Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maybe this is why debts need to be wiped out every 50 years

A Haifa man in his 50s lit himself on fire at a rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night marking the one-year anniversary of the social justice movement. Moshe Sliman was homeless and had been living in Tel Aviv’s tent city for three weeks before immolating himself in front of a large crowd. According to witnesses, Silman walked out of a building on Kaplan Street and read aloud a suicide note. He then passed out copies of the note before dousing himself with flammable liquid and setting his body on fire. Nearby demonstrators threw water on Silman, and he was taken by Magen David Adom crews to Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center in critical condition.

Silman was later transferred to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. On Sunday morning, the director of the burn unit, Dr. Yossi Haik, said Silman was in critical condition and in danger of death, with burns covering over 94 percent of his body. The note that Silman distributed before setting himself on fire identified him by name and social security number. It stated that he had done his reserve duty for the army until the age of 46, but once he was unable to work, “the State ..[].. robbed me of everything and left me with nothing.”

Jubilee in the Torah.

Edward Jones on plotting a story


Once something comes to you, what’s a good and proper resolution? I remember when I knew there was going to be something substantial with “The Known World,” I took my mind as far ahead in the story as I could to create a resolution, create a climactic moment.
And I said before that you read some people’s novels — not necessarily the stories, because you can deal with that in a shorter period of time — but in novels, I think people sometimes they wake up with these wonderful ideas and they go ahead with them. They never think about how everything is going to resolve. So, then two-thirds tend to be wonderful because they had all this inspiration. And the latter third is rather flat because they ran out of inspiration, and because they didn’t know where it was going to end up. The resolution should always be in your mind. There are times when you just won’t have the energy, and the resolution should be like a star in the sky to guide you. You might run out of food and water but you can still keep crawling towards that star.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tolstoy on Wisdom in War and Peace

Pierre's lesson:

“The supreme wisdom is based not on reason alone, not on the secular sciences of physics, history, chemistry, and so on, into which rational knowledge is divided. The higher knowledge has one science—the science of the all, the science that explains the whole universe and the place man occupies in it. To contain this science, it is necessary to purify and renew one’s inner man, and thus before one can know, one must believe and perfect oneself. And to achieve that, a divine light, called conscience, has been put in our soul.” “Yes, yes,” Pierre agreed. “Look at your inner man with spiritual eyes and ask if you are pleased with yourself. What have you achieved, being guided by reason alone? What are you? You are young, you are rich, you are educated, my dear sir. What have you done with all these good things that have been given you? Are you content with yourself and your life?” “No, I hate my life,” Pierre said, wincing. “If you hate it, change it, purify yourself, and insofar as you purify yourself, you will learn wisdom. Look at your life, my dear sir. How have you been spending it? In riotous orgies and depravity, taking everything from society and giving it nothing. You received wealth. How have you used it? What have you done for your neighbor? Have you thought about the tens of thousands of your slaves, have you helped them physically and morally? No. You have used their labor in order to lead a debauched life. That is what you have done. Have you chosen some position in which you could be useful to your neighbor? No. You have been spending your life in idleness. Then, my dear sir, you married, taking upon yourself the responsibility for guiding a young woman, and what did you do? You did not help her, my dear sir, to find the path of truth, you hurled her into an abyss of deceit and misfortune. A man insulted you, and you shot him, and you say that you do not know God and hate your life. That is no wonder, my dear sir!”

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson

‘And is that all they stand for – being ashamed of being Jewish?’ ‘Whoa!’ She laid a hand on his arm. ‘You’re not allowed to say that. It’s not Jews they’re ashamed of being. It’s Israel. Palestine. Whatever.’ ‘So are they Israelis?’ ‘You know Sam is not an Israeli. He won’t even go there.’ ‘I meant the others.’ ‘I don’t know about all of them, but they’re actors and comedians and those I’ve heard of certainly aren’t Israelis.’

‘So how can they be ashamed? How can you be ashamed of a country that’s not yours?’ Treslove truly was puzzled. ‘It’s because they’re Jewish.’ ‘But you said they’re not ashamed of being Jewish.’ ‘Exactly. But they’re ashamed as Jews.’ ‘Ashamed as Jews of a country of which they are not citizens . . .?’ Tyler laid a hand on his arm again. ‘Look,’ she said, ‘what do we know? I think you’ve got to be one to get it.’ ‘Be one what? One of the ASHamed?’ ‘A Jew. You’ve got to be a Jew to get why you’re ashamed of being a Jew.’

