Friday, January 1, 2010
There are unanswered questions that connect me to the world. Where did the lost tribes of Israel go? When will they come home? When I hear Spanish spoken on the street, I wonder if the people speaking it might have been related to me generations ago back in Spain. Part of becoming old is learning to be patient with unanswered questions, to learn to dsavour the mystery even as one clamours for answers.
My mother never had to the best of her knowledge any Native American ancestry. She nevertheless believed that she had been a Native American in another incarnation. It was a belief that I never challenged, because it resonated with her. There were some monotheistic Native American nations that inhabited North America. Undoubtedly, the repalacement of some of their original faiths with Christianity makes the historical truth of the past difficult to know.
I found a Cherokee song,"Cherokee Morning" which resonates with me. The words give me a feeling of oneness of the world with the Creator. The lyrics, along with their English translation are as follows.
"We n' de ya ho, We n' de ya ho,
We n' de ya, We n' de ya Ho ho ho ho,
He ya ho, He ya ho, Ya ya ya
Translation - We n' de ya ho
"A we n'" (I am), "de" (of), "Yauh" --the-- (Great Spirit), "Ho" (it is so).
Written as: A we n' de Yauh ho (I am of the Great Spirit, Ho!)."
The song reminds me of a short prayer, a short declaration in Hebrew that comes from Koheles (Ecclesiastes) "Ayn Od Milvado", which translates as "There is nothing but Him". In a world that is filled with strife, imbalance and contention, it is a powerful focus of contemplation.
In my family, we very often play Scrabble on Shabbos night. I could never put my finger on it, but there is something profoundly spiritual about a Scrabble game on Shabbos. The game starts off with a clacking bag of tiles. As the game unfolds, a series of unconnected words covers the board. Eventually, all the tiles are used up. Even as people compete with each other, they score points from the words put down by an adversary. On a certain level, there is really no competition, the game is adversarial on the surface but ultimately the competition creates a united picture.
Scrabble played on Shabbos reminds me how we are dealt a bag of tiles in a manner of speaking. It is a jumble, a chaotic jumble full of unactualised potential. Our job is to take every piece of the physical creation that seems random and to tie it into a coherent and meaningful whole. We are given the board, the tiles, the rules ant the intelligence to piece it all together.
Ayn od milvado.
We n' de ya ho, We n' de ya ho.
There is a Oneness waiting for us to make it happen.
Shabbat Shalom folks.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JNbtCzrWpU Sphere: Related Content