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October 16, 1987 - Image 96

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-10-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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INSIGHT

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7, introducing the

High Tech '
SO
SOLUTION
to the
Bathing Suit Blues

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Matter Of The Heart

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Continued from preceding page

-.1/

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Select just the
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DISCOVER

WEST BLOOMFIELD

"MY"
The Country! Best Yogurt

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All The

®
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88

FRIDAY, OCT. 16, 1987

T.C.B.Y.

Yogurt

Kidz Kloz

Victoria's

"Blessed art Thou who has formed the
human being in wisdom and created in him
a system of veins and arteries. It is well
known before Thy glorious throne that if
but one of these openings be closed, it
would be impossible to exist in Thy
presence." Once I thought this a primitive
prayer — not of dreams or refined petitions
but of openings and closings, orifices,
apertures, cavities of my own flesh. How
unseemly a prayer, how lacking in
aesthetics, how out of place within the
covers of our majestic liturgy. But now I
read it with new amazement and respect
for its penetrating candor and
concreteness.
Real prayer is with your body and your
soul, with your bones and your flesh, and
about your whole being. "The soul is Thine
and the body is Thine. Blessed are Thou
0 Lord who healest all flesh and doest
wonders."
Doest wonders. That is what prayer is
about, to dissolve the boredom that dulls
our senses, to open our eyes to the miracles
that are daily with us — evening, morn,
and noon. Prayer is not boring. We are bor-
ing. Prayer is the antidote to yawning.
Prayer means to overcome the pedestrian
perspective. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
chastised those who walk through life
"with honey smeared on the soles of our
shoes."
Pay attention. The sand beneath our
sandals is holy. We walk on sacred soil, this
amazing earth on which we tread.
I have been shaken by the shoulders of
my being, awakened to life-and-death
options. As one of T. S. Eliot's characters
put it, "I have seen the moment of my
greatness flicker, and I have seen the Eter-
nal Footman hold my coat and snicker —
and, in short, I was afraid."
But fear has its wisdom. Out of real fear,
the fear of life and death, a thousand pet-
ty anxieties and dangers evaporate. Out of
fear comes lucidity and out of lucidity a
different understanding. When I have seen
the shadow of death, and have lived to
remember its face, how am I so readily
frustrated with the myriad irritations,
brooding over imperfections, failures,
flaws?
"The Lord is my light and my healing;
whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strong-
hold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
(Psalm 27).
Out of real fear, the glimpse of a new con-
sciousness, a new gratitude is born.
Knowing mortality, what ambitions do
I seek, what achievements, what acquisi-
tions, what thrills, what childish fantasies
of the rich and the famous? Why so full of
complaints, and demands, "I want, I want,
I want . . . ."
Do you want what you want?
What do you crave with your insatiable
neediness?
And where do you look for tran-
scendence? Is there not wonder enough in
your world? Will you forget the ecstasies
of life, those post-operative marvels, the

wonders, the signs, the miracles — to turn
freely in your own bed from side to side,
to cough, to sneeze, to walk, to wash
without pain and fatigue?
Nissim, miracles — not in mountains
moving or seas splitting, or people walk-
ing on the surface of waters — but in the
rapture of breathing and sighing, in
understanding a word spoken or a
paragraph read, in following an argument,
in recognizing a face, in waking to the
ecstasy of ordinariness, the extraordinary
ordinariness: "A solitary stroll through the
streets: windows, tastes, colors, a dark
climb up the stairs, broken, crooked, a good
shabbos greeting to uncle and aunt. Hallah
dunked in red wine, pepper-sprinkled fish
with white horseradish, green-red Sabbath
fruit cherries, currants, gooseberries, the
sourest of gooseberries between tart teeth."
(Yaakov Glatstein).
I wonder at the restless searchers, the
voyagers for spirituality, looking for mystic
signs, special mantras, seances, levitations,
transmigration, trance-channeling corn-

We pray wrong.
To pray is not
to pay off your
debt to some
celestial
creditor. To
pray is to
overcome
entitlement.

munications with the dead, flirtations with
extra-terrestrials. Not that I am unmoved
by the yearning for the transcendent, by
the hunger for communion with another
dimension beyond the flat surface of a
material world that might offer this planet
greater meaning. But they seek for God
and wonder and spirituality in outlandish
places, climbing the mountains, plumbing
the depths of oceans.
Where else should they seek spirituality?
Reb Eizek, son of Yekel of Cracow,
dreamed that he was to look for a treasure
beneath the bridge in Prague. He trusted
the dream and set off to Prague. But the
bridge was guarded by soldiers and he
dared not dig. One day, the captain of the
guard asked him what he was doing, stand-
ing day after day at the bridge. Reb Eizek
told him he was following the mandates of
a dream. "And so to please a dream you
have traveled from Cracow to Prague. I too
had a dream, that there is a treasure
beneath the oven of a Jew in Cracow. The
Jew's name was Eizek, son of Yekel." The

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