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#4786 - Friday, December 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #4786 - Friday, December 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/ ... A couple of people, Quillian
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2012
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      #4786 - Friday, December 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz

      A couple of people, Quillian and Ellen Davis, have informed of the correct author behind the quotation given in issue #4783. I'll give the quote again and the explanation of who the author is. But first here's the letter I received from Ellen:

      Hi Jerry,
      The letter that you shared below is from a book called Open Secrets by the brilliant Rabbi Rami M Shapiro (who is from North America, as far as I know and who used to live and teach in CA).  It is one of my most favorite little books - and feels sacred or jnanic to me.  On the last page of the book he says, "This book is a fictional collection of letters from "Reb Yerachmiel ben Yisrael" to my great grandfather Aaron Herschel. The rebbe is a composite of several genuine Hasidic rebbes, and my Zayde (great grandfather), was quite real." 
      Rami Shapiro was first introduced to me several years ago as a satsang teacher by a student of Papaji. I saw him teach at that time at a Jewish learning center that he directed in WLA. Indeed, he embodied and shared undivided awareness, and the depth of his references within the context of Judaism or Jewish mysticism, (to my view), could also be or resonate with the depths within the Zen or Sufi wisdom traditions, as you said.   I just googled him and found that he blogged as recently as today and will paste this bio which also appears recent:
      Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award winning author, poet, essayist, and educator whose poems have been anthologized in over a dozen volumes, and whose prayers are used in prayer books around the world. Rami received rabbinical ordination from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion and holds both Ph.d. and D.D. degrees. A congregational rabbi for 20 years, Rabbi Rami is currently Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Middle Tennessee State University. In addition to writing books, Rami writes a regular column for Spirituality and Health magazine called "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler" and he has a blog.[Beyond Religion with Rabbi Rami]. His most recent book is "Recovery,the Sacred Art."
      (Skylight Paths). He can be reached via his website.
      Love and namaste,
      Ellen Davis
      ~ ~ ~
      Here is the letter composed by Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro for his book Open Secrets and which appeared in issue #4783:
      Reb Yerachmiel ben Yisrael
      19 Tevet 5636
      My Dear Aaron Hershel,
      You ask me of God: to define the Nameless to place in your palm the ultimate secret. Do not imagine that this is hidden some­where far from you. The ultimate secret is the most open one. Here it is: God is All.
      I am tempted to stop with this-to close this letter, sign my name and leave you with this simple truth. Yet I fear you will not understand. Know from the first that all that follows is but an elaboration on the simple fact that God is All.
      What does it mean to be All? God is Reality. God is the Source and Substance of all things and nothing. There is no thing or feel­ing or thought that is not God, even the idea that there is no God! For this is what it is to be All: God must embrace even God's own negation.
      Listen again carefully: God is the Source and Substance of everything. There is nothing outside of God. Thus we read: “I am God and there is none else [am od]” (Isaiah 45:5). Read not simply “none else,” but rather “nothing else”-not that there is no other god but God, but that there is nothing else but God.
      Let me illustrate. It rained heavily during the night, and the street is thick with mud. I walked to the Bet Midrash (House of Learning) this morning and stopped to watch a group of little children playing with the mud. Oblivious to the damp, they made dozens of mud figures: houses, animals, towers. From their talk, it was clear that they imagined an identity for each. They gave the figures names and told their stories. For a while, the mud figures took on an independent existence. But they were all just mud. Mud was their source and mud was their substance. From the perspective of the children, their mud creations had separate selves. From the mud's point of view, it is clear such independence was an illusion-the creations were all just mud.
      It is the same with us and God: “Adonal alone is God in heaven above and on earth below, there is none else” (Deuteronomy 4:39). There is none else, meaning there is nothing else in heaven or on earth but God.
      Can this be? When I look at the world, I do not see God. I see trees of various kinds, people of all types, houses, fields, lakes, cows, horses, chickens, and on and on. In this I am like the chil­dren at play, seeing real figures and not simply mud.
      Where in all this is God? The question itself is misleading. God is not “in” this; God is this.
      Think carefully about what I have said. It is the key to all the secrets of life.

      ~ ~ ~

      Here is the link to Open Secrets, from which the above letter was unwittingly extracted, on Amazon.com. 
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