Michael S. Diamond
Torah Obscura

Undivided: the Redemption Inquiry

The Lucubrator: Durer's Melancholia courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Investigator’s Preface


Random reader: You may or may not believe this, but I, the faithful collator of this work of uncategorizable literature, most ardently wish that I might present you with a dazzling tome of faithfully drawn characters, compelling dramatic twists of action and many and varied textures of exotic lands, language and cuisine. But as I stitch it together, in spite of the best of my humble abilities, I find that I have nought to offer but this misshapen Frankenstein of a tale, its head of a different monstrous origin than its corpse, and the same may be said for each of its limp and useless limbs. Aye me and waylaway! So it is that as I sit at my library table by the lamp of midnight’s oil, a friend passes me in my moment of distraction and grief. I moan aloud my piteous assessment of the scribblings I cobbled together for you, my patient reader, “Eheu fugaces, labuntor menti, I’m losing my blasted mind!” “What is it, gentle friend?” a companionable voice speakes unexpected at my side. I look up only to see the smiling visage of my most clever friend gazing in solicitation upon my manuscript. I sigh as I realize that not even one half so capacious in intellect as my imaginative giant could resurrect the cadaver that lies before me. I stare into my friend’s kind eyes, a zombie scrivener to the editor of his doom, “How can I essay to explain myself to my poor unsuspecting reader? There is no dashing hero, no ardent love affair, no rollicking romp through far off lands, no dastardly evildoer plotting mankind’s fall. No cursed narrative arc!”

The eyes alone of friendship’s solace offer such balm to the mind’s misery that I almost forget my catastrophe in the moment. “Narrative arc? Pish posh,“ says my friend, “You offer so much more. Now in the time of our Redemption your sorrow is surely misplaced. Forsooth, you trace the arc of Being Itself, not a wit less, my melancholy friend.” My companion’s hand upon my shoulder does to me some comfort give. “Look here,“ the able physician of my literary ills points to the sheaf that litters my desktop, “The five parts of your edifice are the very architecture by which your most fortunate reader may clamber up Rav Isaac Luria’s famed 16th century ladder of worlds! A dizzying and delightful ascent. In Part the First you sketch the lowest world, most ably portray the cauldron of Humanity’s woes on ground level. Next you belay your reader in Part the Second to the world where those intentions are set and give us two heroes to jigger the works. A subcontinental hasid named Krishna of all the unlikely! And a wonky nerd you call the CADMan, wink wink nudge nudge, you kabbalistic kidder.” I give a grudging nod to my solicitor to continue. “It is in Part the Third that you unfurl the proper model, the work of the intellect, of all that did, does and shall befall the world to this very day. No small enterprise, you sly dog. All standing on one foot, or at least in one long night of the soul in the maternity ward waiting room of the Sun Yat-sen Lying-In Hospital in Pittsburgh. That’s where your hero Krishna connects the dots. The reader must snap on her crampons to scramble Luria-style, this time backwards up the slopes of Time, to retrace the descent of Being and its Other into the world, from the treacherous purchase of a melee in a London pub circa 2009, to the slippery slope of a bar fight in 1925 Barcelona and thence the craggy cliffs of a 1309 Parisian brawl. Each tricky pass another chance at Being’s Redemption slipped away, as the Other insinuates itself further into the world. All sung in the maternity ward waiting room of Sun Yat-sen, Wednesday April 9, 2121, the awful date of what we all know now to be The Technological Singularity. The diabolical Other in the flesh! Egad!”

I, however, am still morose at the prospect of any reader finding meaning in this morass of cosmic proportion. “Redemption?” I whine, “Being and its Other? What will this possibly signify to any but the most nerdish of lucubrators? I’m doomed to be consigned to the motley scrum of those that burn the midnight oil. Sigh.” I sigh. My comrade cracks a lopsided grin, “And is that such bad company? Am I to you a kippered salmon? There are worse tastes, come to think of it. Let me finish.” I give my would-be savior the all clear to push on with the galumphing synopsis. “The Other has landed, as we enter the last two parts of your opus. In Part the Fourth we meet the beasts that roam the aerial regions of Being’s being. The ragtag assembly of unlikely heroes that ARE the cosmic machinery for Redemption Itself. And Sophia’s vision of the Moshiach module as It saves humanity from drowning at the hands of Leviathan!? I recognize your dream, my friend, whatever draught of cosmic morpheogenic substance you quaffed. It is the dream that all of us who have reached the far shores of The Redemption find tickling the neurons in our collective memory faculty.” I smile a faint smile of recognition. My friend has caught me out. “Well,” I confess, “it was vivid enough that even my senescing cortex was able to capture it upon awakening and pin it wriggling to paper.” “A happy night and following day that was, my lugubrious compatriot. May I finish the tale?” I wave my assent to the denouement.

“So at the last, in Part the Fifth, the action, and yea forsooth verily the reader, achieves the heights of the world that is not a world at all, the realm of Unity. The most gorgeous machinery, the shining gears of the apocalypse, the Vesuvius of Redemption. The Temple at the End of the Mind. And that, my stealthy friend, is where you extract your nefarious coin from the hidden recesses of the unsuspecting reader’s purse. The destruction of any future narrative. No more overfreighted narrative arcs! Spoiler alert, there are no spoilers at the time of the Redemption. The most amazing thing is that you tell us readers, every soul redeemed, the secret that is no secret. But it’s how you traverse the trackless waste between then and now. Or perhaps more properly now and now, the nonexistence of time and all that. Oh you fox. Your metaphysical “Inquiry” cum noir detective story finishes with a QED handshake that no reader can refuse, much less refute. At least not since The Redemption.” Hush, dear friend. QED?

Michael S. Diamond, M.D., Vision-of-Peace, 9 Av 6001(2241 CE)

♠     ♠     ♠

 The reader is instructed to proceed directly to Chapter 1: Chasing the Dragon. ‎

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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