A psalm of gratitude for walking by the water
Building bridges between Judaism and Islam

On revelation

It is here that these classics come to life. They are not dry texts; they speak to us. Each is the opening voice of a conversation which we are invited to join -- a voice that expects reply. So in India we say that the meaning of the scriptures is only complete when this call is answered in the lives of men and women like you and me. Only then do we see what the scriptures mean here and now. -- Eknath Easwaran, Essence of the Upanishads

Fe_2007_calivingtorah_002_pWhat then do we mean by revelation?  Whether we understand the tale of Sinai as a historic event or as a metaphor for the collective religious experience of Israel, we have to ask this question.  Revelation does not necessarily refer to the giving of a truth that we did not possess previously.  On the contrary, the primary meaning of revelation means that our eyes are now opened, we are able to see that which had been true all along but was hidden from us.  We see the same world that existed before the great religious experience, but now see it differently.  The truth that God underlies reality, and always has, now becomes completely apparent...

Revelation, like Creation, is an eternal process.  The real faith-question regarding revelation, like that of Creation, is not "Do you believe that it happened just that way, so many years ago?"  It is rather, "Are you present to revelation here and now?" Are our inner eyes open to hearing the eternal message that calls out to us in every moment of existence?  That message, the true essence of revelation, is Torah in its broadest sense, and its call may come through a great variety of channels.        -- Rabbi Arthur Green, Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow

God is speaking on all 360 degrees; the question is, how do we open ourselves to the broadcast?

If I could hear all of the vibrations in this room -- cell phones, broadband, wifi, radio waves, microwaves -- I'd hear a jumble. If I can tune in to a particular frequency, I might hear something I could understand. God broadcasts on all frequencies; we need to adjust our radios to attune to God.

To connect with God, to log on to God, we need only awareness, because God is there all the time, making your heart beat.

I believe in progressive revelation. A metaphor: my first computer had 36k of memory. And I could do a lot with that. But some things, I couldn't do! Every generation adds more bytes. What we couldn't do individually, we can do collectively.

If we can't remember the revelation at Sinai, we need to recreate the memory. It's like experiential karaoke! The tradition is the music, and we reenact and recreate the words of the song.     -- Reb Zalman (transcribed in 2004)

Happy Shavuot to all! May we each receive the revelation of Torah which we most need this year as our festival unfolds.