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Articles by Tzvi Freeman

Assorted articles on spirituality by acclaimed author Tzvi Freeman.

Why Does a Good G‑d Make Bad Hurricanes?
Where's G-d's defense portfolio? What's His excuse this time?
Skydive From Heaven
What I learned from a guy who fell to earth from the edge of outer space at the speed of sound.
We’ve all heard of mind over body. But here’s a guy talking about it in terms of falling from the sky at the speed of sound—and comparing that to being a great parent.
How Nobody Became Somebody
In the beginning, G‑d created everything out of nothing. He could have decided to make everything out of something, but He knew that nothing is better material than something.
What's the Difference Between Buddhist Nothingness and Jewish Nothingness?
Somehow, the very earth we touch must become acutely aware of its absolute nothingness while remaining a complete something. And you and I are given the responsibility to accomplish that.
Why You Are Right and the World Is Wrong
. . . and why you need to know that
There’s something you brought to the world that the world didn’t give you. It’s the only thing that makes you real.
Why the World Needs Its Soul
Modernity is precarious. Our soul believes life has purpose and meaning, while our brains consider our bodies to be no more than walking water bottles of biochemical reactions.
Human Passion and the Envy of Angels
I envy the angels, among whom there is no envy. The angels envy me, in whom envy burns without respite.
Do the Jewish People Still Expect a Messiah?
The Jew aches with expectation, and blatantly demands that the world act according to the beauty it inherently contains.
Have the Jews Become Redundant?
Monotheistic faith and human reason remain pitted in battle. Both have claimed responsibility for the greatest casualties of history.
Is There Such a Thing as a Bad Question?
And when do you get to ask it?
Perhaps at the end of all things, at the core of all wisdom, at the very essence of all being lies not an answer, but a question.
Jews as Earth
The history of classical Jewish thought is one of the conservation of ideas.
Is G-d in the Consequences?
A friend says she doesn't believe G‑d "causes" the consequence, because, she says, "we have free will."
The Kabbalah of Man and Woman
Ancient wisdom, practical advice
Each man stands between two females: the corporeal woman below to whom he must provide sustenance and affection; and the Shechinah which stands over him to bless him with these so that he may turn around and provide them to the woman of his covenant
Help! I Don't Want to Turn Into My Father!
Sure, there are all those events that happened, the weather, geography, DNA. But we are the ones to string them together with meaning and direction. There is no story to life, until we tell it...
Prayer as Madness
Tell me that it is rational to talk to the Force of Being as though this were your closest confidant. Tell me that it is not absurd to plead with this force to adjust reality more to your liking...
Children of the Universe
It's easy to feel like orphans to this cold universe--to the elements, the forces and empty space that shrug indifferently at the drama of being human...
The Existential Exodus
You can hide it enough so it doesn't embarrass you in public. You can pretty it up so that others are not as annoyed with it. You can try to ignore its whelps and howls when it gets out of hand. But can you free yourself of your ego?
Da'at
The Knowing I
Why do we become a bar mitzvah at adolescence? Because something dramatic happens to our minds at this time: A sort of awakening, a consciousness, a realization that "I exist"
The Angels and Us
These guys are heavily into the divine energy; you could call them spiritual junkies. Face it: the most successful soul here below cannot hope to dance as gracefully as the clumsiest malach...
The Heresy of Kindness
They asked the Baal Shem Tov: "The Talmud tells us that for every thing G-d forbade, He provided us something permissible. What did He permit that corresponds to the sin of heresy?" Replied the Besht : "Acts of kindness"
Adam
It is truly an impossible discovery: that there is another "I" in this world, one who is not "me," who does not confirm my concept of the world, who is the opposite of me in so many ways and who I can therefore never truly know...
Unidolatry
When we would be at odds with G-d and He with us, the two angels would turn away from one another. But when the two of us would be in harmony, the temple priests would open the curtains and show us the two figurines entwined in embrace...
The Torah as Marriage
...and why we don't reallly get it until the wedding is complete
We've been studying his mind all our lives. But we still don't get it... It's a mumble-jumble of scattered fragments, each part playing the other's role in an untamed cacophony of an orchestra tuning up
The Moon and Us
To an ancient Greek or a Hindu, passive stillness is masculine, activity and motion are feminine. To a Taoist, action is masculine and passiveness is feminine. In other words, if it is a virtue it is masculine. The Jew turns the pyramid on its head
Me? Myself? I?
Meditations on self and ego
Ego makes a mortal being into an idol. But without it, how can we change the world?
Meditations on Purpose
There are those who chase the infinite and find they cannot live. There are those who chase all things finite; their life is not worth living. Redemption is when the infinite is at home within our finite world
How Sin Started
Initially, it was natural for man to follow woman. Read the story: What convinced Adam to eat of the Tree of Knowledge? Nothing -- just that Eve told him to. Then the roles were reversed. A curse, truly, for both of them...
Words of Song
No, I don’t mean words that are sung. I mean the words that music speaks: the nuances and motifs of a melody that take the defined boundaries in which we have boxed ourselves, our feelings and our ideas, and transport them to a higher place.
A Dwelling Below
meditations on G-d's desire for a world
The angels were stunned. They looked upon our world of cruelty between man and man, of mortal blindness to the most obvious of truths, and they said, "This place He desires? This He calls a garden of delight? This He wants to make His home?"
