home.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 02:45 GMT
Thursday, 9 December 2004
Magical Mystery Tour
Topic: Talmidi spirituality
Last night I saw an episode of "Veritas". Its story was set in an Hassidic Jewish community, and dealt with the tradition of the Baal Shem. It brought up some interesting questions for me, namely about the resurgence of magic and superstition creeping into Jewish life under the guise of Jewish mysticism.
I have a condition called Asperger's Syndrome, and it causes me to see the world differently - in effect, to see it exactly as it is. Normal people seem to have this habit of looking for hidden meaning in things that actually have no hidden meaning. Normal people seem to crave mystery, and create it even when there is no need to. They seem to be completely thrown by answers which are displayed in plain sight - they cannot see the wood for the trees.
There was a man who went out into the desert to find God, in order to have his questions answered. He fasted seven days and seven nights there. At the end of the seven days, he felt that he had not found God, nor had any of his questions been answered. So he vowed to fulfil certain tasks if God would answer him. He completed all these tasks, and still he received no answer. So he finally decided to study the complicated writings of mystics, in the hope that he would find his answers there. Once more, having finished reading the mystical works, he found he still had no answers to his searching questions.
So the man went home, and sat on the ground in his house. He raised his hands to God and cried out, "Adonay, why will you not answer me?"
And a voice came back, "Because you never actually asked me anything. I've been here all the time; you only had to ask".
The prophet Yeshua` told us it was not difficult to gain insights from God. `Ask, and it'll be given to you; look, and you'll find; knock, and it'll be opened to you. Because everyone who asks receives, and whoever looks finds, and to whomsoever knocks it'll be opened.'
I think there are two forms of mysticism. One form finds delight in believing that certain things are unknowable, and the more complicated something is, the more likely it is to have religious significance. This type also tends to believe complicated ritual in and of itself can give you answers. By chanting words you don't understand, by performing actions that have no immediate significance, this type holds that one can attain a mystical union with the divine.
There is a second type that believes that, if we seek to better ourselves, if we endeavour to heighten and improve our spiritual senses, we can come to understand God's ways and experience God more fully. This type of mysticism moves from one reality - ours - to God's, and back again, bringing insight and understanding with us.
Torah forbids magic and superstition. However, the prohibitions on magic are not meant to be restricting laws, but are life-saving ones. Belief in magic and superstition was and is addictive, the belief is like a drug. Prohibiting magic is like prohibiting drugs. Leaving superstition behind is like your soul coming off drugs.
Look, and you will find.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 00:01 GMT
Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Topic: Israeli affairs
When I was in Israel, I came to realise how important the IDF is to the protection of Israel. I don't know if I myself can fight - I've never even had a fisticuffs with anyone - but I undertand the necessity of having a strong defense force.
Those in charge have to be really watchful for individual abuses of human rights, and make sure that Palestinians are not abused. The international community must never be given any opportunity to drag Israel through the mud; bigots like Orla Guerin on the BBC, provide sufficient ammunition for the hatemongers, we don't need any more.
I pray that the good men and women of the IDF will continue to be the examples that an army should strive towards, and that every soldier will continue to remember what they are fighting for and defending.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 18:30 GMT
Tuesday, 7 December 2004
My visit to Wisley Gardens
Topic: Spiritual Uplift
Today I went with a friend from synagogue to Wisley Gardens (which is near Woking in Surrey, England). Earlier on in the day, I happened to be reading about the Talmidi respect for nature, and I read these words:
"...our awe when regarding the wondrousness and beauty of all life only increases our amazement and reverence for YHVH our God. By gasping in awe and wonderment at the world of nature around us, its beauty, complexity, intricacy and interconnectedness, we get a glimpse of their Maker. Abraham worshipped God as the creator of heaven and earth, and it is as the Great Creator that YHWH was first known and identified.
"By ignoring the fact that YHWH is in fact the Creator, we have lost our concern and care for Creation. For some people, this has resulted in a disdain for the living world. Some people see wild plants and animals as a nuisance and therefore to be gotten rid of. We have forgotten that we are stewards of the Earth, for we were made in the image of God - that is, we were made to carry out a function that God fulfills, and look after and care for the earth and all life around us.
"We should bless God for the stars, the sun and the moon, the planets and everything in the Universe. On this day, we also remember life on earth - the animals, the plants, the living planet itself."
One part of the gardens had the most gigantic trees in it, and in total contrast, another part had an alpine house, which had tiny plants that could survive on little nutrients among the crevices of rocks, battered by wind. Even these tiny, intricate plants moved me to stand in awe of YHVH, and I said a little blessing:
"Blessed are You, O YHVH our God, who can create even the smallest things of the most breath-taking beauty!"
