Thank God, the Dog Ate my Tallit

29 June, 2022

Shmuel Tepper

With thanks to the Creator a wonderful thing has happened. My Tallit was eaten by a dog. And oh yes, my tefillin are safe.

They and my tallit were gifts. The tallit is from Uman, Ukraine.

For those who don’t know these are very special items that I use in prayer and/or study.

They were in a bag on a table and a dog got on the table and was curious, as dogs are.

I walkrled into the room with the table and saw the dog chewing away at my tallit. I was not at all upset with the dog, rather felt an instant, extremely brief, of great sadness at seeing him chewing on my beautiful talit. I thought of my tefillin and looked. They were fine.

And then I was joyful and grateful. Not only that nothing had happened to my tefillin but also that the dog was chewing on my tallit.

First, an object is an object and can always be replaced. Never should anger arise due to anything happening to an object and my anger did not.

But how could I be joyful that a dog was chewing my talit when it is so special? Because I quickly understood three things.

And please remember, regarding the dog, he is a good dog who is not mine but shows affection and loyalty to me and it is his nature to chew on things.

First, an object is simply an object and can always be replaced. Never should anger arise from anything happening to an object and mine did not.

Secondly I learned that with items of any significance I must be more careful. So perhaps this lesson will prevent a loss of something in the future.

This is how lessons learned and implemented prevent the repeating of unfortunate events.

Third I understood, though not exactly what its greater meaning and lessons are for me to implement in my life, that this was a great tikkun.

This tallit to me is a part of the wealth of knowledge and control, understanding and happiness that the teachings of Rebbeinu, Rebbie Nachman, have brought into my life.

I love the warmth I feel when I am shrouded in it and reminded that I am mortal. I take comfort knowing that after I die I will be buried in only a shroud, no belongings with me, my body will return to dust and my spirit as the Creator so desires.

Rebbie Nachman forsaw so much that we deal with today I believe were it not for his teachings I would be spiritually lost.

How fortunate am I to have felt sadness that immediately became joy.

What a blessing. And to have such a tikkun that I will have to uncover in this world of the hidden, darkness and lies. What light lay beneath the surface waiting? I will laugh, surely.

An adventure in discovery awaits and perhaps this is a tikkun in place of tikkun. One can hope. For God is loving and merciful.

I will have to see where the questions lead me.

The Talmud tells a story through a question of a dog.

I will try to remember correctly, forgive me if I don’t: It asks in Baba Matzia, the Order of Things Found and Responsibility for Damages, if I’m describing it correctly, who is responsible if a dog finds and picks up with its mouth a cake which has a candle in it and takes the cake to a barn and there is a fire in the barn as a result. I think that’s the tale. Let’s say it is. Even if it’s not. Because I love being wrong.

The answer of responsibility I do not remember but the responsibility, commonly and unfortunately called fault in our modern, upside down and regressing world, was not the dog’s. And to me is not of consequence.

Most often common sense is good law. Today’s world, though, plagued by instant gratification, super ego and aversions to learning for fear of facing difficult truths, does not encourage the common sense that was once . . . common.

When seriously in doubt ask a posek. Otherwise leave the poor man alone. If you aren’t sure if your spoon has been made unkosher through some contamination don’t bother the poor rabbi. Throw it away. Or put it away until some later time when it will reveal itself.

Back to our dog, the K9 arsonist.

Was the responsible party for the fire in the barn the owner of the cake and barn for leaving the cake where a dog might find it or perhaps for leaving a candle’s fire burning or perhaps for leaving the barn open?

Perhaps the dog’s owner is responsible for the animals actions and resulting damages.

But is he a tame or wild animal and were all measures taken with the dog to ensure he was secure but some untold situation occurred and he escaped?

I believe the last question I added. And perhaps I mixed up a few stories there but such things occur when trying to remember Oral Torah. What I am trying to demonstrate is who our Talmud is and what the Talmud gifts us when study.