Hi-tech Connectivity
"Where are there computers in the Torah?" Without hesitation the Rebbe answered, "Tefillin." The professor was perplexed
At-onement
On Yom Kippur we embrace. Our harmony is no longer a harmony of "should", but a harmony of "is". All is forgiven. At onement
Chanah's Prayer
This, then, is the secret of prayer: The entire world may be ripping apart at the seams, but the beseecher’s heart and mouth are at peace as one. And then that peace spreads outward into all things.
The Adam Factor
The Hebrew language has no word for "things", "objects" or "stuff". In Hebrew, all things are dvarim, "words": articulations of the soul, crystallized thoughts
Meditations on Time
It began and it will end and then it will be no more. Each breath, each tick, each beat of the heart comes only once; none will ever repeat itself precisely. Every instant of life is a raw but precious stone, beckoning...
Music, Spirituality and Transformation
The centrality of song in Chabad
“Each ‘gate’ of a chassidic melody,” taught Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch, “must be repeated twice. The first time only traces a form; the second carves deep into the soul . . .” Reflections for the anuual “Shabbat of Song.”
Learning the Child
The child naively believes that everything should be fair and honest, that only good should prevail, that there should be no pain or sadness. And the child is right
Broken and Whole
When you find the Infinite, where will you put it? In your broken vessel? It will not stay. In a new, whole one? It will not fit...
Our Daily Bread
meditations on earning a living
The common conception of how the system works is faulty. People see a career as "making a living." But a career doesn't "make" anything
Talking to Himself
On the outside, it speaks the language of humankind; on the inside is depth without end. Grasp either end and you have nothing. Grasp both and you have G-d Himself
How to Criticize and Other Thoughts On Love
Criticizing another person is not out of the question. It's just that there are a few conditions to attend to before you start...
The Pharaoh Syndrome
Pharaoh, you see, was actually quite intellectually capable; it was just that he was "Monotheistically Challenged"
G-d Playing Peek-A-Boo
If He had made the world a complete and utter mystery, we would have no path to know Him. But if all would fit together like a neat and tidy grandfather clock, we would not know that there is anything more to know...
Prison Juice
Imprisonment is a fate worse than death, out of which the truly righteous squeeze an elixir more potent than life
We Are One
Some folks think of people much as we think of cars on a highway: each with its own origin and destination, relating to one other only to negotiate lane changes and left-hand turns. But people are not cars.
From one, many. This, the Lubavitcher Rebbe points out, is also the common feature of every system of the universe, from the galaxies to the atom, from the human being to the cells of which he is made
How Truth Got a Life
. . . and how a big truth got real
The other morning, I woke up to discover a little truth. At least, it seemed like a truth to me, but I wanted to make sure. I figured a good philosopher could help me with that . . .
My Plastic Pharaoh
I'm glad my kids feel so free. As for me, I'm still a slave and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, never died. I labor for him all week long
Infinity in Disguise
Perhaps it’s one of those forbidden questions. Perhaps it just breaks too many assumptions. But we’ll ask it anyway: Have the properties of light changed over the centuries? Has the power of gravity weakened with time? Has matter become less material? When you turn it over a few times and rub it between your fingers, everything in our world turns out to contain something of the infinite . . .
Meditations on Joy
Joy is an overflowing, an explosion... Embrace the infinite beyond mind and joy will surprise you
We are all prisoners. But we sit on the keys...
Beyond Punishment & Repair
At first, there was punishment. Then came a time when there were no prophets to provide due warning. The suffering that occurred then is called "tikun"—healing, repair. But what is it today?
Who Needs Darkness?
Why does our Creator plunk us down into despair, misery and sorrow and then ask us to struggle toward the light? Why not put us in the light in the first place?
Is the Law of Attraction a Jewish Idea?
Are we really the masters of our own lives?
Think of a video streamed through narrow bandwidth, full of ugly artifacts and audio distortion. Optimism loosens the constrictions, widens the bandwidth and allows the video to flow through in hi-res. That's fundamentally different from the law of attraction...
A Kabbala Perspective
If two billion people are watching, there must be something to this. Something cosmic, residing deep within the human psyche.
Getting to G-dliness
Immersed in received knowledge of the higher realms, secluded from the confusion of humankind and earthly pleasures, there comes a day when the prophet hears with his ears the voice that brings all into being; he sees with his eyes the splendor of that light. But that is not yet G‑dliness.
The Hidden G-d
Where do you hide when you’re everywhere?
He’s in the heavens, and He’s here on earth. He’s in the ethereal world of the philosopher, and He’s in the pragmatic world of the trucker speeding down Interstate 86. He’s in the putrid world of the worker digging out the city sewers down the street, and He’s in the aroma of the garlic our cook was now sprinkling on the chickens for tonight’s dinner. None of this could exist if He were not there. So, He’s certainly in your field of vision. Why can’t I see Him?
King in the Subway
If you heard a world-class violinist in the subway, would you stop to listen? If you met the Master of the Universe while tilling a field, would you go over and talk?
Parkinson's, Mother and Shechinah
We are all divine souls, princes and princesses of light, captured within the crust of human flesh. We are all my mother.
Teachers of the Hidden Wisdom
Who gave permission to reveal the secrets of millennia?
For millennia, these were secrets, only to be revealed to a select few. What changed that allowed the Baal Shem Tov to reveal them, and his student's disciple to open the floodgates?
Why Now Is the Time for a Moment of Silence
What could be more valuable to a young mind than respite from the noise?
There is a desire that lies at the very core of all being. That desire chose you.
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