Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Kabbalah Kronicles 31 – Friends in Low Places

Sunday, November 6, 2011 By   ·0

Kabbalah Kronicles 31 – Friends in Low Places
Uncle Zally / Zalman Velvel
Zalman Velvel the Funny Jewish WriterToday’s Kabbalah Klass started out in Lower Kabbalah Land, somewhere south of Heaven, and north of Lazazel (the Hebrew word for Hell, where the scapegoat fell off the mountain.)
Halfway through klass, I was sure there was nothing realistic or useful in all of Kabbalah Land. Then the magic happened, as it often does in Kabbalah, and it became intensely personal, and inspirational. Grasshopper, if you are patient, I promise will explain.
First, Rabbi Itchy explained life’s mission statement – bring yourself closer to God.
Okay, sounds good so far. But how do you do this?
To bring yourself closer to God, you must improve the person you are, in terms of character, and perform deeds a person of fine character does.
For the character part, you can turn to the Bible. There are 613 prescriptions from the Pharmacist in Heaven about this.
abaraham the patriarchFor the deeds part, Rabbi Itchy used Abraham as the example. If you are not familiar with Abraham, he is the patriarch in the Bible whose children are responsible for the three great religions in the world – Christian, Moslem, and Jewish.
Abraham was the second man after Adam, to recognize there is One God.  He was preceded by Noah, a righteous man, who walked alone in his generation, so that God drowned out all others and started again with Noah’s family.
Ten generations after Noah, the world was once again filled with evil.  Abraham, another man solely righteous in his generation, called out to God. God answered, not by inviting him up to Heaven with Him, or drowning out all life around Abraham, but by sending Abraham out into a hostile Lower World, away from his comfortable home. He put Abraham through ten tests, among them, a king kidnapped Sarah, his wife, a group of kings waged war on him, and the Akayada, the sacrifice of his son, Isaac.
Through all this, Abraham remained a righteous man, attracting followers to the One Living God. Rabbi Itchy said this demonstrated that the deeds God is concerned with as proof of your improving character have to do with improving the world around you, by going into the Low Places. He has enough angels in Heaven. He wants more down here.
Abraham our patriarch and the starsHow did this become intensely personal? Lately I have been irritable because of some of the Low Places I have been forced to go to in my business. When times get tough economically, as they now are, and you invest in affordable housing, and mobile homes specifically, as we do, sometimes I see a side of people only slightly above what police, prison guards, and parole officers see – the human being at his or her most animal, tested to the marrow, mostly failing, but sometimes climbing to inspiring heights.
While this is happening, I wrote a new stage comedy with David Sayh, my writing partner and his wife, Sally. Why was I irritable? Because  I have to steal 3 – 4 hours at night, after working 12 hours in our business, in order to accomplish what I am also passionate about, writing. There are times when words are a ladder to Heaven, and I want to stay on that ladder.  
After seeing that our patriarch Abraham had the same yearning, to climb the heights to Heaven, but instead was forced into the Lower World, I had a new appreciation. Maybe I can do some good here, also. I'm no Abraham, but I can be more of a Zalman Velvel. And maybe there will be a payoff – great material for a sitcom about a mobile home park we’re working on next. Adversity and comedy go hand in hand, you know.
By the way, “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks has been playing in the background while I was writing this blog.
Next week, we will discuss how you can improve your character, how you can harness the power of your feelings, under the direction of your intellect, to improve yourself.
Rabbi Itchy left us with a question – is the change from the inside out, with your intellect guiding your feelings into transforming yourself into a better person, or does the world force changes from the outside, inward?
While you are thinking of the answer, remember, the air in Fort Myers, while it won't make your smarter, it will make you funnier. I invite you all to come on down when it’s snowing, and warm up by the fire of Kabbalah. Stop in at Chabad of Fort Myers and take a Kabbalah Klass with Rabbi Itchy on Saturday morning, from 9 to 10.
Oh, and bring some Grey Goose or Chivas Regal with you.
We’ll all get spiritual, and we may even force a laugh or two from you.:)

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