I have no idea what the Gematria (numerical mystical value) of Tsunami is but my urge to know is to try and get my head around the seemingly inexplicable. The (some believe) ‘revealed’ codes hidden inside the body of ancient texts (Bible Codes)- beckon me with the promise of providing some understanding of WHY- not as if this knowing will make the situation any better by stopping the earth from shaking or rewinding the waves that decimated Japan and had ripple affects on the California coast and the Pacific island of Hawaii or prevent the murderers knife from slaying the throats of the Fogel family. Just as we are reeling from the intravolutions of the Middle East, the earthquake in New Zealand and from the apocalyptic images broadcasted from Japan comes this heinous news of a Jewish family murdered by terrorists in Itamar.
Sunday morning a moment of paralysis engulfed me. The buildup of news made it painful to breath. I did not know what to do with this information, this onslaught of “Oh My G-ds!”, this cascade of human sufferings upon human sufferings. I was conscious that I had become a vessel for grief and that this had almost knocked me out of my body. My husband Ephraim and I spent the rest of the day quiet at the park in separate spaces, him on a bench in the shade, me in the sun on the grass, feeling the earth beneath me re-grounding, breathing, coming back into myself and into life.
This weekend at synagogue the Rabbi spoke about the holiday of Purim, and how the mitzvah is “ad she lo yadah” “until I don’t know”. I had originally understood the mitzvah to be “consume alcoholic beverages ad she lo yadah”- until you cannot tell the difference between Mordechai and Haman (good and evil/ light and dark) with most Purims ending up as a cornucopia of mad drunkenness with everyone passed out on the couch post-Purim seudah and gnarly hangovers the next day.
But the mitzvah of “ad she lo yadah” this year to me means “exist in a space where I don’t know” and challenges me to go above the limitations of my human mind, to try and ‘give up’ the need to know and to understand and to just accept recent events as the Universe’s divine plan (that I happen not to agree with and is the source of my ongoing existential crises). The control room seems to have quickly ascended again to a place just beyond our reach of knowing, controlling, understanding, making sense of anything. And just when we thought we were back in the game. The Hindus call this plane of existence the “Maya” or illusion. The impermanent world of form. I like to think of this earth as a kind of high-school, a temporary stopover on our infinite journeys as souls-in-body. I do not profess to know the lessons we are to learn here, but I do think we all have one lesson in common-the lesson of compassion.
Lets look back at some of the big events beginning in the year 2000. Sept 11, 2001, attack. December 2004, tsunami, August, 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Global Financial Crises, 2008. January, 2010 Earthquake, Haiti. And assorted other murders, oil spills, wars, revolutions/evolutions and -just three months into 2011-earthquakes in New Zealand, the earthquake/Tsunami combo in Japan and the gruesome, ugly and heartless murders this past Sabbath of the Fogel family, may their memories be a blessing. The bloody pictures of children’s slit throats to really make you blind with anger, hate and the inclination for a swift and speedy revenge or fantasy of a small nuclear bomb going off in the village the perpetrators made their angel of death walk back to after the attack.
In my previous blog entry I spoke about a post-apartheid post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) plaguing South Africa, allowing the frequency of fear to rule. Today I think this national PTSD is more universal. The message we are receiving in the era of globalization is that the world is a scary and dangerous place. That we are not in control! That someone else is in charge. Perhaps the PSTD we are reeling from as a planet today is a positive force, as we share this common ground. Perhaps living in such confusing times, of increasingly accelerated shiftings, is part of this divine plan to bring us even more in relationship to each other. As our realities break down, perhaps we will come closer together, and realize that we are here only temporarily, that our lives contain within them precious finite moments- where the point of life is to have our breaths taken away- not by knife but by heart-openings.
Purim is a holiday about everything being turned upside down “Nahafochu” about raising in consciousness until we touch the “Ein Sof”, the infinite G-d. It is about dressing in costume, taking off the masks we wear everyday and donning our ‘true personas’. Its about revealing ourselves to the world and submitting to the unknown. Its also about letting go of our fears and internal battles and opening our hearts to each other by passing out yummy treats. It is about celebrating the victory of light over darkness.
My mother reminded me that right before Purim in Israel-it seems for the past many years-innocent blood has been spilled and the country has entered into a collective state of mourning. “Mar Adar” as I like to call it. The month that on the Jewish calendar is the month of joy ends up turning “mar”- bitter- fast. As Israel has yet again entered into this time and again the worlds eyes are on Israel a.k.a “The Eye of the Storm”, perhaps these eyes are looking towards us for understanding on how to heal, how to be compassionate, how to come together and comfort each other and become a light force stronger than any darkness in one of our yet another darkest moments as a nation. May the souls of the Fogel family bless us in this process, may their memory be a blessing.
Am Yisrael, Chai, Purim Sameach and oh-does anyone know the gematria of tsunami?