Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ein Sof - The Repair of the World

Ein Sof [There is no place that is not God]

The Repair of the World

A Kabbalistic Creation Story

In the beginning
before there were any beginnings or endings,
there was no place that was not already God.
We call this unimaginable openness: Ein Sof,
Being without end, world without end, Ein Sof.

Then came the urge to give life to our world and us.
But there was no place that was not already God.
So Ein Sof breathed in to make room
like a father steps back so his child will walk to him.
We call this withdrawing Tzim Tzum.

Into the emptiness Ein Sof set vessels and
began to fill them with divine light,
like a mother places bowls
in which to pour her delicious soup.
We call these bowls Kaleem.

As the light poured forth, a perfect world was being created.
Think of it, a world without greed and cruelty and violence.
But then something happened.
The Kaleem shattered.
No one knows why.
Perhaps the bowls were too frail,
perhaps the light too intense,
perhaps Ein Sof was learning.
After all, no one makes perfect the first time.

With the shattering of the bowls,
the divine sparks flew everywhere.
Some rushing back to Ein Sof,
some falling, falling, trapped in the broken shards,
to become our world and us.

Though this is hard to believe,
the perfect world is all around us,
but broken into jagged pieces,
like a puzzle thrown to the floor,
the picture lost, each piece without meaning,
until someone puts them back together again.

We are that someone.
There is no one else.
We are the ones who can find the broken pieces,
remember how they fit together,
and rejoin them.
And we call this repair of the world
Tikkun Olam.

In every moment with every act,
we can heal our world and us.
We are all holy sparks, dulled by separation.
But when we meet and talk and eat and make love,
when we work and play and disagree
with holiness in our eyes,
seeing Ein Sof everywhere,
our brokenness will end.

Then our bowls will be strong enough to hold the light,
and our light gentle enough to fill the bowls.
As we repair the world together,
we will learn that there is no place
that is not

(Naomi Newman, 1994)


Shakura Cathryn
“Every person: God.
Every animal, every plant: God.
Everything: God, God!
The slightest contact is worship.”
~Ivan M. Granger

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