How’s this for a logo?
“Sasson Magazine: A Little More Sanity”
Okay. It’s kind of a joke, but that’s something of the idea.
In the last few days I’ve seen a few things in relation to Sasson that I think are really good signs:
First of all, Nesanel’s Safran’s article, “Is Anybody Real Out There?” could be something in the area of a “mandate” for Sasson. It really says it well. His reference to “us Sasson-ers” hints at the genesis of a community, while the form it will take —probably a loose one– remains to be seen. Also very good was the comment there by M.E. Gordon, explaining why Rabbi Akiva was the one to see the movement from unholy to holy when nobody else could.
In addition, In response to her poem recently posted on Sasson, my wife Varda received an email, part of which said:
“I, also, didn’t grow up here. I have recently decided that I no longer want to “fit in” with the culture, but I certainly do want inspiration and growth!”
If Sasson can be a place where people who “have recently decided” something, anything positive, can get chizuk, it’ll be doing good.
Nesanel expressed it well, basically saying: No rebellion here, just a search for more clarity and sanity.
Trying to see the sky
In addition to the many people who are becoming baalei teshuva, there are a growing number of people in the established Hareidi/Chasidish world, as well as in other places, who, while remaining in their communities, are gathering together, here and there, trying to pick up their heads and see their sky.
But what form will it take? Who knows? The editors of Sasson asked for some suggestions and ideas, so here are some of mine.
For one thing, b’kitzur, it seems to be clear that one of the most important things in any enterprise of any kind is to discover, foster, and sponsor greatness.
The idea is that instead of just limiting ourselves to being a magazine, why not become more aware of what is behind everything, and what is behind the magazine, –A Striving Towards Greatness, for one thing– and have Sasson be a sponsor of projects with the magazine being the voice of all that?
When we can come to a consensus of what greatness is, it should make everything easier. If we don’t do that we may allow ourselves to fall into mediocrity, which is easier to understand and grasp. And if our future, including Sasson’s future, doesn’t include greatness, what will it be?
Let’s start off asking questions that are different than the ones other magazines ask. Why not? We’re a different magazine, maybe a different breed of magazine.
Let’s ask questions about “what is greatness, what is process, what is language?” and more. If the magazine reflects that, we’ll be doing great.
A new Lexinary for the time of Mashiach
So right away, we get to what could be an important project for Sasson. I call it:
A Lexinary of Words and Terms, Hasagas, Exercises,and Projects for Mashiach Tzeit
From 2019 / 5779 Until the Next Edition
We need something like this because right away here, when we use the word “greatness,” we don’t know if we are speaking the same language.
“Melech HaMashiach is coming very soon. But this is Mashiach-Tzeit, the days of Mashiach” – so said Rabbi Ezriel Tauber, and also Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, in Likutey Moharan 250, and many others, besides.
Since these are unique times in the way Rav Tauber, R. Nachman, and others, have said, it has a unique vocabulary, much of which is waiting to be brought out.
Maybe Sasson can sponsor (not necessarily with money) a project like this, which at this time could be called a “lexinary”, for various reasons. The writers are all creative people, bubbling over, and with mutual encouragement, and ideas and insights flowing freely, we should be able to come up with something that will give us a common language, and it will be a language that is sane and is suited to these unique times.
As Rabbi Shlomo Twerski, ztzal, of Denver, Co., explained:
“Western languages, including modern Hebrew, are point-oriented languages. Loshen HaKodesh is a concept-oriented language. For example, in modern Hebrew, the word ‘mitzvah’ can be defined only as either commandment or good deed. In Loshen HaKodesh, based on its concept, the word ‘pipeline’ is a valid definition for it.” –
There are “charged” words that can be addressed. We will be writing in English, but drawing on what we have absorbed from Loshen HaKodesh. A simple example, is that “communication” once had a fairly limited and well-defined meaning. As we move deeper into Mashiach-Tzeit, we can update it in an inspiring way, in the direction of the conceptual.
Because as Rav Yitzhak Hutner, ztzal, said: “…Our existence in the World to Come will primarily consist of concepts and ideas.”
Grasping the World to Come today
None of us know the nature of L’asid Lavo, The World to Come. It’s hidden. But since something of that time, Mashiach-Tzeit, the Days of Mashiach, has been brought here, we can grasp concepts perhaps better than ever before, and that in itself will create reality. We may not know of the future that’s there, but the part of the future that’s here should be accessible to us.
