Sunday, March 16, 2014

We're All Mad Here

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.

Some say it is intelligence that can discern what is Truth...Others know the opposite to be the case...

Fair is foul, and foul is fair...
                   --Shakespeare, Macbeth

A person is obligated to get drunk on Purim until he does not know the difference between "cursed be Haman" and "blessed be Mordechai."
                     --Talmud, Megillah

But how does one Truly get drunk?

The body is the bodhi tree,
The mind is like a clear mirror standing.
Take care to wipe it all the time,
Allow no grain of dust to cling to it.

                      --Shen Hsiu

The Bodhi is not like a tree,
The clear mirror is nowhere standing.
Fundamentally not one thing exists:
Where then is a grain of dust to cling?

                      --Hui Neng

There is a well-known story about the students of the Baal Shem Tov who knew of their teacher’s love for light and its increase, but couldn’t find any candles.  The Baal Shem Tov came in and noticed that there was a lack of candles on a particular black, cold, and frozen night. 
He said, "Ohr (light) has the same gematria (numerical value) as raz (secret). One who knows the secret of G-d's Unity has the light that can illuminate everything…" and he scolded the students for not bringing more candles. 
The students apologized and said that they weren’t able to find any candles. The Baal Shem Tov commanded them to bring down the icicles from the roof and to light them. Thus, they lit the candles of ice which shone with a brilliant light. 

"But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."

"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here".

               --Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews.

              --Esther 8:1

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