This section updates So Sweet as Honey with new texts or references for further study.
Since one of the purposes of life is to continue learning throughout our entire lifetime, new insights and understandings keep presenting themselves. A book as So Sweet as Honey is never really finished. You will find under this section Updates new insights. Some may come from the author and others may be from readers. Feel free to contribute. Use the contact page of this website.
Looking closer at the Hebrew words for man and woman, ish veisha, we find that each contain the letters Aleph and Shin, which together form esh, the Hebrew word for fire. Is it not true that our first moments of attraction to our partner is based on a spark that travels back and forth between us? A spark of fire and passion. Yet for a relationship to last longer than the first moments of passions and fire luckily two more letters are including in the Hebrew words for man and woman, ish veisha. Man, ish, has a Yod, the smallest letter representing the Eternal and Divine between its Aleph and Shin. Woman, isha, has a Hay, the letter of the soft breath and compassion found in the names of the Eternal following its Aleph and Shin. Thanks to these two additional letters Yod and Hay, relationships between man and woman, ish veisha, are sustainable. Flames of fire and passions, though important to be kept alive and with us our whole lives, fluctuate in their intensity. Compassion, the soft breath and our shared link to the divine in the Hebrew letters, Yod and Hay, are our steadfast, spiritually helping our relationship to grow and mature to its greatest possible depths.
There is a saying, “what is in a name?” Everything. Our name is tied to our personal destiny and purpose here on earth. Rabbi Zusya told the famous story of one Moshe who departed from this mortal life and was waiting at the gates of heaven. The whole day names were being called but not this Moshe’s. Moshe started to doubt himself,” maybe I did not carry out enough good deeds in my lifetime? Have I been forgotten?” Or the modern version: “Is my file lost? Has their hard disk crashed?”Yet it was not a question of Moshe’s deeds or being forgotten. If anything he had forgotten to be himself. Moshe was always trying to be like his brothers, neighbors, friends . . . and not the Moshe he was supposed to be in this lifetime. Names had been called the whole day of persons Moshe had tried to be and thus not his own name.
A name is said furthermore to proceed us. We are known for what we make of our name. The greatest honor is one’s name. One of the wisest and greatest souls of Judaism was the Baal Shem Tov, the master, keeper of the good name. The Baal Shem Tov truly lived according to his name. A name that brings blessing and elevates all persons who remember the Baal Shem Tov’s life, teachings and stories. A name of honor that lives on.
In the Hebrew letter chapter Ayin I spoke of our inner compass, our conscience, Matzpoon in modern Hebrew. Shortly after submitting the final manuscript of So Sweet as Honey to Ten Have Publishing Company, I discovered Rabbi Harold Schulweis’ award winning book, Conscience, The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey. The first part of this book provides a scholarly overview of the development of conscience in the Bible and the Rabbinic period. For some readers perhaps encouragement is needed to get through this first part, nevertheless this book gives a very inspiring view how we need to develop our conscience. The second part is quite challenging providing historical references how the community of good works, documentation of scientific research and practical "conscience stimulation advice". All in all, Rabbi Schulweis has written a monumental work which surely supplements fully my reference to our inner compass.
For Further Study:
Rabbi Harold Shulweis - 2008 - Jewish Lights Publishing
Conscience - The Duty To Obey And The Duty To Disobey
Lastly a relatively recent well known word beginning with Kof is Kabala. For many years referred to as the esoteric mystical teachings of Judaism only meant to be studied by married persons above forty years of age, Kabala simply means to receive. The Kabala provides us with explanations of how the world and human life were created and helps us to understand the ten emanations we need to incorporate in our lives. The Sefirot, emanations are tools to bring holiness into our lives as Exodus 19:6’s call for the creation of a ‘Holy People”. The question remains do we truly receive these teachings and wisdom and incorporate their lessons in our lives? Similar to Martin Buber’s quotation of the Baal Shem Tov in the first chapter of the Hebrew letter Aleph we need continually to ask ourselves are we truly awake and open to every person, event, teaching . . . crossing our path? Can we truly receive? And thus we return to Kadosh. Here too we need to be able to receive and stand open in awe to be able to fathom the endless list of Kadosh, holiness in our lives. Kabala can teach us how to receive, understand, act and help make Kadosh part of our daily lives.