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Creativity, Authority and the Nadav and Avihu story

The story of Nadav and Avihu is a troubling one. Immediately after the Torah tells about the dedication ceremony for the tabernacle, we are told how two of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu, bring an unsanctioned offering and as a result, they die.

א וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי-אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ, וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ, וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ, קְטֹרֶת; וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, אֵשׁ זָרָה--אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה, אֹתָם. ב וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה, וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם; וַיָּמֻתוּ, לִפְנֵי יְהוָהג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, הוּא אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר יְהוָה לֵאמֹר בִּקְרֹבַי אֶקָּדֵשׁ, וְעַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָעָם, אֶכָּבֵד; וַיִּדֹּם, אַהֲרֹן

1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Then Moses said unto Aaron: 'This is it that the LORD spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.' And Aaron held his peace.

In the Talmud, the story was read as one demonstrating the importance of accepting the Torah's authority in its totality, and as a polemic against the the initiation of unsanctioned, spontaneous and creative ways in the Service of God. Nadav and Avihu, R Eliezer says in Eruvin 63, are punished for introducing a new Halacha in front of their teacher Moses:

ר"א אומר לא מתו בני אהרן עד שהורו הלכה בפני משה רבן

The Midrash demurs, quoting Rebbi Pinchas in the name of Rebbi Levi as saying that the only hint we have as to their wrong-doing is the command given to Aaron immediately after their death - the command not to enter the sanctuary intoxicated. Nadav and Avihu died because they entered the sanctuary in an improper state of mind.

אין אנו יודעים מפני מה מתו, אלא ממה שמצוה את אהרן ואמר לו (שם י): יין ושכר אל תשת אנו יודעין מתוך כך שלא מתו, אלא מפני היין

The vast majority of biblical commentators over two millenia have favored the Talmud's interpretation. The defense of the Midrash is led by Rashi's grandson - the Rashbam.

The Talmud's approach - the argument that Nadav and Avihu were punished for innovation and disregard for Moses' authority - has been championed by commentators offering various permutations on this idea. Two compelling ones are summarized in 7 years of Parsha discussions with Yeshayahu Leibowitz.

The Baal Haturim, for example, reads אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה (not commanded) as meaning אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה - לֹא (commanded - no). Nadav and Avihu had actually been commanded to not do what they did.

A more subtle explanation is quoted in the Netziv, who understood their actions not as being specifically contrary to God's Will, but rather as unwarranted creativity. Such creativity - the spontaneous decision to offer an unsanctioned offering - was a paradigmatic example of a more general problem of spontaneity in the Service of God. Without the structure and limitation provided by the Commanded rituals, the Divine Service is at risk of degenerating into a self gratifying service-of-self. To strengthen the point, the Netziv is quoted as explaining the double reference to "Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu" (at the start of the story) as being superfluous were it not for them having been commanded to serve God as Aaron's sons, but actually having acted for themselves.

For the Talmud, this story is about the key moment in Service of God being when a person readily accepts the obligation of Torah and Mitzvot. Any approach to God outside this framework risks idolatry because it can degenerate into service-of-self, and not Service of God. For the Talmud's followers, it is the pursuit of a spiritual experience outside the Torah by Nadav and Avihu that is punished by death. Their sin was - at best - assuming they had the right to create a new way of Serving God; at worst - pure disregard for a prohibition - and maybe idolatry.

For all the considerable strengths of these Talmud-based approaches, the end of the same chapter poses a challenge to this message. Here, regarding eating of the Sin Offering, Moses is upset by what he initially thinks is a mistake on Aaron's part, but Aaron then convinces him that it was not a mistake:

