Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Where Moshe is reminded that Hashem's ways are not our ways...

This morning I discovered that I have 15,001 emails in my Yahoo inbox (that's almost 8 years' worth, for those who want to know), so I've taken it upon myself to delete at least 1,000 a day. Starting with the earliest, which I am deleting en masse, I've paused occasionally to read the odd email with an interesting subject line, or from a guy I later became involved with. As I read one from said gentleman and deleted it, another one from a cataloguing friend popped up to take its place: that became my current status. I saved that one. Then another - this one. As Prince of Egypt came into my consciousness yesterday (I posted Ashira L'Adonai on my facebook wall), I couldn't help but note the synchronicity. Another part of this synchronicity was that I happened to be listening to Chris de Burgh's One world yesterday, and the second verse begins:

I believe there is a God: but it doesn't mean that my God is greater than yours - it only means we all have the right to believe, 'cos nobody knows it for sure, for sure...

And as Archbishop Bloom points out in this story, not even he who met Hashem in the burning bush can define who G-d must be to the rest of us:

One day Moshe finds a shepherd in the desert. He spends the day with him and helps him milk his ewes, and at the end of the day he sees that the shepherd puts the best milk he has in a wooden bowl, which he places on a flat stone some distance away. So Moshe asks him what it is for, and the shepherd replies, "This is God's milk."

Moshe is puzzled and asks him what he means.

The shepherd says "I always take the best milk I possess and I bring it as an offering to God."

Moshe asks "And does God drink it?"

"Yes,” replies the shepherd, "he does."

Then Moshe feels compelled to enlighten the poor shepherd and he explains that God, being pure spirit, does not drink milk. Yet the shepherd is sure that He does and so they have a short argument, which ends with Moshe telling the shepherd to hide behind the bushes to find out whether in fact God does come to drink the milk.

Moshe then goes out to pray in the desert. The shepherd hides, the night comes, and in the moonlight the shepherd sees a little fox that comes trotting from the desert, looks right, looks left, and heads straight towards the milk, which he laps up, and disappears into the desert again. The next morning Moshe finds the shepherd quite depressed and downcast. "What's the matter," he asks.

The shepherd says "You were right. God is pure spirit and He doesn't want my milk."

Moshe is surprised and says "You should be happy. You know more about God than you did before."

"Yes, I do", replies the shepherd, "but the only thing I could give Him has been taken away from me."

Moshe sees the point. He retires into the desert and prays hard. In the night in a vsion, God speaks to him and says "Moshe, you were wrong. It is true that I am pure spirit. Nevertheless, I always accepted with gratitude the milk which the shepherd offered me, as the expression of his love: but since, being pure spirit, I do not need the milk, I shared it with this little fox, who is very fond of milk."

It reminds us that I AM THAT I AM, who is All that Is, lives in relationship with every part of creation - from the galaxies to the tiniest single cell - and that requires an infinite number of presentations to be in relationship: one for Moshe, one for the shepherd, and one for every being He is in relationship with, meeting them where they are.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, my twin! (As always!) And I agree that the divine (by whatever name we call him/her) meets each of us where we are. The problem is that we then try to impose that on others who are not at the same place rather than allowing each of us to develop a relationship in the way that is most profitable for us where we are at the moment. It's tragic, really.

Cloister said...

I like this story. I had never heard it before and it is beautiful.

How do you feel about deleting emails? I am very bad at it. I delete receipts and boring things and communication from the ex, naturally - but after that, I like to keep personal notes. When I am organized I sometimes print and file them - like I would a letter. Not often though.

Great post

Ariel said...

I love this story. No two people see a certain thing in the same way, be it a work of art, an event, another person, whatever. Almost nothing is ever truly objective when you're dealing with human beings; everything we see is coloured by the experiences we've had. Of course none of us perceives less tangible things, like God, or the universe, or reality itself, in exactly the same light. How could we possibly?

There really ought to be more people in the world like you.