~ Celebrating This Incommensurate Irreducible Distance-Between ~

by prokofiev19

   This might be the idea, the movement, the project – more than any other which certainly can be identified within Judaism – that would especially be Mysticism – yet the distinctive experience – more than the mystical {though, paradoxically, contradictorily included still in some significant modality, to some significant degree, anyway – because embracing – enduring contradiction is what this different, this counter project is all-about!} – &-yet this distinctive orientation, consciousness – it can be argued most – relatively… – characterizing of the perspective we call Judaism – might indeed involve 

there being this distance-between

~ at the heart of the consciousness, the enterprise of ~ hoo-ha-ah – namely,

Talmudism – the Rabbinic project.

Its driving force – an engaging of so-called pure or absolute monotheism –

as well as what has been articulated as an ever-deferred messianism.

The difference, differánce  – the deferral –

Jacques Derrida so critically identifies with Judaism.

The transcendence of the reality we call ‘God,’ the ‘Divine.’

That there is this essentially unbridgeable, incommensurate distance-between.

Given to some kind of partial bridging-toward.

But always ‘only’ partial.

Yet – why that ‘only’ – when all that is possible is what is partial –

& hey – we love it all the more so – accept it, prefer it –

even celebrate it, love it for what it is –

even-though we know the ‘cost’ —

Between exile & redemption.

between this world as it is & the coming world

as we yearn & strive for it to be(come).

Between the Divine Absolutely Unlike, Other, Different, Unique,

on the one hand,

and the Anything & Everything We Know –

the Always Already Come World,

on the other – which is the same.

Between what Herman Melville called – what is ‘kind to our mortalities’ –

Emily Dickinson – ‘Too bright for our infirm Delight –

[thus the need for] explanation kind’ –

on the one hand,

& what the ‘God aw(e)ful truth’ of things – how they really are – without us –

on the other.

And this – very much including ourselves, our very own selves – as individuals

& as our collective communities, traditions, nations –

& all of us together in our common humanity.

Anise 'symbol'

There is this present given reality as it is

versus the imagined ideal reality as it should, ought to, could be(come) –

can be(come) but now isn’t.

This distance repeats in the Passover Seder –

Now we are slaves. Next year we will be free.

~ Before – our ancestors were idol worshipers.

Now the Ever-Present-Placeless-Place-of-&-Beyond-the-Universe

has brought us to Its service.

This – Now we are here. Next year in Jerusalem.

Always – always this difference —

So that if we are conducting, engaging, performing, playing, living

the Seder in Jerusalem –

we know well our commitment to this constant Not-Yet –

for then we say:

Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem.

This can be diagrammed as two circles – with some overlap –


is not identical with

how-we-want-it-to-be –

how we imagine it in its ideal or more ideal state.

Though there is some overlap

Two circles with some overlap


the world – again, including my self – as I know it… –

as it is

& the world as it should, could, might, can be(come) –

there is some overlap – some equivalent identity.

The world as it is – is already – partially

how it should be.


there remains  gap,

a difference.

Something transcends my, our reach.

Franz Rosenzweig: There is a Standard, a Criterion

that is besides myself –  that is situated opposite, other-than, over against me.

A difference remains

that demands our continuous striving

to narrow, to lessen that distance.

Yet to always be on guard that complete redemption is not possible.

Indeed, to come to it as fully accomplished would be dangerous.

For then we would miss what can, might, should, must be

Critiqued, questioned, challenged.

This always deferred ever, always Coming of the Messiah

Honored in Kafka’s riddle – on how

‘The Messiah will come

only when

he is no longer necessary;

he will come on the day after his arrival;

he will come, not on the last day,



on the very last.’

Likewise Yeshaiyahu Leibowitz on how

‘A Jew who thinks the Messiah has arrived – violates the obligation

to know that the Messiah is coming – for the obligation is to know


‘that he will come!’

Always in the future.

And Yehuda Amichai’s poem

‘On the Broad Plaza Steps [Leading to The Kotel – to the Western Wall] –

Lying in Wait to Ambush Happiness’!

במארב לאושר

On the Broad Plaza Steps...

In the Hebrew – the way the expression-idea-experience ‘between’ works is

that it repeats itself – appearing both before a comparison & –

between whatever the two phenomena that are being compared –

such that the distance, the difference between them is highlighted –

so that in Hebrew – for instance – we have – how to translate – something like

‘between the hoped for in-its-being-between the imagined’.

Wild man Derrida celebrates this insistent persistence of the-between’

in Biblical & Rabbinic experience

in his casting a spotlight on how in Ezekial 10, verses 6 & 7 – we encounter the word ‘between’

in a form we can’t say in French – or English – namely, in the plural


the singular is



the plural beynot – o is in the English oh.

The context involving the k’ruvim – hovering over the ark –

facing opposite, over against, between one another.

The keruvim over the ark - small

The last three lines of Amichai’s poem are a take-off – an interpretation –

of three words from the biblical Song of Songs –

chapter 1, the first three words of verse 5 –

שחורה אני ונאוה

literally: ‘I am black but beautiful.’

The word black is set parallel with the ‘dark’ tents of Kedar –

which also refers to the ‘dark’ emotion, the state-of-mind – of

melancholy – in its relation to the divided consciousness

fraught with the antinomies, the opposites, contradictions

of Hegelian dialectical antinomies & alienations ~

& thus Rabbi Azriel of Gerona (circa 1160-c. 1238)

& Julia Kristeva in her essay on The Song of Songs – a chapter in her book on Tales of Love.

Yet precisely because of that darkness that can be associated with a heightened honest mind-spirit –

that entails the sensitivity of such multi-storied awareness, recognition – precisely because of that

divided consciousness –

I am beautiful sensitive deep response-able to life

in all its rich complexity



 Anise 'symbol'

One day a practical joker in Jerusalem thought of a creative idea.

I’ll go up to the Mount Olives from which the Messiah is said to set out in his coming to the world

— a coming to be prefaced by a blast of the shofar from Eliyahu  –

& I will sound the shofar!

And indeed when he sounded the ram’s horn from there

everyone in the city was in a joyous panic!

The attendant to a visiting Hasidic Rebbe burst into his master’s study

to announce the Messiah’s too-long-awaited arrival –

everyone in the city having heard Elijah’s sounding of the shofar.

The Master –


any alteration in his composure,


any special excitement –

got up from his seat & walked over to the window.

‘Ah,’ he said. ‘No,’ he continued. ‘That must have been a practical joker who went up to the Mount of Olives & blew the shofar – for the Messiah has not yet arrived.

Because look – there outside a man is beating his horse.’

Anise 'symbol'