טז וְאֵת שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת, דָּרֹשׁ דָּרַשׁ מֹשֶׁה--וְהִנֵּה שֹׂרָף; וַיִּקְצֹף עַל-אֶלְעָזָר וְעַל-אִיתָמָר, בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן, הַנּוֹתָרִם, לֵאמֹר יז מַדּוּעַ, לֹא-אֲכַלְתֶּם אֶת-הַחַטָּאת בִּמְקוֹם הַקֹּדֶשׁ--כִּי קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים, הִוא; וְאֹתָהּ נָתַן לָכֶם, לָשֵׂאת אֶת-עֲו‍ֹן הָעֵדָה, לְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה יח הֵן לֹא-הוּבָא אֶת-דָּמָהּ, אֶל-הַקֹּדֶשׁ פְּנִימָה; אָכוֹל תֹּאכְלוּ אֹתָהּ בַּקֹּדֶשׁ, כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוֵּיתִי יט וַיְדַבֵּר אַהֲרֹן אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, הֵן הַיּוֹם הִקְרִיבוּ אֶת-חַטָּאתָם וְאֶת-עֹלָתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, וַתִּקְרֶאנָה אֹתִי, כָּאֵלֶּה; וְאָכַלְתִּי חַטָּאת הַיּוֹם, הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה כ וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה, וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו
16 And Moses diligently inquired for the goat of the sin-offering, and, behold, it was burnt; and he was angry with Eleazar and with Ithamar, the sons of Aaron that were left, saying: 17 'Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin-offering in the place of the sanctuary, seeing it is most holy, and He hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? 18 Behold, the blood of it was not brought into the sanctuary within; ye should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.' 19 And Aaron spoke unto Moses: 'Behold, this day have they offered their sin-offering and their burnt-offering before the LORD, and there have befallen me such things as these; and if I had eaten the sin-offering to-day, would it have been well-pleasing in the sight of the LORD? 20 And when Moses heard that, it was well-pleasing in his sight.
The Talmud teaches in Zevachim 101 B, that Moses here concedes to Aaron he "was not ashamed to say he had not heard this (law), but rather that he had heard it and had forgotten":

לא בוש משה לומר לא שמעתי אלא שמעתי ושכחתי
His mistake was an example of his great humility. But if Nadav and Avihu sinned because they felt that Torah and Mitzvot as they had received them were not enough, the Talmudic reading to the Nadav and Avihu story - as one of accepting of Torah and Mitzvot as we receive them seems compromised. Because if Moses himself can err, mistakes in what we receive from our teachers are not impossible. How, then, can the lesson of the Nadav and Avihu story be unconditional obedience?*

This problem might be the reason why the Midrash argues that the only hint we have regarding Nadav and Avihu's wrong-doing is the commandment - given to Aaron immediately after the tragedy - to not drink wine before entering the sanctuary. If that Mitzvah is the only hint as to their wrong-doing, then for the Midrash there are no clues regarding Nadav's and Avihu's motivations in bringing the unsanctioned sacrifice. Rebellion or innovation on their part are therefore (implicitly) rejected.

But if the Midrash insists that it wasn't rebellion or creativity that motivated Nadav and Avihu, why did they do what they did? And why does the Talmud insist that it is rebellion and creativity?

Perhaps it is the flow of the verses that invites the reader to speculate: Their unsanctioned offering comes immediately after the sanctioned one, and the second Divine Fire (in which they die) is described in the same terms as the first Divine Fire (which consumes the offering). There is an implied link, and the Torah's silence on its specific nature invites us to try and find our own reasons for their actions - rebellion and creativity are plausible options.

But the Rashbam did not feel compelled to read between the lines and look for wrong-doing. Working with the principle that the Torah does not describe things in chronological order, he sees the Nadav and Avihu story as happening at the same time as the story that precedes it. For Rashbam, Nadav and Avihu mistakenly think they are supposed to bring their offering, and because on that particular day this was not the case, they fatally place themselves in the path of the Divine fire that consumes the sanctioned offering. The Divine fire that consumed the public offering is the same fire that caused their death. There was no creativity here, no act of rebellion. They were only in the wrong place, at the wrong time. The sanctuary is certainly not a place where there is room for error, but error is what it was. For the Rashbam, all we can say here is that it was a tragic accident.

So whilst for the Talmud and many who followed it, this story was the paridigm for unconditional obedience and the shunning of creativity, for the Midrash and the Rashbam, it was not. And we have compelling reasons to read it both ways.

The Netziv's continuation of the Talmudic explanation (described above) was given in the 19th century: tensions between the new Hassidic movement and the Mitnagdim were very high. Hassidism's emphasis on emotion and not Torah study upset many, who saw this as unsanctioned creativity and that risked service-of-self. Prior to this, the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 required creative theological responses to the new reality and Lurianic Kabala successfully offered many new meaning in a chaos filled world. But its radical idea of Divine Contraction was seen at the time by others to be superfluous and possibly even contrary to Torah and Mitzvot. For centuries prior to this, Jewish Mysticism and Jewish Rationalism had been disagreeing on major issues within Judaism. Creativity was always needed to meet new historical conditions, and always had potential to threaten the established order.

