Please consult this list of Jewish books to go further.

And ALSO this most basic text on Shabbat by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
Si je ne suis pas pour moi-même, qui le sera?

And when I am only for myself, what am I?
Si je ne suis que pour moi, que suis je?

And if not now, when?
Sinon maintenant, quand?

 Rabbi Hillel (First Century CE) From Pirket Avot


T H E   F I R S T   T E A R

After Adam and Eve had been banished form the Garden of Eden, G-d saw they were penitent and took their fall very much to heart.
And as He is a compassionate Father, He said to them gently: “Unfortunate children! I have punished you for your sin and have driven you out of the Garden of Eden where you were living without care and in great well-being.

Now you are about to enter into a world of sorrow and troublethe like of which staggers the imagination. However, I want you to know that My benevolence and My love for you will never end. I know that you will meet with a lot of tribulation in the world and that it will embitter your lives. For that reason I give you, out of My heavenly treasure, this priceless pearl, a tear. When grief overtakes you and your heart aches so that you are not able to endure it, and great anguish grips your soul, then there will fall from your eyes this tiny tear. Your burden will grow lighter.”

When Adam and Eve heard these words, sorrow overcame them. Tears welled up in their eyes, rolled down their cheeks and fell to earth. It was these tears of anguished that first moistened the earth. Adam and Eve left them as a precious inheritance to their children. And whenever a human being is in great trouble and his heart aches and his spirit is oppressed, then the tears begin to flow from his eyes, and lo! the gloom is lifted.

— one of countless midrashim (commentaries)


EMET (AlephMemTav): Truth. The legend of the Golem plays with this word…

  • Take out the first letter, the Aleph (a silent letter standing for one, unity), you get MET/MavET, death. If you cannot be quiet enough you will miss the unity… and you may as well be dead.
  • Take out the middle letter, Mem, you miss Mayim (water), the waters of life: getting wet is the only way to experience life. 
  • Alef to Tav (first letter to last letter of the AlephBet/Hebrew Alphabet) is the only way to experience truth; it can only be revealed by being there, from beginning to end.

‘ED: Witness. An Ayin and a Dalet are placed at the beginning and at the end of the S’hma, the daily prayer of Judaism (so central as to have to be on the lips of the dying). These two letters form the word “‘ED” implying that one is once more commanded to be present, “there” – always a witness to reality.

HINENI: Here I am. How Moses responds to G-d when asked where he is… again and again, not in the past nor the future, but exactly where we are.

PRDS (pronounced Pardes): The orchard. As per Medieval Kabbalah, you have entered that special land (PaRaDiSe) IF you can comprehend reality on all FOUR levels:

  • Pshat (Pedestrian) – Literal Meaning (Down to Earth) – Sometimes one of the hardest levels.
  • Remez – Hint, hint… Start Making Connections, a Mystical Meaning
  • Drash – Drawing out, the Midrashic/Homiletical Meaning
  • Sod – The Secret (Shh…!) Silent Meaning in the ineffable.

RECHEM: The matrix, the womb. Related to the word RACHMANUT, compassion. To possess any of it requires one to create a vacuum, a space for someone else. In Le Récit de la Disparue by Shmuel Trigano