...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, August 18, 2006

"You are Lisa Simpson."

Some wisdom from the Hasidic masters, as recorded in Back to the Sources: Reading the Classical Jewish Texts, edited by Barry W. Holtz:

"...We are here reminded of a famous quip attributed to Rabbi Zusya of Anipolye: 'When I reach the true world,' he said, 'they will not ask me why I wasn't Moses. They will ask me why I wasn't Zusya.'"

I like that a lot. We don't have to be Moses, or Jesus: we need to be ourselves, as God created us and intended for us to be and to become, and the rest will follow.

May we all cultivate and realize our true selves.

The other day when I checked my referral logs I found that someone had reached my blog by searching "Anipolye"--I'm one of about three results. I couldn't remember when I had possibly written anything about Anipolye, whatever that is (my guess is an Eastern European shtetl), so I re-searched and came across this post from spring 2005, back when I was taking Intro to Judaism. I was happy to reread it and to prayerfully reconsider what Rabbi Zusya is saying to us here.

There's a lot of profound wisdom in Hasidism. Since I'm not Jewish I can't appreciate it on the level of it coming from my own faith tradition, but reading about Hasidism and especially the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I'm always left in awe. Even if I were Jewish, I don't think I could be Hasidic. It's too conservative of a tradition, and I disagree with pretty much all of its treatment of gender. Still, there's something there that's deep and profound and very, very true.