Most people’s understanding of the Kabbalah boils down to a vague notion of some mystical wackiness that Madonna inexplicably regards as profound. Despite years of Jewish education, Wallyhood’s own understanding of Kabbalah is drawn mostly from our reading of two novels, Myla Goldberg’s The Bee Season and Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.
Nonetheless, we’re certain we know more then most of you, so we will affect the easy arrogance of a cocktail party know-it-all and enlighten you: Kabbalah is a school of thought within Judaism that holds that, among other things, mystical truths are hidden within the words of the Torah. By meditating on the meaning of the letters, re-arranging them, understanding their shapes, reflecting on how they are used in other contexts, one can gain wisdom otherwise lost.
Or something like that. If you’d like a better understanding, head on over to Open Books on 45th Street this coming Tuesday, January 27th at 7:30 pm and listen to author Emily Warn read from her collection Shadow Architect. From Open Books’ calendar:
“Is the wrestling of inchoate matter into form love?,” asks one of the several voices in Emily Warn’s third collection, The Shadow Architect…a compelling meditation on the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is a question perhaps asked of God, of us, of the writer of this mysterious yet vividly grounded series that contemplates the power of the word in the world. The poems are philosophical, but not at the expense of imagery — “the cicadas handing off / their buckets of sand from tree to tree; / their toneless incessant scraping sifts time for us.” Elegantly organized (and gracefully designed), the book takes shape through a quietly insistent pattern that is its rhythm and melody, a cantata of lyric and quotation, of discovery, but perhaps more profoundly, of journey.
What’s that? You were planning on grabbing a burger from Dick’s and watching something by Seagal from Hollywood Video? Come on, get your culture on.
Did we mention it’s a cantata of lyric and quotation?