Lent Day Thirty Two

Because I am so enraptured by Zornberg, let the healing of Moses, so that he can proclaim his message to Pharoah, "Let my people go!", let the healing be still our reflection....
[there is much to be read between these paragraphs and lines. I strongly recommend buying your own copy. In Canberra, Don Gill from Woden Christian Bookshop will get you one.]

from Zornberg "The particulars of Rapture" page 126

"Primary, therefore, to language, or to any human act, is desire. Here, Rabbi Nachman's thought makes a paradoxical leap: desire is generated, precisely, by obstacles. Particularly when an important task is to be performed, he writes, when much energy of desire is necessary, God sets in place obstacles to sharpen that desire."


page 127
"The wish for the obstacle is, I am suggesting, indeed a version of the wish for desire. A people exiled from language love their own constriction, because it reminds them of yearning. The dynamic of the Exodus from Egypt, therefore, on all its levels, is one of friction and relaxation, obstacle and desire. The Chasidic reading of 'The children of Israel did not listen to Moses,' we remember, included the notion of the 'desire to hear,' the frustration which becomes the energy that generates redemption. [87] It is precisely the difficulty of redemption that arouses this longing."....

"Perhaps it is Moses' final articulation of his speech problem as impediment ('I am of uncircumcised lips...') that offers him the key to desire: after this, he never complains again of such a problem. As with the infant who is born into language, it is forgetting, loss, the trauma of the angelic tap on the mouth, that impels him through the straits and into the world of others.

If this is the underlying drama of the Exodus, if the sickness, the paralysis contains the elements of healing, then it is Moses, the leader, the peerless teacher, who brings the people to redemption. Ultimately, this description of his role will be paramount: he is the quintessential teacher—moshe rabbenu (Moses our teacher). In order to achieve his pedagogical task—in his case, perhaps in all cases, also a therapeutic task—he must know, in more concentrated form, the difficulties, the suffering that he is to heal. The language problem is peculiarly his: 'Oh Word, Word, Word, that I lack!' cries Schoenberg's Moses, His impediments, the 'unconscious mnemonics of desire' (Phillips), constantly evoke that deisre for healing which is complicated by the reluctance to be healed. This dilemma is never entirely resolved, even in the glistening encounter between tongue and Torah.

The healer must know the deepest loneliness and pain of his patients."

and then on page 128, after quoting Elias Canetti on the initiation of the healer among the Aranda, comes this amazing paragraph, which surely has a word for those of us who are keeping Lent and waiting for Easter:

"It is noticeable that preparation for the life of healing—and teaching—involves fear and courage, loneliness, the disabling of the tongue, and an entire inner transformation, a replacement of his inner organs, a death and rebirth. It is such intimate interrogation of his whole being that initiates the healer, puts him in contact with powers of teaching, in the largest sense."