Kavvanot: Meditations


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Tradition should have a vote, not a veto,

say the Reconstructionist Jews.

My vote goes for the third eye

Let the enigmas be unveiled


In the 1830s, tradition did have a veto

that sent the mystical teachings

into hiding.

Exoteric, rational thought is all very well,

but teach me the mystery, hidden magic


Kabbalah kept its secrets for decades,

even from Jews themselves.

Oh, my young loss,

the longing for light, peace, infinity


The deep way, what is received,

handed down orally,

rebbe to student.

I would kneel at your feet, blessed teacher,

where are you?


It found a haven from the Inquisition

in Safed, then Palestine.

Above dusty streets, the hills echoed

with holy words


Kabbalah’s view is a cosmology,

of four worlds,

spirit, mind, heart, body.

Spirit flame burns, mind chatters,

Heart stretches, body dissolves


Through prayer,

with inward intention,

one rises from world to world,

to reach the goal:

nearness to God.


Nothing is outside of God.


Had these teachings

been made known to me

fifty years ago

who knows

what sort of Jewish mystic

I might have become?

from The Jew in the Lotus, by Roger Kamenetz

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