Monday, October 29, 2007

Guest Posting By Space Cadet - Crossing the River

(Picture courtesy of

Our old friend, Catskills hermit Space Cadet, informs us that he has set aside his camera for the moment, being unable to afford printing the images he describes as “the abstract expressionism of everyday life.” Instead, he has been writing poems based on Rabbi Nachman’s Likkutei Moharan, such as “Crossing the River.” The poems may not be as good as the pictures, but they are much cheaper. For those unfamiliar with Rabbi Nachman’s lesson, a key to the poem’s symbols appears below.

Crossing the River

Based on Likkutei Moharan, Torah 64

The silence of Your concealment

Surrounds us like a river.

Within its vast circle:

Answers and questions,

Feasting and hunger,

Birth and death.

Beyond its terrifying edge –

Your Infinite Light!

How to cross over?

Through faith alone.

To rescue lost souls,

The True Man of Faith gazes into the deep.

“With one silence,” he explains,

“I answer all conundrums.”

In this silence, the river dissolves.

Gone are answers and questions,

Feasting and hunger,

Birth and death.

As the raft touches the dock,

Everything becomes clear.

There is no other shore.

There is no river.

There is no journey.


Related Concepts From Torah 64:

1. Creation comes about through God’s constriction of the Infinite Light, leaving a Chal HaPanui / Vacated Space.

2. This Vacated Space encompasses all of creation, like a circle.

3. This is also symbolized by the river that Abraham crossed, and why his descendants are called Hebrews (“Ivri’im / Those who cross over”). With faith in God’s omnipresence, even in the midst of His seeming absence, the Jewish people transcend all questions and confusions (see below).

4. Beyond the Vacated Space is Sovev Kol Almin, God’s absolute transcendence. Within it are all of the “worlds,” animated by Memale Kol Almin, God’s imminence.

5. The nature of the Vacated Space is a paradox, because God is absent there -- yet God must also be present, for nothing can exist without His animating power.

6. All divine concealment, hence all suffering, comes from the Vacated Space. This, too, is the source of disbelief and all philosophies that deny God.

7. The essence of the Ge’ulah / Messianic Redemption is the solution to the riddle of the Vacated Space. With this, all conflicts and confusions vanish, and with them all suffering.

8. The Vacated Space embodies the paradigm of silence, for no animating divine wisdom or “letters” of God’s creative speech are present there.

9. It can be traversed only by one who makes himself silent to all of its derivative conundrums. This is the tzaddik in the category of Moshe, whose is “The True Man of Faith” in the poem.

10. By impassively contemplating the conundrums that proceed from the Vacated Space, this tzaddik / True Man of Faith rescues all of the lost souls that ever fell into this cosmic abyss.

11. This “rescue mission” is accomplished by the Song of the Tzaddik, which is the Song of Faith, from which all songs and all music derives. It is also the Song of Silence – but I didn’t get around to working this into the poem.

12. The idea of reaching the other shore and seeing that there is no other shore, no river, and no journey alludes to the realization of God’s Infinite Oneness from which all multiplicity emerges and returns – because that's where it always was!


At October 29, 2007 at 7:29:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.

This poem is VERY thought provoking....I especially like the idea that "...there is no other shore...". Hashem is here to be found and revealed within our world.


Post a Comment

<< Home