Friday, June 29, 2007

Reishis Tzmichas Geulaseinu

The First Flowering of Our Redemption

I opened up a new blog entitled Secrets of Redemption devoted to poetry (and some other artistic expressions), thematically the content reflects the title... Some folks have a general mistrust of poetry (as they’ve been lead to believe since childhood that it is all a lie, and throughout maturation having been taught - "oh thats just poetic license"), others see it as being entirely effeminate, and most fear it as being indecipherable. However within Judaism we have a very long standing tradition of poets, be it Dovid HaMelech in antiquity, Moshe ibn Ezra, Shmuel HaNagid, Rabbi Yehudah ben Shmuel HaLevi during the High Middle Ages, or HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook in the 20th Century CE. And, although I would never place myself on the same level as such holy sages, I do feel it important to follow their lead and continue the chain of active Jewish poïesis. The creative process itself emanating both from the poet via his/her poetry, and the audience in their interpretation. The power of the word as being an essential component of creation in Judaism is a concept heavily emphasized within Jewish tradition (particularly in the more mystically inclined manifestations of Judaism as is most prominently evidenced in the writings of Avraham ben Shmuel Abulafia). The might of the word is even humorously encapsulated within "magic's" most famous phrase 'Abra Cadabra' or more appropriately 'avra kehdabra' (in Aramaic), translated as “I will create as I speak.” On the more rational end of the spectrum however is Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon who for example pointed out to us the limits on our efficaciousness in verbalizing our praise of the Divine, and thus we must acknowledge with humility that our creative ability as expressed in words is in no way on par with the One Creator. Nonetheless, despite such hesitations having been largely ignored throughout history, and while in the modern era this art-form is largely neglected, poetry is certainly not in decay... so without further ado, here is my feeble attempt at perpetuating the long standing legacy that has been bequeathed unto us.

PS: Excellent treatment on the topic of Human Creativity: Art and Halakha