Kabbalah Kronicles 32- Journey to the Center of Kabbalah with Picklepuss
Sunday, November 13, 2011 By stuv
Kabbalah Kronicles 32 – Journey to the Center of Kabbalah with Picklepuss
Uncle Zally / Zalman Velvel
At the end of a private class with the Rabbi, I asked, “What is the practical use of Kabbalah?”
He looked at me like I was nuts. Then he said:
“Are you crazy, Zalman. Kabbalah makes you peaceful and happy.”
“Really. Then why don’t you do a class on that?”
Rabbi said he would. Then it was forgotten.
I didn’t forget. This morning, before class, I asked him to explain to everyone how Kabbalah can make them peaceful and happy. He obliged, even though he planned a class on something else.
“First,” Rabbi explained. “In order to be peaceful, you must feel centered. Spiritual centering is similar to physical centering – if your body is out of kilter, unbalanced, like if your back is out, or your hip, or your knee, you will be in physical distress, and not peaceful.”
He continued, “So it goes with spiritual centering. Kabbalah says we contain seven basic emotions, and if any of those emotions are out of balance, we will be in emotional distress, and not peaceful.”
This discussion was about to be tested by reality. A woman walked in, whom we shall now call Picklepuss, who has gone out of her way to ruin Kabbalah klass for me. Whenever anyone interrupts the Rabbi with a question, so they can better understand the more complicated topics, she gets annoyed. I ask a lot of questions, so she centers her annoyance on me.
I also make a lot of jokes, which everyone seems to enjoy … except her. If you look up “eyes like daggers” in the dictionary, there is her picture.
Since college, other students in my classes have thanked me for interrupting teachers and asking questions. Many times they said they were wondering the same thing. Other times, they said it gave them courage to ask questions of their own. Either way, classes became energized, and the learning was enhanced.
Lest you think me a big hypocrite (well, of course I am a little hypocrite, but please don’t think me as big a hypocrite as my wife does, because she has forty years of evidence, and can name dates and places) when I teach, and I have taught over 5,000 people in three day seminars, I encourage questions. I especially enjoy questions that make us look at something in a new way. I also allow interruptions, as long as they are funny. Isn’t it better to have a lively class, punctuated by laughter?
Well, if Picklepuss had been on time and knew that the Rabbi intended to give a class on something else, and I asked him to explain how Kabbalah can make you peaceful and happy, she would have had something really nasty to say. She didn’t know. So far so good.
“So how do you remain centered when your emotions are being pulled this way and that way by life’s surprises, especially the negative ones?” someone asked.
Okay I asked it. I gave an example. We assumed the Rabbi had a full week planned, and on Monday morning, first thing, a code enforcement officer knocked on the door, and slapped a Stop-Work Order violation on the new building he was constructing out back. Further, if he didn’t attend to the problem right away, the county was threatening huge fines, and demolition.
The Rabbi answered that the right response according to Kabbalah was set aside his schedule, along with any emotions, remain centered, and calmly solve the problem, just consider it another task to be completed.
Sorry, that was too pat an answer for me. I wanted to turn up the flame a little, and make the problem more personal … something like being constantly disparaged and having a great class on Kabbalah ruined by Picklepuss … but changing the names to protect the nasty.
The Rabbi continued now with the lesson he originally planned, about how Abraham negotiated with God to save the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham he was going to destroy the two cities because their sins had become so grave.
Abraham arranged for God not to destroy the cities if there were 50 righteous men among the wicked. Then he negotiated with God to lower it to 45, then 40, then 30 then 20, then 10.
In a speech I wrote for a Chabad dinner, I said this was the first instance of “Jewing someone down.”
That’s a good joke, and even Jews laugh at it.
However, the woman who planned the dinner wanted to force me remove it, because she also had a Picklepuss gene. I took it out, in the interest of peace … but it killed me to waste a good joke. As you know, there are a billion and a half Chinese in bad need of a laugh.
Getting back to our story, Rabbi Itchy said Sodom and Gomorrah was the first example of God coming to man before he made a decision. Can you imagine it? The Master of the Universe wants our opinion!
This shows that when you come to God, as Abraham did when he was called, then God also comes to you. This was something I already discussed in Kabbalah Kronicles – number 20 – Mr. Know It All. Click here for it http://zalmanvelvel.com/2011/08/20/kabbalah-kron-20/
I patiently waited 45 minutes for the Rabbi to finish his original lesson so Picklepuss would not be upset. Then, at the very end, I asked Rabbi to return to the beginning topic, how Kaballah can make you peaceful and happy, because I had another question.
Picklepuss took this time to made another nasty comment, and I made a nasty comment back, not being able to take it anymore after months of her picklepussing. (The reason I arranged personal lessons with the Rabbi was because of her.) My comment was something like, “Yes, I still have a question … for those of us who are not afraid to think.”
My comeback did not make me feel better. In fact, my spirituality was out of kilter and unbalanced for the rest of the day, until sundown, when I wrote this. Now I feel much much better. I obviously need to study Kabballah more so I can be more “centered” and “peaceful.”
I also vowed not to let Picklepuss ruin the fun in the class anymore … especially the comedy, because we all need a good laugh now and then … and laughter is healing … when our Knowledge of Kabbalah is lacking.
And remember, the air in Fort Myers makes you funnier. I invite you 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 I may even get funny.
And maybe we can get Picklepuss to lighten up and laugh a little.
Filed under Thought For A Day · Tagged