Posted by shmulikparzal at 00:01 GMT
First Night of Hanukkah
Topic: Jewish Festivals
Today was the first night of the Festival of Lights (Chanukkah). I follow the Massorite Talmidi tradition and have a meal, during which the story of the background and meaning of Chanukkah is told.
I love doing this, because it brings home to me how much I value being a Jew, how I love my heritage, and most importantly, how YHVH has looked after us thorughout the ages.
It always makes me think about assimilation, and reminds me about what I would miss if I gave in to pressure to conform to Gentile customs. I respect the right of others to have their culture and traditions. Outside, in the world, I do what I do to get along with others - and I must add that I do not resent this; YHVH is the God of all Nations too. However, at home I am a full Israelite. I meditate on the ways and commandments of our God, and it has a profound effect on me.
It gives me confidence and peace, it brings me closer to our God, it helps in a small way to understanding what God is trying to do for us.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 00:01 GMT
Sunday, 5 December 2004
My thoughts on Yulie Cohen Gerstel's film
Topic: Israeli affairs
Today I saw a programme made by Yulie Cohen Gerstel. It was a conscience-examining programme on what happened to the Arabs when the State of Israel was declared. It is good to examine such things, because then we shall not fall to the sin of false pride, or racist nationalism. But I also think that it was short-sighted in its purvey of history.
She mentioned a book of all the Arab villages that were destroyed in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, and of the Israeli villages that were built over them. She said that they were never taught this in school, and that Israel will never bring this up in public. I can show you a book of Jewish villages from the 2nd Temple period, that were destroyed when the Romans cleared the Land after the Jewish revolts, and of the Gentile villages that were built over them. Two wrongs don't make a right, but the latter point should have been mentioned in balance. We are willing to think about the Arab villages, but most Arabs are never willing to think about the Jewish villages that came before them - it never enters their thinking, and as a result, they most Arabs are unable to come to a point of view that is free of hate.
The Arabs say that they will never stop asking for their right of return - that this right will go on forever. So if their right of return will go on forever, when did our right of return come to an end? If their right of return will never cease, why do they think that our right of return ceased?
It was also pointed out Jews and Arabs can live together and share the same land, and examples were given when that happened in the past. Sadly, this is only true, as long as the Arabs believe it. It is only true for as long as Gentiles in general believe it. In times of peace, I do not believe that Jews will ever fall upon another people, and with cold purpose wipe them off the face of the Earth. In Europe, there were Jewish communities that had existed for nearly a thousand years. They believed that Jew and Gentile could live together peacefully side by side. But then in the twentieth century, during a brief period of collective madness, the Gentiles with whom we hoped to live side by side in peace turned against us, and took it upon themselves to wipe us out. In the early 20th century in Hebron - the `city of God's friend' in Arabic, that is, of Abraham - the Jews there thought that Jews and Arabs could live together in peace. Then on the night of August 23, 1929, Hebron turned into a city of terror and murder. Arabs turned against their Jewish neighbours, and murdered them.
I can predict with confidence, that if the Arabs ever gained a majority in the Land, then they will turn to their Jewish neighbours and kill them - I don't have to be a prophet to predict this. History shows that a Jew cannot be safe forever in a foreign land. In a foreign land, we cannot defend ourselves. At least in Israel, we can stand up and defend ourselves.
I believe that we should love our neighbour - and I continue to believe it, and hope in it because it leads me to YHVH. However, I know that I am in danger for as long as my neighbour hates me. I must teach enough of my neighbours to love me, so that they will defend me and stand with me, if evil ever raises its ugly head.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 14:00 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 December 2004 18:34 GMT
Thursday, 2 December 2004
Why I started this blog
Topic: Talmidi spirituality
I am increasingly concerned that the discussion group I belong is going down the kabbalist / rabbanite route, discussing things which have nothing to do with Talmidaism. I am very worried, but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it. I can only try to emphasise the Talmidi view. I feel helpless. And disillusioned.
I will try to introduce things that hold my interest as a Talmidi Jew, but I fear that no one else is interested. I guess I can respect that though. Anyway, I'm putting my thoughts out into the ether. At least no one can get annoyed with me here!
In fairness to the group, there are a few people there who understand where I'm coming from. I pray daily for all of them, and I love them, even though I don't tell them. When I went to the Western Wall in October, I prayed for all of them fervently.
God knows what is in my heart. I am only trying to follow what YHVH teaches. I am interested in the wonder and beauty of ancient Jewish culture, about the teachings of our ancient Talmidi community on compassion, forgiveness, love, humility, understanding.
It is my hope that, by putting out my thoughts here on this weblog, I will be able to give people an idea of what it is like to be a Talmidi Jew, a Follower of the Way.
Posted by shmulikparzal at 19:10 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 27 January 2005 08:18 GMT
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