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Chassidim

What makes a chassidic woman? What makes a chassid a chassid?

that inner reverberation

that smile that says,

"I feel the light, do you?

that ability to stop, and listen.

All chassidim can hear

the sound of emes ringing through the darkest of darknesses.

We pass by them on the streets, unknowingly,

their light, unflappable, confident

Sometimes, we are those people

in our greatest of times

Sometimes we see the light in the darkest of darknesses.

We, too, are great

We, too, illuminate the world.

Chassidim, unite.

 

The Problem with Being Happy

The problem with being happy is that you have time to think.

When you're swimming, when the Yetzer Hora is throwing things at you every which way, you gotta stay in the game. Your equilibrium is shaking, you've got boots in your pants, or pants in your boots, and the race is on. The details are your best friends and your best friends are in the details. The importance in is the periphery, and you're a car, coasting down the highway, using the rear view mirror instead of looking through the windshield. Making excuses because the excuses are being made, pronto-licious.

How easy it is to be distracted with the difficulties in making a living. In making a life. How easy it is to be distracted by the cooking and the cleaning and the laundry...

I cannot spend my days running around in circles.

I cannot not address that ringing within me that says SPEAK.

For if I don't speak it will eat me up inside, this maddening question of the purpose of existence, the desire  to be in the game, to finish off the game.  That FUN that JOY that answers the question of existance without an answer at all, just an obviousness when you're in it. Where's the fun? Run after that too... grab the fruit...

You feel it here, in Israel, in Mar Cheshvan. The sense that the truth is palpable, obvious, that Gd is right there with you, sitting next to you on the couch, looking at you with raised eyebrows.... "Well....." He smiles.

"Well what ?" You mumble, staring off into the computer screen, "Uh huh.. uh huh.."

And there He is, waiting, tapping His finger with the pencil on the ruled notebook paper, waiting for you to tell Him, what is your mission. What is your mission......

Can't it wait? What are the calories on this chocolate bar? How much does this cost? What what...

What is your mission, what is your mission?

The problem with being happy is that you feel Gd so palpably and you can no longer ignore the fact that you are HERE on this EARTH for a REASON and existence is so bizarre and you create a little organism that becomes a BABY and then an adult and it's ridiculous; you know it, He knows it, and there it is.

 

Where is that soul and what is it screaming ? What does it say? " Not on the periphery... not on the periphery...Within every shell there is the fruit...Grab the fruit.,(Grab the fruit)."

Who's with me?!

Can the masses appreciate good art? My meeting with a distinguished Jewish Artist goes sour

 

That’s the way it is, he sighs, and grins at his ability to profit off the stupidity and ignorance of others.

He’s happy with the money, he told me so himself, through our translator who herself is a partially broken artist; broken down and beaten into reluctantly accepting the status quo, the way nature must be.

The masses cannot appreciate, don’t appreciate, good art, they explain to me, and they laugh at the way they con them with colors and shapes, how the public gobbles up his artwork only because they don’t know any better.

Yet, I know the truth is that everyone responds in their hearts to good art, true art, even if they don’t know why. They will glance wistfully at it, years from now, long after an artist’s passing, tears welling up inexplicably, at the beauty their soul is responding to, coming home.

 

 

But his stuff is so fleeting. Entertains in an instant, yet leaves the viewer absolutely the same as before they came, maybe even a little worse off, if that is possible. He thinks it doesn’t come through in his art that he doesn’t care about it, but it does. I don’t want to tell him this because I feel bad that he has exchanged his soul for obedience to the Money Queen and he tries to instruct me that this breaking of spirit is necessary, and did him well.

He is miserable about his life choices, and yet ( or probably because of that miserability, that miser ability), he tries to convince me to do the same. To have company down at the bottom.

I shake my head. No can do.

Recipients, art aficionados the world over, beware. Art ( and truth) may or may not be brought into the world because of you, the viewer. Which is a huge responsibility.

Respect yourself enough to take your art, your purchases, your tastes, seriously. Know that what you like and what you buy directly impacts what beautiful art ( and therefore, truth) may or may not be brought into the world. Demand good art, and glorify those who are defiant enough to believe and to speak.

 

The artists, they are listening to you, they are watching you, because they are afraid. Afraid of not being liked, afraid of being poor. Who can blame them? And so, to explain themselves,  they languish in their studios and hate themselves for selling themselves short (for selling you short), waving their hands and acting as if they are doing a service to the public, to the masses, who unfortunately are stupid and cannot appreciate good art, who can be fooled and satisfied by bright colors and overdone cliches. Who can be told what is beautiful.

It’s not true, but fear builds a vicious cycle, and unless the artist can look up at the sky and believe that was is true needs to be said, and that he/she will be rewarded by the Ultimate Creator for his/her efforts, until then, it will be the recipient in one room and the artists in another, one crying, one laughing.

The power to live in one honest, vibrant world lies in your hands.

Great, Serious Rabbis as the Most Potentially Powerful Artists of them All

Great, Serious Rabbis as the Most Potentially Powerful Artists of them All

But there is something within me that breaks even more, because I think the world needs him, and expression needs him, and the nagging inner hypothesis that doesn’t quit, that lying behind that robust mind that explodes in carnivorous laughter is the ultimate artist of them all. Because if anyone should bring expression into the world, if anyone could compose a great beat and uplift the room in energy and see things in colors, well, it would be him, wouldn’t it?

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