There is no question, being Jewish in the world is difficult. Most Jewish People deal with this difficulty by clustering together in what is commonly called, religion; as long as one adheres to the dictates of the rabbi, the community will support a secure life style—a mental ghetto separating the Jew from the world. Others, assimilate. I have chosen a path of being dedicated the my Jewishness through the continual study of Torah and the observance of the 613 Commandments but without the dictates of the rabbis. God gave the Torah to all the Jewish People to learn and live by. The rabbis constitute the strictest interpretation of the law.
The Zohar, the deepest and most mystical of all the texts, calls the words of the Torah, Advises. I take a similar view of the rabbis, I take their decrees and advices. One of the most intrusives laws of the rabbis into my life is their prohibition on smoking. For years I have smoked herb as a necessity but I always kept the Shabot even at the expense of being depressed until I realized the rabbis had added on the prohibition of using fire by including electricity. I told someone my dilemma and he gifted me an electric lighter. So, now I can smoke a joint whenever I want, even on the Shabot.
This Shabot I was invited to come read Tarot at a marketplace of artists and people who sold beautiful whimsical clothing of soft muted colors to gentle clientele. The room I was housed in was laid with African rugs and small benches and three tables where a beautiful African woman did energy work on one and on the other was reserved for me. In the corner was a band of one or two playing cool meditative music and against the wall a large display of essential oil. The room wafted with aroma. I read cards and made some money, my first paying gig in LA.
In the end after it was over, someone came with a candle and wine wanting to make Havdala—a separating ceremony between the Shabot and the six days of the week. I was surprised how many people there were Jewish. They asked me to say the prayer and I did, happily. What a nice bunch of young people, eager to learn about the Cabala and listen to my stories. God has certainly blessed me in my travels. I am going back today for more. After years of solitude and disappointment, at the ripe old age of 73, I am suddenly alive.
Yaakov, the third of the Three Fathers, had difficulty throughout his life, but in the end he went down into the world and there he lived for 17 years; 17 is the gematria of the word Tov/Good. The rabbis teach, If the end is good, that makes the whole thing good. The older we get, the more precious is time; each day more profound than one before because life is winding down and conclusion is being sounded. Some go out with a bang and some go out with a whimper, I hope to go out with joy.