The Talmud teaches us not to accept convention nor simplicity of explanation or common definition or supposition, that wisdom is nearly unachievable and yet within grasp and knowledge must be earned with steady and often hard and exhausting work of the mind.

It can create longing for a beloved friend with whom you learn and instill humbleness and modesty in knowing that as much as I learn and know, true knowledge, as Rebbeinu teaches us, the knowledge of the infinite, the moment you think you have even the smallest portion of knowing it, is infinite and impossible to aquire, and yet we do.

It teaches us to question in order to discover. Have you ever had a conversation that was entirely questions and come to a conclusion that brought with it a new understanding not only of some given topic but that before that conversation you were wrong in your absolute knowledge of something.

It’s an incredibly good feeling to discover your entire world view is wrong. Thank you, God, for saving me from dying thinking that was true, and now living knowing that I was wrong. What joy.

It teaches that truth is not absolute and law must be compassionate, to not conclude or convict quickly or harshly and to defer to others as often as possible for most knowledge sought is in truth with others.

But it also teaches how to ask a question and then you learn which questions to ask. And you learn which questions reveal truths by nature of the question.

then no one wishes to discuss with you matters of which they are positive they are correct.

There is nothing wrong with ignorance, for the Talmud loves he who does not know and seeks truth.

Thank God the dog ate my tallit.

So today I was thinking about how too much time had passed, a few days, since I made time to learn and was blessed to understand Torah in a new way.

And then the dog ate my talit. But not my tefillin.

Thank God. I know nothing. I can’t wait to learn how much more of nothing I do not know as I become closer to the source of all and Creation, understanding that I can know more than most people ever will yet when I speak God stutters my speech and numbs my faculties for explaining.

How wonderful to not be expected to have answers and quietly understand so much that is hidden for so many as I do.

Na Na Nach Nachman Nachman Meuman


Glitches in Creation and Time in Escoteric Tradition

As Passover approaches what can we learn about the growing phenomenon of “glitches” in our Matrix caught on camera and shared online?

One possible representation of the tzimzum Credit: The Arc of Tomorrow


Greg Tepper

JTown Times

Judaism is not strictly a religion. It is also philosophy, law, escoteric understandings and perceptions of reality.

On Passover at the Seder meal we Jews celebrate our liberation from the whip of slavery in Egypt. We say “We were slaves in Egypt.” But how can that be? How can someone living today say he was a slave thousands of years ago during the reign of Pharoah?

Jewish tradition teaches we all have  “gilgulim(p)” (גילגולים) (reincarnation from past lives). The word “gilgul(s)” (גלגול) comes from “gal” (גל).

The word “gal” means wave as in perpetual motion and “galgal” means tire, as in around and around we go.
Time in Jewish tradition is not linear. It is circular. We say at Hannukah, “in those days at this this time.”

Our understanding of time is that it continues on but also, in a way, repeats.

The only reason we can perceive time, to advance to the escoteric, is that in creating the physical universe God created the “tzimtzum” or “reduction” so that we could have apparently physical and finite appearance and perceptions, because if God were completely present then we as finite beings and our energy being of a part of His, and He being infinite, would not be able to exist as we do.

Think of the tzimzum as a vortex surrounded by an imperceptible infiniteness. Our known universe. So God “hid” himself so to speak.

Clearly there is a paradox. If God is infinite then how could He limit Himself within the tzimtzum? The how is beyond us but the why – in order to remove Himself so that there would be a finite appearance to us and our world.

Understanding this paradox completely is said to be an impossibility and trying to do so a path to madness.

Time. Time, as we know and understand it, does not exist outside of the tzimtzum because outside the tzimtzum is the infinite, or as we say it in Hebrew, ain sofe (אין סוף) or “there is no end.”

Now as we are imprinted and trained to think in a linear manner we may at first associate “there is no end” with “no ending” but in Jewish tradition “ain sofe” also means “no beginning.”

The tzimtzum, or our physical universe, does have a beginning and if God is accepted as the infinite and unknown source of all then there must be an end for nothing can continue infinitely other than God Himself.

