I'm still waiting to hear if the Jewish Week is running my essay on Qatar - so please stay tuned! So in other news....I sat in on a brilliant talk by my former teacher Rabbi Dr. Art Green whis weekend at Montclair's Shomrei Emunah. Green spoke about the Zohar, and the idea that the sexualized feminine imagery of the mystics is a counter-narrative to the cult of Mary in Spanish Catholicism. Then Kabbalists in Turkey form a counter-narrative to the Sufis - fascinating idea. Green was mesmerizing - he spoke for over an hour and I was riveted by every word. (The last time I heard him speak for an hour was under a Chupah ten years ago when Lisa and I were married by him!) His best idea was in a discussion afterwards - Elohim is truly a flipped word - Mei - Eyleh -- meaning "Who?" and "These" the "Who?" is the 3 sefirot that are unknown and the "These" are the seven known sefirot. He also spoke on Hillel Zeitlin - who I've been thinking would make a good subject for my next play.
This morning I spoke (with Katharine Henderson and Nurah Amatullah Jeter) at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School at an assembly on the Holy Land -I spoke about the Tower of Babel, Abraham, and Exile...basically the idea of 70 nations, Jewish homeland, and the problematics of exile. The students were really sharp - they asked great questions.
Finally, tonight is our Rudin Lecture - please feel to drop by at 5:30 if you are in NYC. Here's my invocation:
The ancient words of the Book of Proverbs remind us:
Wisdom rests quietly in the heart of the judicious (Proverbs 14:33)
We come together tonight, people of many faiths, to set in our hearts a bed on which wisdom may rest.
There is an old Jewish folk tale on wisdom -
Wisdom enters the world and walks from village to village. But each person who sees wisdom is afraid. ‘Wisdom is ugly’ they say. ‘Wisdom is dirty’ they say. Wisdom is ‘sick’ they say. Everyone runs from wisdom. People go out of their way to avoid wisdom. Wisdom is broken-hearted. Wisdom floats back to the heavens and comes before God in tears.
“No one wants to see me!” Wisdom complains.
God answers: “When you go out into the world, dress yourself in a story.”
Tonight, we come together to hear from a journalist and a scholar, one who searches for stories, and teaches others where to find them. May we, in our discussion, share stories, and learn to welcome wisdom into our hearts.