Monday, April 15, 2013

Ordinary Mystic #13: Conclusion

Chapter Eleven: Conclusion

When I first shared my interest in the Nazirite Vow with some of my colleagues the response was less than enthusiastic. Some of them worried that I was providing Jews with a way to opt out of more traditional Jewish observance. Others felt I was stretching the Nazirite tradition beyond the breaking point. Still others thought I was just fiddling while Rome burned: people are too lazy even to bother with my revisioned Nazirite Vow.

I am used to criticism, though I never like receiving it. Yet I was surprised that no rabbinic friends thought this was as brilliant an idea I did. But then again, it was my idea. So I am unsure as to how you received the challenge of the Nazirite Vow yourself.

I wrote this book for those who are too busy to go on retreat, and too tied to work, school, and/or family to free themselves from their communal obligations. I thought, and still think, that the Nazirite Vow is a way to engage everyday life as an ordinary mystic. And it is more ordinary mystics that the world so desperately needs.

An ordinary mystic is a person who sees the relative world of mochin d’katnut as a place to live out the seven qualities of holiness experienced by mochin d’gadlut.
 An ordinary mystic is a person whose ties to religion may be strong or weak, but whose yearning for God is powerful and compelling.

An ordinary mystic is a person who may or may not have time for disciplined spiritual practice, but who can shape a period of time around the ideals symbolized by the slogan “no bars, no barbers, no morgues.”

An ordinary mystic is a person who longs to see self and other as reflections of the One. I am an ordinary mystic. I trust that you are as well. I find I the Nazirite Vow keys to living out both our ordinariness and our mysticism. I hope that you find this to be true as well.

My prayer is that you continue to experiment with the Nazirite Vow, shaping it to suit your own character and situation, and allowing it to shape you in accord with the seven qualities of holiness.

May your life we full of wonder and free of unnecessary drama. May you listen to both Yetzer haRah and Yetzer haTov without getting caught up in either. May you honor both the narrow and the spacious in you, and come to them both as manifestations of God.


rbarenblat said...

I've really enjoyed this material. I like the way you're interpreting the substance of the traditional nazirite vow, and I recognize in myself places of resistance to these teachings (which mean that I probably need to try them on for a while -- that resistance is usually a sign that I'm avoiding something I should be working on.)

Kol hakavod.

Raksha said...

Re " is more ordinary mystics that the world so desperately needs."

I couldn't agree more! I've enjoyed this series and think I've learned a lot from it. I know it's a forthcoming book and will probably buy it when it comes out, just to have all the insight and information in one place.