It is not my intention here to imply that Rashbam was taking a position in favor of any of the historical debates that would come centuries after his work. He does not mention the Midrash in his commentary either, and even though his position collaborates with its argument, he is guided by a literal (pshat) reading of the text. What this post is arguing is that perhaps, in the different approaches to creativity and authority that we find in the Nadav and Avihu story, we can see the seeds of both sides of some of the great debates in Jewish history.

The two stories juxtaposed so close to each other invite comparison. They both involve independent action on the one hand, and tension with Halachic authority on the other. And yet it is the differences that exist between Aaron's refraining from eating the Sin offering, and Nadav and Avihu's decision to offer an unsanctioned sacrifice that might throw light on how the Talmudic approach to the Nadav and Avihu story would read the Moses and Aaron discussion.

Firstly, in comparing the two stories, one must note that Aaron was right. Moses asked for an explanation and accepted it when it was given. Aaron was following the letter of the law. Nadav and Avihu were not. Another observation is that the disagreement in one case is intra-generational - Moses and Aaron are brothers, but with Nadav and Avihu it is inter-generational. If the Talmud is looking for lessons in Halachic creativity, it could learn that innovation in Halacha has to be built on the firm ground of previous generation's work. For the Talmud, Nadav and Avihu's innovation was outside the Halachic framework; Aaron's was inside it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Betzalel and Moses in the Talmud: Berachot 55 a explained by an Industrial Designer

FASCINATING Aggada about artistic creativity and trusting others to do things for you - in the name of Samuel B. Nahmani (Berachot 55a).

Initially quite baffling, but then explained to me from the perspective of an industrial designer:

Moses reverses the order that God told him to build things in. God says make a tabernacle, make an ark, make the vessels. Moses says to Bezalel: make an ark, make the vessel and make the tabernacle. Bezalel says to Moses - Might not God have said to make things the other way round? How can you make vessels without a container to put them in? Moses says, perhaps you were in the shadow of God and knew.

After talking to an industrial designer used to dealing with orders that often need further discussion - a compelling explanation:

Moses reverses the order that God told him to build things in. God had said - make a tabernacle (first), make an ark(second), make the vessels (third). But Moses says to Bezalel: make an ark (first not second), make the vessel (second not third) and make the tabernacle (third not first). (This is because Moses assumes responsibility for the whole Mitzvah and is asking Bezalel for the individual parts so that he can create the whole himself). Bezalel says to Moses - Might not God have said to make things the other way round? How can you make vessels without a container to put them in? (showing Moses that he too has a grasp of the whole). Moses says, perhaps you were in the shadow of God (Betzal e-l) and knew (saw the whole picture).

Thanks T.S.

Saturday night notes: Perhaps also thinking about the story in the Talmud this way gives us two hints on why the discussion of Moses' instructions to Bezalel are located right before the story of the Golden Calf. There is a double parallel - on the one hand Moses has to trust someone else to run the show - first Bezalel will be taking care of the tabernacle, ark and vessels, and with the Golden Calf story it is Aaron who is left in charge of the people while Moses goes up the mountain. And on the other hand, whatever it was specifically that the people do wrong (lengthy discussion on whether it was idolatry or not amongst biblical commentators), what is not beyond dispute is that a physical object was created that was described by the Torah as a Great Sin. The start of the parsha also has physical objects that are that are Divinely sanctioned. If this is indeed one of the reasons why the stories of the Golden Calf and of Moses' instructions to Bezalel are next to each other, it is also interesting to think about what it is that makes the two types of objects different. Of course, God commands the one and not the other, but on another level, the vessels, ark and tabernacle all have a utility, whereas the Golden Calf didn't, it was just a symbol. Perhaps that is also a hint towards how to serve God - to look for His help in daily activities and not to try and pin down theological concepts that describe Him.

Final comment on Aaron's statement to Moses: "then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf". At lunch today I said to my host - "The Salmon came out great! And she said - it went in great!". Her point was, it was planned. Aaron might be saying here, this wasn't in my control.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Truma 5772: Rabbi Chaim Brovender on why there are two narratives about building the mishkan (tabernacle)

It's worth listening to here.

