Monday, December 03, 2007

Wonderful article -- "The Twisted Wick: Talmud Study as Spiritual Practice for Post-Modern Jews [Seekers]"

I read this article many months ago and want to share it as widely as possible. It is called, "The Twisted Wick: Talmud Study as Spiritual Practice for Post-Modern Jews." I would change the title to read, ". . . Post-Modern Seekers," because I obviously believe that the Talmud is a spiritual document that can be valuable for all spiritual seekers.

Here is the link to it

One excerpt:

Talmud study as spiritual practice teaches me to pay close attention to the world that surrounds me. A page of Talmud is not just filled with other people. It is also filled with things: twisted wicks, insignificant rags, millstones, willow branches, animal skins, scattered fruits, freshly laid eggs, pickled fish and precious stones. In order to understand a page of Talmud I must be paying close attention to the world: to the angle that willows grow in, the shape of a twisted lamp wick and the moment when a rag is no longer useful. This is the stuff of Jewish sacred text and Jewish sacred living, the everyday details that surround us. Talmud study as spiritual practice is not just about being in the present and listening to other people, it is also about the sanctity of the mundane. The holiness that resides in dirty rags and infant feces!

Another excerpt:
Although God is rarely discussed explicitly in the Talmud, the texts are filled with holiness: the holiness of the moment; the sacredness of everyday objects; the sanctity of the voice of another person; the divinity within our encounters with infinity. Each time I open my Talmud I learn to see more holiness in the people and things that surround me. I find God in a twisted wick, in a tattered rag, in the opinions of my teachers and study partners and in the voices of the street filtering in through the window of my study all.

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