Thursday, 31 January 2013

shabbat 118: A Story by Sam

This draw yomi chavrutah/other voice is from Samuel Lebens. Sam studies at Yeshivat Har Etzion, holds a PhD in metaphysics and logic from the University of London, and is the chair of the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism. He is also a contributor for Ha'artez, see here for his blogs.

this piece is a response to my response to shabbat 118. where there are many statements about and by R. Yosei on this page. He referred to his wife as 'my house', he never retracted anything he said about anyone. The walls of his house never saw him naked. And there is a question about whether or not he fulfilled his sexual obligations to his wife.

A poem by E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                                      i fear 
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A Story by Sam

Once upon a time there was a city full of houses. Each and every house was occupied by a different man; the master of the house – although some men had more than one. And houses were bought, and houses were sold. They were valued for the comfort they could afford to their masters who were searching for domestic bliss. But all of these men were alone. There was a sense in which they could never feel at home. Their houses were beautiful, comfortable and clean. But as the long winter evenings drew in, these men, in this city full of houses, were alone; profoundly alone.

The houses were less than homely; valued merely for their utility; their convenience; their proximity to the centre of town; to the train station. After a long day at work, these men would come home to a home that wasn’t their home. Each and every one of them felt awkward. Awkward in their own homes. They never got naked; never got naked in their own homes – unless, of course they had some bodily need – they needed a shower – and these houses had wonderful showers; they were valued for it; this was a city of en-suite bathrooms galore (The walls of Rabi Yosei’s house never saw him uncover his modesty).

But one day, as if all of a sudden, though it had probably been building up for years, the houses got fed up. We are not objects to be bought and sold. We are not commodities. You treat us no differently to your cars and your computers. You supress the image of God that our architect on high instilled in us.

And God realised that it wasn’t good for man to be alone, so he woke him up from his unforgivable slumber, and blinking into the sunlight, man realised that his house was a woman – a human being just like him.

But now the city of houses had transformed into a city of men and women, and people realised that they had no homes. So Adam promised to be a home to Eve. And Eve promised to be a home to Adam. And these two homes would live inside one another.

I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. Whenever I’m away from you, I’m homesick. And whenever you enter a room, that room becomes my home. You have rooms that comfort me, and panoramic windows that offer me views that take my breath away. And I, in turn, will endeavour to be your home. And both of us will make our home in God, who promised us that one day, He will stop being the master of this house, and instead, He will be our lover.

“And it shall be on that day, said the LORD, that you will call me ishi (literally, my man), and will call me no more my master/husband.” (Hosea 2:18).

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