The human body is a city with seven gates—seven portals to the outside world: the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth. Here, too, it is incumbent upon us to place internal “judges” to discriminate and regulate what should be admitted and what should be kept out, and “officers” to enforce the judges’ decisions. (Siftei Kohen)
Do not judge alone, for no one can judge alone but the One. (Pirke Avot – “Ethics of Our Ancestors,” 4:8)
Why does the verse repeat itself? Is there a just justice and an unjust justice? Indeed there is. The Torah is telling us to be just also in the pursuit of justice—both the end and the means by which it is obtained must be just. (Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa)
Such is the nature of this hour. But what of the next?
Religion is essentially the act of holding fast to G*d. And that does not mean holding fast to an image that one has made of G*d, nor even holding fast to the faith in G*d that one has conceived. It means holding fast to the existing G*d. The earth would not hold fast to its conception of the sun (if it had one), nor to its connection with it, but with the sun itself.
In contrast to religion so understood, philosophy is here regarded as the process, reaching from the time when reflection first became independent to its more contemporary crisis, the last stage of which is the intellectual letting go of G*d.
This process begin with our no longer contenting ourselves, as pre-philosophical people did, with picturing the living G*d, to whom one formerly only called – with a call of despair or rapture which occasionally became its first name – as a Something, a thing among things, a being among beings, an It.
The beginning of philosophizing means that this Something changes from an object of imagination, wishes, and feelings to one that is conceptually comprehensible, to an object of thought.
…on the other side, in the development of religion itself….instead of understanding events as calls which make demands on one, one wishes oneself to demand without having to hearken. “I have,” we say, “power over the powers I conjure.” And that continues, with sundry modifications, wherever one celebrates rites without being turned to the Thou and without really meaning its Presence…..
One who is not present perceives no Presence.
…and now one who is seemingly holding fast to G*d becomes aware of the eclipsed Transcendence.
What is it that we mean when we speak of an eclipse of G*d which is even now taking place? Through this metaphor we make the tremendous assumption that we can glance up to G*d with our “mind’s eye,” or rather being’s eye, as with our bodily eye to the sun, and that something can step between our existence and G*d’s as between the earth and the sun. That this glance of the being exists, wholly unillusory, yielding no images yet first make possible all image, no other court in the world attest than that of faith. It is not to be proved; it is only to be experienced; we have experienced it. And that other, that which steps in between, one also experiences, today.
In our age, the I-it relation, gigantically swollen, has usurped, practically uncontested, the mastery and the rule….this I that is unable to say Thou, unable to meet a being essentially, is lord of the hour. This selfhood that has become omnipotent, with all the It around it, can naturally acknowledge neither G*d nor any genuine absolute which manifests itself to us as of non-human origin. It steps in between and shuts off from us the light of heaven.
Such is the nature of this hour. But what of the next? It is a modern superstition that the character of an age acts as fate for the next. One lets it prescribe what is possible to do and hence what it permitted. One surely cannot swim against the stream, one says. But perhaps one can swim with a new stream whose source is still hidden? In another image, the I-Thou relation has gone into the catacombs – who can say with how much greater power it will step forth! Who can say when the I-it relation will be directed anew to it assisting place and activity!
The most important events in the history of that embodied possibility called human begin are the occasionally occurring beginnings of new epochs, determined by forces previously invisible or unregarded. Each age is, of course, a continuation of the preceding one, but a continuation can be confirmation and it can be refutation.
Something is taking place in the depths that as yet needs no name. Tomorrow even it many happen that it will be beckoned to from the heights, across the heads of the earthy archons. The eclipse of the light of G*d is no extinction; even tomorrow that which has stepped in between may give way.
Martin Buber, from Eclipse of G*d, excerpted in The Writings of Martin Buber, ed. Will Herberg (1956)
|רְאֵה, אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם–הַיּוֹם: בְּרָכָה, וּקְלָלָה.||Look, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse:|
|אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה–אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ, אֶל-מִצְוֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתכֶם, הַיּוֹם.||blessing, if you hold to the mitzvot of HaShem your God, which you are given this day;|
|וְהַקְּלָלָה, אִם-לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-מִצְוֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, וְסַרְתֶּם מִן-הַדֶּרֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם: לָלֶכֶת, אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים–אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְדַעְתֶּם.||and curse, if you do not hold to the mitzvot of HaShem your God, but instead turn aside from the way which I show you this day, and go after other gods, which you don’t even know. (Deut.11.26-28)|
|וְהָיָה, כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ–וְנָתַתָּה אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה עַל-הַר גְּרִזִים, וְאֶת-הַקְּלָלָה עַל-הַר עֵיבָל.||When HaShem your God brings you into the land you are about to enter, you shall set the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. (Deut. 11.29)|
I stood in a crowd while a mob advocating genocide pepper sprayed us and threw smoke bombs and rocks at us and the police stood by and calmly watched.
They murdered people in my city today. They committed acts of terrorism.
If I ever hear any of you try and derail this into a “free speech” debate or talk about how “both sides” should be accountable, not only will I consider you human garbage, it will become very apparent which side you are actually on.
One cannot be neutral about white supremacy and terrorism and genetic cleansing any more than one can be neutral about child rape. You are either against the Nazis or ok with letting them take over our society and kill me and nearly everyone I love.”
– Kali Cichon
“We are home and safe. The last 24 hours were intense. We initially went to Charlottesville to see Dr. West speak but when we got there, it was full. We ended up doing our best to hold space outside of the Rotunda. We managed not to get surrounded by the fascists with torches so that was good. We did make it down to the protest on Saturday and a got a little bit of yelling in. It was intense.
A few quick things:
1. If, after today, you believe one side is as bad as the other, I have nothing more to say to you ever.
2. I never want to hear anybody trash millennials again. I would estimate the average age of the group who held the space in the rotunda which I was not physically able to do was 25.
3. I lost track of the number of M.AGA hats and shirts I saw on fascists.
4. It turns out that militia members with semiautomatic rifles are the well behaved ones even if they are terrifying. I’m a little afraid this will change later tonight.
5. We have to stand up, even a little bit.
The most important: Black & Brown people are being terrorized every day. I could escape back into whiteness.”
– Lee Ann Kinkade
Lee Ann’s friend who acted as a medic Friday night is in the ICU. This was a horror show.
2 of my friends were there. “You will not replace us , JEW will not replace us” is what they were chanting. One friend , who is Jewish and disabled, was there as the torches poured into the U of V and circled them. She has Cerebral Palsy , and cannot move quickly or with stability . She was with her husband and one other friend who helped her actually run. Lee Ann does not have a body meant for running and she’s gonna be in bed all week. But they feel lucky to have gotten out before the circle of torches completely closed around them.
People had assault weapons with live ammo. Thank god she says the ones with the biggest weapons actually behaved less violently. Lee Ann Kinkade is her name. she said the Kiddush as they were being circled. It was the only prayer she could remember at the time. She wanted to tell me that she held Jewish space and gave Nazis the finger. She felt silly for saying the kiddush. I said she put aside space to be holy , a Jewish space, and it didn’t matter that she was so scared she probably forgot her own name. It was a victory.
The friend in the ICU goes by the name of Star. Can you add their name for a mi sheberakh? She is in surgery now and is expected to live. I just found out.
MAGA, a Requiem
I know she told somebody
She’d be careful today.
Before the world broke open and
that Dodge Charger
Dragged down 4th Street looking
For the biggest crowd of black bodies
Still in town.
Call it what it is, sir.
While they wear your hats and chant your name.
Lee Ann Kinkade