The Hasidim
Hila Ratzabi




The essence of spiritual solitude and the conversation between a person and his Creator... is that one should deliberate with God so much that his soul almost leaves him... until his soul is no longer connected to his body except by a strand of hair: the strength of his true pain and longing for God.
              Rabbi Nachman of Breslav

I used to read about the Hasidim,
How they cling to God, they call it

              Dívekut, like glue.

I liked the sound of it, so
Iambic.

And then came the reflexive verbs

              hitbonenut and hitbodedut

Which mean God-contemplation and spiritual solitude

If I say them
Over and over
The syllable stress would circle around itself:

                                    BA-ba-ba-BA
                                                        BA-
                                                              ba-ba-BA

                                    Hit-bo-ne-nut
                                                        Hit-
                                                              bo-de-dut

                                    (God
                                             is complete-
                                                                  ly alone)

Sometimes this
                                    actually
                                                worked

and I had this vision:

A miniature mountain in jagged neon lines against black, on top a little man with a pointy beard, head tilted and eyeless. I saw the name Yaíakov, not really saw or heard but sensed it like a word without letters or the moment before someone knocks at the door.

Have you ever tried to move and couldnít? Told yourself: Move your arm, move your head? Do you know what itís like to be paralyzed for a good fifteen minutes thinking this could only

Be God, shit.

Shit.

It kind of makes you want to stop meditating and reading Aryeh Kaplan. Itís not fun to hallucinate off nothing but air and Hebrew letters.

Did I really want to go down that road? Self-abnegation, absolute union with God? I left that mystic hanging out alone on Shabbat while I made friends with the half-Jews and spent Friday night at a bar.

Itís easier this way.

                           The world
                                            doesnít do much anymore
                           it kind of just
                                                           sits there.

I am so empty I swear Iíd die just to see God once.




Hila Ratzabi is an Amy Award winner (Poets and Writers Magazine) and will begin working towards her MFA in Fall 2005.

Email us your comments

Related:

Three Nights Jill Hammer
March, 2005

The Knowing Jay Michaelson
January, 2005

Two Prayers for the Days of Awe Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
September, 2004

Ghosts Shaun Hanson
August, 2004

Playing Eve Hila Ratzabi
June, 2004

Every City has a Soul Jill Hammer
May, 2004

God Likes New Things Abraham Joshua Heschel
trans. by Jonathan Boyarin

February, 2004

re:vision Raphael Cohen
November, 2003

Angel-Man Abraham Mezrich
September, 2003

Stones of Jerusalem David Goldstein
August, 2003

When I Met Humility, I Saw Letters Abraham Mezrich
June, 2003

Zeek
Zeek
April 2005

Neurotic Visionaries & Paranoid Jews
April 7, 2005



Jews on Stage
Dan Friedman



Out of Bounds
Angela Himsel



Masoretic Orgasm
Hayyim Obadyah



Messianic Troublemakers: Jewish Anarchism
Jesse Cohn



The Hasidim
Hila Ratzabi



Discipline
Jay Michaelson



Archive
Our 640 Back Pages


Zeek in Print
Spring 2005 issue now on sale!



About Zeek

Mailing List

Contact Us

Subscribe

Tech Support

Links

 

From previous issues:

Treasure
Ron Mohring

Hasidism and Homoeroticism
Jay Michaelson

When I Met Humility, I Saw Letters
Abraham Mezrich




Email us your comments

Related:

Three Nights Jill Hammer
March, 2005

The Knowing Jay Michaelson
January, 2005

Sufganiyot Rachel Barenblat
December, 2004

belly of the beast Cullen Goldblatt
October, 2004

Jews, Goddesses, and the Zohar Jill Hammer
July, 2004

Playing Eve Hila Ratzabi
June, 2004

Every City has a Soul Jill Hammer
May, 2004

fish rain Susan H. Case
May, 2003

yom kippur Sara Seinberg
April, 2003

Hands Harvey
August, 2002

Zeek
Zeek
April 2005

Neurotic Visionaries & Paranoid Jews
April 7, 2005



Jews on Stage
Dan Friedman



Out of Bounds
Angela Himsel



Masoretic Orgasm
Hayyim Obadyah



Messianic Troublemakers: Jewish Anarchism
Jesse Cohn



The Hasidim
Hila Ratzabi



Discipline
Jay Michaelson



Archive
Our 640 Back Pages


Zeek in Print
Spring 2005 issue now on sale!



About Zeek

Mailing List

Contact Us

Subscribe

Tech Support

Links

 

From previous issues:

Surrender
Niles Goldstein

How can you be gay and Jewish?
Jay Michaelson

When I Met Humility, I Saw Letters
Abraham Mezrich