Sunday, January 19, 2014

Deuteronomy 3: KUZU = God in Motion

Ekev/Because (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Bind them [Torah words] as a sign upon your arm and let them be an ornament between your eyes.  Teach your children to discuss them, when you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, and when you retire and arise.  And write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates.  (Deuteronomy 11:18-20)

KUZU sets God YHVH in Motion
KUZU is written up-side-down on the outside of a parchment scroll placed in a mezuzah housing that is attached to a doorpost.

On the inside of this mini-Torah scroll is "Hear O Israel, God YHVH is our Lord ELOHAYNU, God YHVH is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4)

K-U-Z-U is spelled with each of the Hebrew letters that follow Y-H-V-H. K follows Y; U follows H; Z follows V; and U follows H. 
It is as if we were to write GOD as HPE, H being the letter following G, P the letter following O, and E the letter following D.

KUZU is written to teach that God, YHVH (Is-Was-Will be), cannot be experienced as a static object, but rather as dynamic process.
KUZU is written up-side-down to invite us to learn Torah with our children from multiple vantage points as part of the flow of life.

Miriam created home size and synagogue size mezuzah housings in her ceramics studio in our former home in Teaneck, NJ.
She made a silver mezuzah housing as a medusa with tentacles that move when touched. The word mezuzah is related to zaz (move). 

In Guatemala, Mel carved a mezuzah housing from mahogany wood spiraling around a test tube capped with a 13 petal rose.
A Jew spirals a leather strap around his arm flowing out from the tefillin box.  He then forms the branching Hebrew letter shin on his hand.

Spirals and branches symbolize living systems, from spiraling palms to branching cedars and from DNA to our circulatory and nervous systems.
It [Torah] is a tree of life to those who grasp it.  A righteous person will flourish like a date palm, like a Lebanon cedar he will grow tall. (Proverbs 4:2, Psalm 92:13)