Michael S. Diamond
Torah Obscura

He Walked a Crooked Path: Eikev

Rav Ram Nissan ben Krishna HaKohen Tzedek Gadol mused about how he’d gotten here, sitting on the rim of the great altar of Quantum Universal Integrated Experiential Temporality. Q.U.I.E.T. So paradoxically peaceful, every sturm und drang that ever did happen or could happen buzzing in the holoFlame that roared fifty feet over his head. Though time no longer existed in any absolute sense, still he chose to follow the liturgical cycle which had become his chief source of rhythm in an otherwise arhythmic world. The occasional jam with his bandmates from Blue Sabbath Cult and The Lost Messiahs was always a kick, but the price tag was a bit high. That particular sturm und drang still took a little piece of flesh out of him every time, running the streets of Leviathan to escape the predations of ZyzCorp and Behemoth Unlimited. Those were heady times. Still are.

This week was the week of the Crooked Path, once walked by the original Crooked Man, wily ancestor Yaakov. More or less the same path he and the Hack Pack took in reverse some thirty-five-hundred years later. A foolish consistency? Perhaps. But this was one hobgoblin he always enjoyed chasing down to the very end. The details of the journey across the wilderness mapped in his mind like some cosmic mandala, endlessly looping back on itself. Each week of the liturgy was an opportunity to meditate on yet another inflection point of the long strange trip. The Sabbath, the day of rest that his tribe had made the center of their meditative practice, was now the basis of the one long unending day that had become existence. Since The Redemption, Ram Nissan celebrated the Eternal Sabbath the same as he would the liturgical year. Mapping the diurnal Sabbath cycle onto the annual liturgical cycle scratched a deep itch in the High Priest’s obsessive soul. Because. Yes, just because.

With a single deft movement, Ram Nissan swept the holoShawl over his head, its cobalt blue tzitzit dongles sparking and flashing at the four corners, the only way to visualize the randomly fluctuating tower of holoFlame as something coherent, something readable. There it was, the glowing body of Adam CADMan, the architect of the living hologram through which all humanity now passed in eternal harmony. What a badass nerd. The ace of 4D Cyber Assisted Design in the twenty second century, he knew mankind would fall to the AI’s as surely as the Big Bang creates the Universe over and over again. Came the Redemption, his consciousness returned to infuse every piece of the hologram he designed for humanity to inhabit, to reify at will. Courtesy of the holoShawl, Ram Nissan was able to see the outspread body of the CADMan slowly pitching and yawing and rolling in a giant aureole of flame. Better than any of the cyberdelia he himself had peddled in his days as a burnt-out failed messiah. But that’s another story. Ram Nissan’s carefully honed intention could connect through the holoShawl to any point on the CADMan’s body and peel it back as if turning a page in a book of infinitesimally thin pages. Every possible Universe at his fingertips. First the liturgy. His mental finger touched the heart of Adam CADMan and peeled back the precise page that found Moses haranguing the Israelites about the twisted journey they had just completed, forty years of desert wandering, one rebellion after another. He stood with them in the lush green pastures East of the Jordan, the arid landscape not far behind them. It was their fathers who had danced in an orgy around the Golden Calf, complained about the food and water at every turn, refused to take the land when handed to them and, in an amazing act of hubris, challenged Moses’ legitimacy as their leader. What had he done for them lately? Mother Earth swallowed them before they even had a chance to lay their bodies down.

Rav Ram Nissan ben Krishna HaKohen Tzedek Gadol sighed. Wrangling the Hack Pack hadn’t been nearly that hard, but they had their fair share of butt-heads as well. Now was the eventide of the year, the second of the Seven Sabbaths of Consolation, the slow march of return from the depths of the historic sack of the Temple by both the Babylonians and the Romans. Ram Nissan didn’t want to turn those pages now. The candles have been lit at the table at which we welcome our friends, time to bless the fruits of the vine and of the land. The seven species that grow in the Promised Land supplant the magic of manna from the sky, the reification of the hologram, the promise. The seven elements crucial to Adam CADMan’s energy body: wisdom, focus, harmony, vision, humility, foundation and presence. Ram Nissan sighed a sigh of profound satisfaction at the beauty and order he beheld. He could feel the moon waxing in the field of his consciousness. He shook the dust from his clothing and returned to the altar of Q.U.I.E.T. There, as per his usual curiosity, he decided to do a little ‘rolodexing’, an antiquarian term he adopted for paging through the years to see what this week had wrought in other times in history. Eighteen eighty three, the birth of Benito Mussolini; 1975, the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa; 1776, the death of Frances Salvador, the first Jew to die in the American Revolution. Two days later the final draft of the Declaration of Independence is signed in Philadelphia. Nineteen-Thirty-Six, the opening of the Olympic Games in Nazi Berlin; 1492, Christopher Columbus sets sail in the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Nineteen-Sixty-One future US President Barack Obama is born and one year later to the day Nelson Mandela is arrested by South African security police. August 1, 2018, 55 boxes thought to contain remains of U.S. troops arrived from Korea at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, and the Carr Fire in California burned into its second week taking 120,000 acres of land, slim consolation for the residents of Shasta and Trinity Counties. A mixed bag of blessings and curses, fulfillments of promises and the dashing of hopes, every twist a lesson learned. Ram Nissan realized once again, that until the present Redemption, the underlying unity that binds mankind’s plurality continued to prove elusive. Ever watchful, he scoured his visions for any and all anachronistic hints, portals to the Redemption.

About the Author
Michael Diamond is a writer based in the Washington, DC area. He practices psychiatry there and is a doctor of medical qigong. He has published verse, fiction and translation in Andrei Codrescu’s journal, The Exquisite Corpse; in the journal Shirim courtesy of Dryad Press; in the online journal for Akashic Press; in New Mexico Review, The Deronda Review, The Atherton Review, The Blood Project, Ars Medica and in The Journal of the American Medical Association. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, an artist and illuminator of Hebrew manuscripts, their dog, two cats, a cockatiel named Peaches, a tank of hyperactive fish and ten-thousand honeybees. He has had a strong interest in Torah since first exposed to traditional stories as a child. Over the course of his life he has run the gamut of spiritual exploration of many world traditions of meditation and mythology. For the last several decades he has landed squarely in the traditional Jewish world. His writing is informed by all of this experience, by his curiosity about today's world and by his desire to mine the Jewish experience for its hidden and revealed wisdom. Torah Obscura, a glimpse of an otherwise invisible world afforded by a small aperture for light. All materials herein copyright © 2018 Michael S. Diamond. All rights reserved.
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