mercredi 26 septembre 2012
COMPASSION IS SPIRITUALITY
Compassion is a path to spirituality whereas being religious may not be, when ideologies may serve various masters, and not necessarily other human beings.
To serve Fellow human beings is superior to praying for one self, this applies to followers of all religions.
I had planned to arrive at my abode in Paris, just in time to observe Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Celebration is a wrong concept when it comes to this holiest day in the Jewish calendar since it is a day of looking inside, atoning for ones behaviour with a hope of becoming aware of ourselves and our relationships with others.
On the Eurostar from London, I was imagining how this evening and tomorrow would be. I had planned to fast as is the custom.
Something happened to derail (pardon the context) my plans.
As I arrived at the gates, an older algerienne lady came out with her fingers wrapped up with signs of bleeding. She had cut her finger with a shard and had been bleeding since it had happened few hours earlier. She is an immigrant, is illiterate and is very afraid of the French institutions.
The nearest hospital Emergency Room (Casualty Dept.) is only a few kilometres away yet she was reluctant to go. Gentle persuasion and bundled her into a taxi and reached the crowded waiting room.
Someone or other is chanting Kol Nidrei. Last year after a lovely dinner at Soyka in Miami, I listened the beautiful voice of the Chazan at Temple Israel in the company of my dear friends Mark and Greta and company. Other places, other countries, but the same song. Malmo, Sweden; Melbourne, Australia, Kingston, Jamaica, so many Beth Midrashim. Ashkenazy. Sephardi. Oriental as in Cochin.
As if someone was mysteriously assisting us, the old lady was attended to pretty soon, given a surgeon’s appointment for the next morning, given antibiotics and discharged. By the time we were reunited at the house, it was well past 11 pm.
This is France, no shortage of a good bottle of wine. But Food at this hour? What about the fast?
I thought of Ian Berger, at whose house in Corpus Christi I had arrived on the day of one Yom Kippur, after some voluntary work at a remote location.
There is no guilt about not having fasted, not having listened to Kol Nidrei, not having lit the candle at the hour of the appearance of the stars.
In context (merci beaucoup, Meurice Merleau-Ponty), I have a great sensation, elation. Doing something for another human being is what I have learned by being a good Jew, not a religious one, but definitely very strongly attached to the culture and history of my people.
Yom Kippur couldn't have begun any other better way!
This morning, this lovely photo of my Omaha family arrives.
Thanks very much.
I have had a delightful day. Immense pleasures and great satisfaction
It is good to sacrifice oneself for the welfare of others, while being centred on the present state of who you are. And enjoying each moment, being there and being present…and conscious of being present.
At the age of 3, slightly older than the little Indian girl pictured above, I was taken to a dwelling of a learned man: he wrote a letter on the chalkboard and then exhorted me to repeat after him. And after each word or sound, he would hand me something sweet, and say
May all your learning be as sweet as this?
May all the coming days of the year 5773 be filled of this content, delightful feeling, sweet as the special honey the Cochin Jews horde for the New Year.
L’Shanah Tovah Tikkatevu
To my mischpochim all over the world.
and welcome all of you, L shanah Habaah B Bruselas..