Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Jew & A – mysticism (I think)

Filed under : Jew & A,Judaism
On May 5, 2008
At 4:30 pm
Comments :Comments Off on Jew & A – mysticism (I think)

So I’ve gotten several Jew & A questions over the last week, excellent! You see, I love it when people tell me what to write about, it works out much better. I hope to get to one per day this week. We’ll see. If you are waiting for yours, I am going in the order in which they were received. Yes, I learned that from the phone tree.

Now then, I wasn’t sure about this one. It could be 3 or 4 different questions based on where you put commas. Hmmm.

william(yeah not so jewish) writes:

Adin Steinsaltz, the most enlightened man woman or beast on the planet, has a take on reincarnation, definitely a path for the tribe…what’s your take and when you’re running ….Who are you?

Ow, that broke my brain. I don’t really know much about Adin Steinsaltz, honestly. I know he is a famous Rabbi (still alive!) who translated the Talmud, which is the series of arguments about and commentaries on the Torah that form most of Jewish law, into English. I know this because that’s what I used on the side to get myself through Talmud class in High School. ZOMG, that made things so much easier. Come on, only Mel Gibson speaks Aramaic!

I gather he’s also somewhat into kabbalah and mysticism. Does he believe in reincarnation? I’ll take your word for that, William not so Jewish. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Is the question, what’s my take on reincarnation? On Adin Steinsaltz? On the path for the tribe? And is it, who am I when I’m running? Or, what’s my take when I’m running and by the way, who am I?

This is where my brain explodes.

I don’t know much about Kabbalah, as the world I grew up in didn’t emphasize it except to mention Yosef Caro and the Zohar for a couple of minutes. I do think Madonna/Esther and the folks who run that center in LA exploit it for their own ends. That doesn’t seem very mystical.

For those who are curious about the whole red-string part of Judaism, it’s about the mystical, hidden meanings in the Torah and other Jewish writings. It’s controversial with many Jews eschewing it completely and others going whole-hog. So to speak.

The point is, on this one, I can give you my opinion but I’m not really an expert.

For me personally, I don’t believe in reincarnation. I think each soul is utterly unique and there’s never been one like it before or since. And I don’t even believe in your loved ones looking down from Heaven. I don’t know if there’s an afterlife but tend to doubt it and I believe when you’re dead, you’re dead and that’s it. Is that the Jewish view? Not really, it’s a lot more “world to come” based. But you asked for my take.

If your question is, “who am I?” then the answer is in the FAQ but it just points you to the sidebar. As I’ve indicated lots of times over the course of the blog, I try to keep my private life out of the blog and the blog out of my private life. I’ve been semi-successful with that.

If it’s “Who am I” in the metaphysical sense, I dropped out of philosophy after two classes. You may have noticed, my brain is fragile and prone to confusion at difficult concepts.

If the question is, when I’m running who am I, then that is easy. When I’m running I am a jet engine which takes off with a flourish, has lots of turbulence but also some smooth sailing, and in the end, everyone’s just glad to be in one piece and at the destination.

By the way, I know several Jewish Williams. Thanks for writing!