Blog: Spirit Speaks
by Liora Leah

Jewish Shamanism/humor

A humorous rewording of the Ten Commandments by Rabbi Gershon Winkler, who practices an interesting form of indigenous Jewish shamanism.

Date:   5/16/2006 3:28:52 PM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 2498 times

I first heard about Rabbi Winkler about four years ago, and read his book, "Magic of the Ordinary, Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism"; I found it rather esoteric at the time, but will be re-reading it again. I had the opportunity to meet him at a workshop in Southern California last year. He is quite a character and has a very unique sense of humor. I really like that he has found the indigenous spirit of Judaism that existed before all of the patriarchal b.s. came forth that predominates the religion to this day. He explains that what seems at first to be nonsensical ritual (as described in the Torah), that took place in the Biblical times of the Jewish Priests when the Hebrews were still wandering around in the desert after leaving slavery in Egypt and later when the Jews worshipped at the Temple in Jersualem, was really rooted in Jewish shamanic practice that has gotten quite lost in today's modern, dry, boring and intellectual Judaism (at least in the Reform Judaism I was raised in!). Rabbi Winkler practices an interesting blend of shamanism and Jewish mysticism, two orientations that would at first glance seem to be incompatible. He is very unique in this; I don't know of any other Rabbis that do this. To find out more about Rabbi Winkler, Jewish Shamanism, and a schedule of workshops around the country, see his website at WalkingStick Foundation: http://walkingstick.org/

************************
The Ten Puzzling Commandments by Gershon Winkler

How would you feel if one day God finally spoke to you, and had
nothing of any real significance or wisdom to impart? What if all
God had in mind during that once-in-a-lifetime revelation to you
went something like:

"I am God who saved your ass last Monday when you almost had that
accident. Don't draw pictures of me. Don't mention my name in
your trivial conversations, they are boring and I want no part of
them. Every Tuesday I would like it if you didn't eat herring.
And don't give your mom and dad any more hype. Also, don't go
around murdering people. And don't deceive your friend by
sleeping with your friend's partner, and I don't mean business
partner. And don't go around holding up convenient stores. And
don't fall asleep during jury duty. And don't go shopping at
Tiffany's just because your neighbor does."

Can you imagine? If God were to choose to speak to you, you'd
want to hear the deepest of mysteries, answers to all your
questions about the meaning of life, about what happens after
it's all over, about why there is suffering and evil in the
world, and so on. You wouldn't want some humdrum revelation about
stuff you already know. So what was the big to-do about the Ten
Commandments coming down on Mount Sinai? They are really boring,
unoriginal, and superfluous. At least in the way we are used to
reading them in the English.

So I would like to propose a different version of what occurred
at Mount Sinai some 3300 years ago as the festival commemorating
that event - Shavu'ot - approaches, a version based more on the
actual Hebrew and the oral traditions that enwombed and conceived
these beatitudes to begin with...

"Hello. I am God. Your personal God. The one who pulled off all
those wild stunts back in Egypt to get you out of the house of
bondage. Your God. Personal. I didn't do this as an act on behalf
of the masses. I am not into numbers. I did it for you. Yes, you;
why are you turning around to see if I am addressing anyone else?
I am addressing you, the individual. So please don't treat me
like some impersonal deity, reducing me to a particular image or
sculpture; to something that is replicable. And when you mention
me, don't mention me as a second thought; what am I, chopped
liver? And take some time now and then to step off the dizzying
merry-go-round of your life spin and think of me, and of the
other creatures with whom you share this planet, this life. And
don't forget your mom and dad who brought you here, and expended
so much of their time and energy to raise you. I know you're
unhappy about the world situation, hunger, genocide, war,
invasions, corruption, lies, greed. I know. They all come about
when you sever yourself from all that I just implied, from
respect for the individual right of each of us to be in this
existence, each with our own unique identity and own unique sense
of worth. With that kind of consciousness, you won't murder each
other, or abuse each other sexually, or steal from one another,
or accuse one another falsely, or obsess with achieving what
others have. You will instead honor your own special place in the
world and that of your fellow's. Remember by all this that there
is no one like you, never was, and never ever will be again. You
are indeed very extraordinary, unfathomable, infinite,
unknowable, un-peg-able, un-define-able. And so is that person
standing next to you. And so is your pet ox. And so am I.
Good-bye for now."


About Walking Stick Foundation: Walking Stick Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of aboriginal Jewish spirituality, occasionally sharing events with teachers indigenous to Native American and other earth-honoring traditions: http://walkingstick.org/




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