Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mekimi Moments and Riding High

תהילים קי"ג ה-ח

מי כיהוה אלהינו
המגביהי לשבת
המשפילי לראות
בשמים ובארץ
מקימי מעפר דל
מאשפות ירים אביון
להושיבי עם נדיבים
עם נדיבי עמו

Tehillim/Psalms 113:5-8

Who is like YHVH, our God —
who rises on high to sit;
and sinks down low to observe
the heavens and the earth —
lifting up the poor from the dust,
raising the needy from garbage-heaps —
to seat them among the nobles,
the nobles of God's own people?!

These lines have been running through my head the past few weeks, in the musical version by Yosef Karduner linked to below. And so I started looking closer at the verses, and how they express their message.

There's a vertical axis at work here — not a temporal or geographical axis mundi around which space or time turn, like Shabbat or the Temple Mount — but a relationship axis of power in society. As Ribbí Yohhanan said, wherever you find God's power, you also find God's humility.

God rises on high... to sit down.

Not just to 'go up', 'stand up', or 'lift' — ג.ב.ה is the root of "tall". God rises on high — but sitting is a downwards motion. This isn't moving from a standing position to a seated one; it's walking up steps to the Throne, and sitting down in Judgment upon it. Upwards motion gathers strength and gathers power — sitting enthroned consolidates that power into a stable base, ready to apply it in action. The image here is of God rising up to the heights of the universe to take on the role of Commander, Judge, Ruler, Decider — not slumping into an easychair after a long day at work.

And from that upwards-and-yet-settling motion, the mizmor moves in the opposite direction.

Even from on high, God is intimately concerned with what goes on down below in the World.

We now have a completed axis — God rises up on high, to "sit down" in stability and power at the heights of existence; and yet what God is doing there is switching direction, lowering Godself down into our world to be concerned with what's going on in the heavens and the earth, from God's Throne-Seat in the heavens-above-heavens.

And what does God do, with this vertical axis linking the Physical and Supernal Realms?

God recreates it within our own reality, drawing the poor and weak up God's lifeline, raising them up from the dust and the dirt, the garbage and the refuse, and setting them on their feet. But like God, the point is not to be "on high" — the point is to seat them. Like God rising up to sit in power and majesty over the universe, God lifts up the downtrodden to seat them in power and judgment among the nobles. They are no longer weak and lowly; they are now decision-makers themselves, enthroned.

And so maybe the next step is for them to follow in God's footsteps, and themselves lift up the next batch of needy after them.

What is a 'Mekimi Moment'?

It's an incident in which you feel meqimi mei‘afar dal being applied in your own life. When you look around yourself and what you're doing in this world, and you see how far you've come. When you see God's lifeline pulling you out of the dust, and placing you unexpectedly among those who you never would have imagined yourself coming into contact with. When God stands you up, and you find yourself attaining things that you never even dreamed one day you would even set out to do. When you wake up one day and realize that God has placed you in the circuit of people with power, or even given you power yourself... just make sure you use it properly.

Even a poor kid from the shtetl can grow up to help change the world.


Anonymous Mar Gavriel said...

Ooh, I love the word "supernal".


5/05/2008 9:49 AM  

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