And now for some real teaching . . .

I know there must be some long-term readers of Via Negativa who are disgusted with me lately because my posts have become so much shorter than they used to be. If so, hie thee over to Velveteen Rabbi’s 7,000-word post about a week-long retreat with the incomparable Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

The mystics talk about bittul ha-yesh, destroying “thingness,” ego. But I don’t want to destroy my ego! It’s a good manager, though a lousy boss. My goal instead is to make the ego more translucent, more transparent. To remove opacity so divine light can shine. The ego says, “it’s all me.” But we need to own that everything in us is God. Some days I wake up and think, “Oy, God, you decided to be Zalman again today?”

And here’s a quote that relates nicely to today’s post about love/desire/zeal/whatever:

Torah isn’t just information; we don’t just read it for the literal meaning of the text. Imagine if Eve [his wife] said to me, “Zalman, I love you,” and I replied, “Yah, you told me that last week, I know already!” It’s not about the information.

O.K., I need to stop cherry picking. Stop on over there and find your own favorites! Zalman is da Man. (See here for a review of his latest book.)

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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