With all the trouble they’re having with Br. Monday, the abbas are pretty busy today. Some are discussing what to do. Others are secretly wondering if the new Thelemite way of life is all that bad. And one abba (I won’t say who) hasn’t been seen all day… So, I thought we would head out from the desert and visit the rabbis of the Hasidim. Their wisdom literature has so many parallels with the sayings of the Desert Fathers. Both are full of koan-like sayings that comment on aspects of life we’ve all experienced and open up more with each reading.
“You can learn something from everything,” the rabbi of Sadagora once said to his hasidim. “Everything can teach us something, and not only everything God has created. What man has made has also something to teach us.”
“What can we learn from a train?” one hasid asked dubiously.
“That because of one second one can miss everything.”
“And from the telegraph?”
“That every word is counted and charged.”
“And the telephone?”
“That what we say here is heard there.”
The next one is best appreciated when said out loud.
Someone once told Rabbi Mendel that a certain person was greater than another whom he also mentioned by name. Rabbi Mendel replied: “If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I, and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you.”
This last one is my favorite. It’s from the rabbi of Rizhyn.
This is the service man must perform all of his days: to shape matter into form, to refine the flesh, and to let the light penetrate the darkness, until the darkness itself shines and there is no longer any division between the two.
I wish Br. Monday were here. He needed to hear this.