Archive for December, 2017

Three Little Words

December 27, 2017
birds
Illustration: Beastfromeast/Getty Images
Three Little Hebrew Words

Kavod  is what happens when you’re exchanging the usual ‘How are yous?’ with a person you see regularly, only on this particular day she doesn’t respond with her normal, ‘Fine, and you?’ but instead says, ‘Not good’—and suddenly everything changes. Now the conversation is no longer brief and shallow like it has been for years, because now it weighs something, it is significant, it matters. She matters; you matter; the fact that she decided to be honest with you matters; the thing that is happening between you matters.”  “The word is often used in the scriptures to refer to that which happens when the monotony is pierced, the boredom hijacked, the despair overpowered by your sense that something else is going on, something that reminds you of your smallness, frailty, and impermanence. It’s that gut-level awareness you’re seized by that tells you, ‘Pay attention, because this matters.'”

Ruach “An explosive, expansive, surprising, creative energy that surges through all things, holding everything all together and giving the universe its life and depth and fullness.”  When we want to “talk about those moments, when an object or gesture or word or event is what it is, but is also more, at the same time, something more.” For example: “It was a meal, but it was more than a meal; just as it was a conversation and yet more than a conversation.”  “In our modern world, people understand spirit to mean something less real, less tangible, less substantive—something nonphysical, something that may or may not exist. But when the Hebrews spoke of the ruach, they weren’t talking about something less real; they were talking about what happens when something becomes more real, right before your eyes…The challenge is for me and you to become more and more the kind of people who are aware of the divine presence, attuned to the ruach, present to the depths of each and every moment.” 

 Echad   “A unity made up of many parts.” “We have an intuitive awareness that everything is ultimately connected to everything else. When you get a glimpse of what someone else has gone through or is currently in the throes of and you find yourself inextricably, mysteriously linked with that person because you have been reminded again of our common humanity.”  “We live in a dis-integrated culture, in which headlines and opinions and images and sound bites pound us with their fragmented, frantic, isolated blips and squeaks, none of it bound together by any higher unity, coherence, or transcendent reference point. This fragmentation can easily shape us, convincing us that things aren’t one. But everything has a singular, common source and is infinitely, endlessly, deeply connected. We are involved, all of us. And it all matters.”

Advertisements