If we look to physics and mathematics we also see that the known universe is expected to contract and collapse upon itself as matter, contrary to our understanding of it, somehow disappears if not transformed. But where would it exist if not in a then non-existent universe?

Outside the tzimtzum, though, time, as we know and understand it and to my limited understanding, does not exist.

If the infinite and without form all is one existence prior to Creation was without time, and let’s add space and gravity, while at the same time having all the potential for those things within it, then that state of existence cannot end.

It always has been and will be, including within the tzimtzum, for that state of existence precedes physical creation.

Most of us, says our tradition, cannot perceive that. Some of us, it says, can. Those are people who are not understood. They are called “Shotim” and include schizophrenics and others who see and hear things beyond the perception of 99 percent of the population who cannot but are conventionally considered as “not connected to reality” or “insane”.

So time outside the tzimtzum both exists and does not, but is not perceptible outside the tzimtzum as it is within, where we exist. That said, the imperceptible infinte not-time must also exists in our physical reality.

So we Jews say we were slaves in Egypt.

We believe that all our souls, part of the infinite Source so then still attached to the Source as God cannot be divided for He is one without beginning or end, were all present at Mt. Sinai when God spoke to the entire nation of Israel before giving the Torah.

He spoke the first commandment and all who heard him died. Then He brought them back. He spoke the second commandment. The same occured. Then all begged for mercy and Moses received the rest on the Mountain.

That experience can be said to be a meeting of God within the tzimtzum and from outside it, with us.

Then why didn’t Moses and the prophets die upon hearing God, or today’s Shotim?

In a way a certain level of insanity is necessary to hear God and live, for what is insanity in the escoteric understanding if not perception and interpretation of the imperceptible, inconsistent with the majority?

God created, we learn in tradition, certain people’s minds to function in this way. Back then they had ways of disciplining the mind. Today we do not, as a whole, and these people are put in hospital and given drugs that cut off dopamine, required to “feel.”

The lack of dopamine doesn’t only stop many people from seeing and hearing it also makes them feel as if they have no self, no connection to anything outside of themselves or sense of being or existence.

So we were slaves in Egypt, at this time in that time, as the time is circular, not overlapping but repeating within the Tzimtzum that holds a paradox of God’s infinite and limited self, all one yet divided but not.

I, as one called schizophrenic, have seen quite literal “glitches” as people”phase” in and out of view, walking through what I understand as a hole in space time.

Because this is the fun part: If all that ever was within finite time exists at the same time and same non-existent space as the undefined existence and non existestence of pre-creation then that second exists simultaneously with the first and all other points of time so minutely measurable they are perceptible only to the One who created it.

For creation by the Infinite follows understanding. So we are all at all times and in all places within and not spacetime, irregularities, the very beginning and end of every black hole and quark and thought and anything that ever was.

But not.

So yes, I would argue, there are glitches in the “Matrix” and yes they are being caught on camera.

For as we play more with technology and introduce it more into our minds and surroundings, be it through neurolink or cameras everywhere or the massive collecting of data online, nothing more than imprinted energy resting then released and represented by energy under glass, it would make sense that we see more of these inconsistencies that only some can perceive and who are called mad.

We have an expression, “sofe ma’aseh, tchilat nachsheva,” (סוף מעשה תחילת מחשבה). ” The end (of) action is the beginning (of) thought.”

The architect must envision the building in thought before creation. Elon Musk has envisioned our future on Mars and probably envisioned his rockets prior to creating SpaceX, we can assume.

Thought is itself creation as electricity connects this and that neuro pathway and we translate the thought to sound, verbalizing it to be shared with others as an idea that they then visualize within their minds.

In the beginning God spoke and created. We speak at the Seder, saying , ” We were slaves in Egypt.”

For yes, I was there. And perhaps so we’re you.

There glitches. Enjoy the ride but beware the rabbit hole. Fir there are agents out there.

Na Nach