“The prophet is a fool. The man of spirit is mad.” (Hosea 9:7)

There is a certain madness to this idea of talking to G‑d, of saying “You” to the Ground of Reality— as though this were a person. Like the madness of love or of unbounded joy. Not the madness of a derelict mind, but the madness that rides upon the shoulders of reason, with all its qualities, but beyond. Beyond reason.

Reason scales lofty mountains. Reason alone can pull back the curtains and find G‑d there, hiding within existence. “Just as I extend from Mind,” says Reason, “so the pulse of life, the path of the electron, the entire cosmic order, all extend from one magnificent Mind.” And from where does that Mind extend? From That Which Is. As in the four letter name of G‑d, a conjugation of the verb to be.

But only madness could imagine entering a conversation with That Which Is.

Reason stands on the threshold, peering at a blinding light that bursts through the keyhole, trembling to open the door to her own womb. For in that place, she knows, the light is so great, there is no room for reason. She has shown the way, but now she must step aside for madness to break in.

Madness kicks down the door and liberates G‑d. Madness, the insanity of joy and of love, knows no fetters, respects no bounds. Madness says, “Why should I limit you to that which is? You can be found wherever You wish to be found! You can care about whatever You wish to care! Without reason—for You Yourself have no beginning, no end, so there is no Reason that will dictate to You how things must be.”

And so this madness, this wild, radical sense of freedom that breathes within the human spirit and lifts him from the status of object to person, this madness finds its partner in G‑d. “Both of us are free,” this madness says. “My freedom comes from You and Your freedom becomes real in me. So let us be partners and I will speak to the Ground of Reality and say You.”

"In knowing G‑d, reason plays only second fiddle," taught Yochanan Allemano, a 16th century Italian Kabbalist whose ideas had a profound influence on the early Humanists. "Its light is pale and diffuse. But dazzling bright, like the light of the sun, is the sweetness of divine madness."

"I am a boor," sang King David. "I cannot know anything. I am an animal with you—and I am always with You!"

"Because I am a fool," explained Rabbi Schneur Zalman, "therefore I can be always with You."

And he himself could be heard in the divine madness of his prayer muttering, "I don’t want Your Garden of Eden! I don’t want Your world-to-come! I only want You, You alone!"

"The wise understand," Solomon wrote "but the fool believes everything." Who is the fool? He is Moses, the sages said. For he believed everything G‑d told him.

To Moses, G‑d said, "I am who I am. Tell them that I am sent you."

So Moses told Pharoah, "The Ground of Reality demands you release His children, that they may serve Him in the wilderness."

To which Pharaoh replied, "Moses, you are mad. The lesser gods, the forces invested within the natural order, to them we can speak and manipulate with our rituals. But the Ground of Reality, That Which Is—this you invoke? There is no care in that place, no concern to change matters. Reality is not a person to be concerned with Itself. Moses, go, be enlightened with your transcendental state of being. And then, reasonably, you must leave me to sit on the top of my pyramid and permit the people to remain oppressed. For that is reality."

In ancient Egypt, they called that "mata." In India, it’s called karma. Moses called it a bum deal. He liberated G‑d and let Him into His world. Doing so, he liberated humankind as well, from a lonely being in a cold and hostile universe to a partner in a dialog we call Reality.

Moses was a wise madman, a holy fool. A liberator.