essays kaddish in two-part harmony tzaddik stories

this is going to end badly, she said

Malkah woke up, and she was healed of her despair. Her body felt light, like it could just float up into the ether — except for the fact that she already resided there to begin with. Her spirit was lighter too for a change. It was an indescribable feeling. She had even slept. Slept like a newborn babe in arms. Slept like she was cradled in the arms of God.

She was in love.

God himself had descended upon her and healed her. I mean, everybody knows this, right? What else could have happened?

The Almighty One saw her. Really saw her. He took it upon himself to enter her with Infinite Light and penetration of spirit. The Angel Gabriel himself attended, blowing his trumpet. I’m actually not sure about this last part, but that’s what they say. What do I know from angels?

The point is, that Malkah was healed.

She decided to leave her place of occultation and descend into the realms of the living once more. She had been in exile so long in her despair over the actions of the humans below. The Earth had been rended by the warfare and bigotry, by ignorance and hatred one against the other. The Lord had brought down upon the Earth his own catastrophic wake-up call to humanity, to no avail. They had glanced up, joined hands briefly, and then had returned for their weapons lest someone else amass them while they were busy helping out during a tsunami or two.

Wake up!” the Lord had said. “See this disaster? May it teach you to be cooperative, one brother with the other.” The Almighty had been reading Kropotkin again.

And the Shekhinah just left the world. Again. She couldn’t take it.

Humans had tried to coax her back with ritual. Especially the Sabbath. Do the ritual correctly, and she would descend (however briefly) into the hearts of men, and they’d feel the awesome force of the beauty of Creation.

And then, they’d start bickering over the remote. Over a perceived maldistribution of goods. Over territory. “This land is my land —” they would shout, like it was a good and righteous thing to do. And she’d be sick of it again, and depart. She could hardly wait for Havdalah to get herself out of here.

But now. Now was different. She was (quite literally) floating on clouds. Peaceful, if not happy. What did she know from happiness? It wasn’t her department. But she felt the buoyancy of possibility, and it felt good.

“This is going to end badly,” she said.

Of this she was quite sure. ‘Love‘ always ended badly. Always ended in loss, for there was Death eagerly waiting. The death of one led to the anguish of the other. The illness of one did the same. The hurtful feelings, hurtful words. Abandonment. Betrayal. Moving on. The higher the resonance, the harder the fall when it was gone. These were the invisible little parasites that inhabited the soft, delicious pelt of love. It was a force of nature. Part of the Law of Gravity itself. Grave, indeed.

But there it was. That dreaded love.  She was infected.

She tested it out. Tentatively seeking out the tendrils of her being. Nope. She still felt euphoric. She felt so good, she could barely contain herself. Sparks of Divine Light, endorphins of the Almighty himself, emanated from the pores of her existence.  There was sunshine on the land below.

A great pessimism descended upon her, but it couldn’t quite penetrate the armor of her joyous state.

And then, out of nowhere, a vision.

The tzaddik came to her and spoke. His presence made her shake and cry. She was overwhelmed. Not even the Almighty Himself had this effect on her, so powerful was his sight.

You must love,” he said. “You must love whom you will.”

You must trust,” he said. “You must trust — not that it will be alright — no. Not that. But that it will be worth the cost, no matter what you pay. You do not bargain with this one, child. Love is worth the price. Rather that, than go without.

And in that moment, the Shekhinah knew love, and named it thus. Tears flooded down her face, and rain poured down upon the land below.

She turned, and walked upon her way.

She was not, after all, ready to descend to the planet below.

By mira

Mira Z. Amiras is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies and founder of the Middle East Studies Program at San Jose State University. She is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and has served on the Executive Council of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-founder, with Ovid Jacob, of Beit Malkhut, a study group in Jewish sacred text. She's most attached to the creatures of her body and her household — first and foremost, her kids, of course: Michael and Rayna — and then the other folks large and small of various species, including Roshi and Vlad, a whole lot of hummingbirds, the old parrot who lives next door, and a beautiful garden that does what it will.

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