All the writers who want can contribute to the lexinary, with probably something like an “editorial board.” This can also help in the formation of community, and when it’s finished and published, we should be able to speak and write more freely and clearly, to people who will be understanding the language. And, it will be a force for helping to restore sanity, because if there’s anything Mashiach-Tzeit is, even the level on which it’s here now, it’s sane.
It makes sense that in days like these and those like we’re coming into, language will be restored to its rightful place, with mutual understanding.
In the lexinary, we can speak those words that are “charged,” words that are full of potential and just waiting to be updated with what we now know about reality and energy. Here are some examples:
* Language *process *ability *design *craftsmanship *dibur *lattice *communication *intelligence *invisible *memory *vision *zone *voice *time.
This could also lead to the creation of a Story Dictionary, with stories and other writings on the words. Even songs. It will inevitably be a work of art, because it seems pretty clear that in Mashiach-Tzeit, that’s how things are: profound beauty, symmetry, and balance imbuing everything on all levels.
That’s the idea. It’s just one project that can help form a community.
Some other ideas to consider
Here are some other possible themes. The idea is not to have people “answer” them, but to work with and through them to whatever degree they want, in whatever medium, whether it be in a poem, a story, an essay, a painting, a musical composition, etc. We could ask ourselves, and each other:
How far back does memory actually go, and how far forward the vision, and what’s in between?
Rav Shlomo Twerski said:
“When you are where you are, you’re limited by the limits of that place, no matter how good it is. When you get where you’re going, you’re limited there, no matter how great it is. In between, it’s wide open!”
What Do You Remember?
In From“Transforming Darkness into Light – Kabbalah and Psychology,” Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh wrote:
“When someone would come to join the circle of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Baal Shem Tov would ask him, “What do you remember?” This penetrating question would awaken the new disciple’s unconscious and bring up what lay hidden in the recesses of his psyche to his conscious mind. This included all the unresolved issues he had repressed throughout his lifetime, remnants of previous lifetimes, and particularly, the life of his soul before its descent from its abode in heaven into his physical body. ”
– – – – – – –
Light: The Language of the Candles
The Holy Arizal could understand the language of the candles and see what would be happening the following week. If we can understand more of what language really is, we should be able to come to understand something of the language of light, to whatever degree is possible, and it may be possible now to a greater degree than before.
We probably won’t see what will be happening in the future. But we may just see more clearly what is happening in the present. And the present may be calling out, beseeching us, to see it from behind its lattices, which may be more open than ever before. What would that look like? What is the relationship of these lights to our subconscious? What can that tell us about their language? Our own language of light?
– – – – – – – –
Charashim – Craftsmen
There is an amazing line at the very end of the last piut which many say in Shmone Esrei on the four Shabosim before Pesach. This is from the end of Musaf of Parshas HaChodesh. It says, ”My lips will sing joyously when I witness the four artisans (charashim). The four artisans as in a prophetic vision.”
The commentary says that according to Zecharia’s vision (chapter 2) four artisans will come to redeem Israel from the four kingdoms who oppressed them.
Why artisans? Why not Tzadikim? Kabbalists? Talmidei Chachamim? Great Rabonim?
The (politically correct) dictionary lists these as synonyms for artisans: craftsman, craftswoman, craftsperson; Coming from a French, Italian, Latin root meaning ‘instruct in the arts.’
Whatever the medium of the artisan’s work, we know that it creates not only (usually) functionality, but beauty and symmetry.
Why are artisans apparently needed for the Geula? What of that is available to us at this point in Mashiach-Tzeit history? Is it only limited to those who create works of art, or can it be everyone who knows how to be an artisan in designing their own life?
Becoming the tools that facilitate Mashiach’s arrival
We’re not only talking about exhibitions of paintings here. That’s been done throughout history. We are talking of discovering how we can make our lives the kind of craft that will facilitate Mashiach’s arrival. What kind of beauty and symmetry can do that?
There are many more possibilities. Sasson does not have to ask the same questions every magazine asks. We can ask good questions which are not the usual questions. They’re usually the ones with good answers, the answers that have been out of the reach of all of us until now, the ones that are very, very necessary now.
There are plenty of people, good people, many of them already Mitzvah-observant people, looking for something to help them lift up their eyes. And Hashem is looking for those who are lifting up their eyes and they will meet – in fact, they already are– and He will answer, bs”d.
Let’s keep going.