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Rabbi Mendy Herson's Blog

Thoughts from, and conversations with, Rabbi Herson

A Throat Lozenge for G-d

Can G-d be Hoarse?
That's a funny thought (were the Smith Brothers Chassidic? I seem to remember that they had beards...).
G-d doesn’t have a throat, larynx etc, and an Infinite, Omnipotent G-d couldn’t be afflicted by an inability [to speak], so it’s a ludicrous notion.
But let's take a broader look from a Chassidic perspective:
Speech is a way for us to communicate with each other.
Converselly, thought is a distinctly private process.
When I think, I’m communicating with myself; I’m becoming aware of what I’m feeling and understanding, and even analyzing my own behaviors and internal dynamics.
Once I open my mouth to speak, I reach outside of my internal
world to connect with another.
That describes my speech and yours.
What about G-d’s?
When our Scripture describes G-d as “speaking”, it’s using an
anthropomorphism (a big word meaning “the metaphoric use of a human characteristic to describe something non-human”, in this case divine);
the Torah’s conveying the idea of G-d communicating - flowing - to us.
We're the ‘other’.
G-d’s always ‘speaking’ to us.
If the communication isn’t ‘audible’, it's because G-d is – metaphorically speaking – hoarse.
G-d wants to give, but it’s not coming across.
It's not just that we're deaf. It's also a question of Divine function.
G-d gave us an interactive Universe, so that WE have the power to impact the Divine flow itself.
Our disconnect disrups G-d's Flow and creates Divine 'hoarseness'.
So it’s up to us to hand G-d a throat lozenge.
By communicating properly with G-d and the world, which will generate a reciprocal G-dly flow.
Authentic communication means recognizing the core of one’s own thoughts, developing those thoughts in an intelligent way, and then connecting with the idea in order to convey it responsibly.
Similarly, we each need to find the Holiness that resonates deep
within our souls, and resolve to bring that goodness to the world
around us. That’s soul communication and alignment with our purpose.
And when we’re aligned, we begin feel G-d’s communication/flow in full-throated way.
Try it.
Take hold of the next hour and align yourself with G-d and your purpose in life.
See if the raspiness doesn’t just fade away.

The Road to WHERE is Paved with Good Intentions?

Words mean nothing.
If it's not signed, witnessed and notarized, it didn't happen.
Or so we're told.
The road to unpleasant places is paved with [un-actualized] good thoughts and intentions. Sentiments may feel worthy, but they're not part of the real world.
Or so we're told.
I remember the Rebbe sharing a teaching in the name of the Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Chassidic movement): "a person resides wherever his Will/Desire resides".
I never really understood that one.
I would imagine myself sitting in my sixth grade classroom during a nice Spring day, daydreaming about playing in the park; my thoughts were on the baseball field.
What was the Baal Shem Tov teaching me? That I wasn't being cognitively present in my class? Obviously! Was the point that my wandering mind had actually physically removed me from my classroom? That obviously (sadly?:-)) wasn't the case.
So what was the lesson? What does the Baal Shemtov mean, and what is he teaching us for life today?
Chassidic writings explore and expand the basic Jewish premise that 'action is the main thing'. Talking about helping someone doesn't change the world, action does.
At the same time, Chassidic wisdom calls attention to the awesome, transformative power of thought.
By thought, we’re not referring to the lazy mental meanderings of a bored student. It means pro-active, deliberate thought. It means passionate desire and commitment. It means focusing  on an objective and digging deep – then even deeper – within yourself to find a core desire to achieve it.
 The Baal Shem Tov teaches us that if you really want to get somewhere in life, invest yourself in that pursuit and its value. Find a profound personal connection to your objective and allow it to sweep up your psyche.
If you can do that, then that’s where you live. That’s who you are.
Of course, you won’t actually reach your objective until you follow the functional process which gets you from point A to point B.
But that’s just so the rest of you catches up.


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