America, Whither Go You?

Bob Levin5/16/2012 5:49:44 am PDT

re: #20 Cosmic X

Bob, if you feel that your technique of analyzing the text by jumping into it increases your fear of Heaven and your performance of the commndments (I am assuming that you are Jewish), I say, “all the more power to you.”

It’s more than a feeling, my feeling, it’s a how to analyze the text. It’s what constitutes a Talmudic discussion, by jumping into the opposing point of view to truly understand the position, in the Midrash, by jumping fully into the story to find more details than the gloss of the Torah, in the Shema when our ‘talking about it’ is actually arguing about it—it’s about the intensity of the experience, from which we can derive wisdom. Without that intensity, observant people just go through the motions, and they will admit this is what they must struggle against. There are prophets warning against such emotional complacency. It’s more than just my feeling. I have a library standing behind me.

If you think your practice can be buttressed by your memorization of quotes, I have a surprise for you. Try practicing lit up with the kind of intensity we are supposed to develop (cavanah). It won’t happen overnight, since you’ve got to fight through your own emotional blockages—and this takes time. But the burden is placed squarely on your own shoulders, and blaming others has no place in this method.

It’s worth it. And it’s the way we are supposed to be doing things.

Another proof of how much more powerful the proper technique is—you’ve been avoiding my questions. Avoidance is a defense mechanism, a popular one at that. If you’re stuck fearing my questions, you’re off your focus.