The basic question is: Why do we need the repetition of the tabernacle narrative in Vayahkel and Pekudei, if we have it in Terumah and Tezaveh? What does the repetition add?

In short, Rav Brovender's own idea is that there are two narratives in the Torah. What was, and what could have been. With regards to the tabernacle, the two narratives are separated by the sin of the Golden Calf. Even if chronologically, the building of the tabernacle does come after the sin of the Golden Calf, the placing of the first narrative before it is indicative of what should have been - a tabernacle built straight after the Revelation at Sinai. The second narrative indicates that it was built on the back of the Sin of the Golden Calf.

Also at the end a moving link to depression, hope and Rebbi Nachman from Breslev. Sometimes we find ourselves in a state of mind that is like a child, full of hope and innocence, and other times we find ourselves connecting to a darker past, even depressed. This is the tension with which one might read the tabernacle narratives, aware of what was and what should be. Rebbi Nachman, who may have suffered from depression, taught - Asur Lehityaesh - it is prohibited to give up hope. It's a prohibition, just like driving a car on Shabat. Not just good advice. What should be - must be the driving force in our lives.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

God, Torah and Israel - Midrash Raba on Teruma (Hebrew)

אמר הקב"ה לישראל: מכרתי לכם תורתי, כביכול נמכרתי עמה, שנאמר: ויקחו לי תרומה

משל למלך, שהיה לו בת יחידה. בא אחד מן המלכים ונטלה. ביקש לילך לו לארצו וליטול לאשתו

אמר לו: בתי שנתתי לך יחידית היא, לפרוש ממנה איני יכול, לומר לך אל תטלה איני יכול, לפי שהיא אשתך, אלא זו טובה עשה לי, שכל מקום שאתה הולך, קיטון אחד עשה לי שאדור אצלכם, שאיני יכול להניח את בתי.

אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל: נתתי לכם את התורה, לפרוש הימנה איני יכול, לומר לכם אל תטלוה איני יכול, אלא בכל מקום שאתם הולכים, בית אחד עשו לי שאדור בתוכו, שנאמר: ועשו לי מקדש:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rather be the Tail of a Lion than the Head of a Fox

What did Rav Matyah Ben Cheresh mean when he said "better be the tail of a lion than the head of a fox" in Avot 4:20?

Was he saying it is better to accept a lower position in a bigger company than a higher position in a smaller one? Better be a small part of a huge project rather than lead a smaller one?

I used to think so, but recently I'm thinking his statement is about religious faith and serving God.

Rav Matyah can be read to be saying that whatever is done with the wrong intention, i.e. for something other than serving God, is like being the head of a fox. But the most mundane of activities, if done for the service of God, is like being the tail of a lion.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


If the 10 Commandments are the most powerful symbol of the Jewish contribution to Western morality, could the preceding story about Yitro - a non Jewish priest who both recognizes the Jewish God and also offers advice about how Moshe should be running his judicial system - be the Torah's way of telling us to be open to wisdom from gentiles? There is in the story of Yitro's meeting Moshe both the preservation of Jewish identity and the accepting of advice from someone outside the Jewish faith. Had the Torah wanted to relay a pro-Wisdom-in-all-its-forms-and-sources message, it might explain why it specifically places this story before the 10 commandments. The message seems to be not to be closed off to Wisdom from the outside...

On the other hand, there is a strong (unanimous?) tradition in Rabbinic literature that Yitro converted. What converted means specifically in the context of Israelites in the desert is not clear at all, but the word "Vayichad" would support this reading. The question then of why the story of Yitro precedes the 10 Commandments can still be partially answered by pointing to openness to external Wisdom, but Yitro's conversion in and of itself would suggest more than that.

Perhaps, just as we read about Ruth before we celebrate receiving the Torah on Shavuot, so too right before the 10 Commandments we tell the story of Yitro. Both these people freely chose to join the Israelites -- a powerful example for those born into a life where Torah is taught to them before they can actually choose it for themselves.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Anger management

If I told you that you had won the lottery and handed you the winning ticket, would it change your mood? What if someone that very next minute said something obnoxious, someone close to you, talking to you in a hurtful way. Something really obnoxious and shallow. Would you get angry? Would you have the strength to ignore it? Would you at least be able to control the explosion? Maybe contain it instead of letting it blow away that good feeling of having won the lottery?

The point is that without a purpose to your life, you won't be able to. Without meaning, which is outside the current situation, but has the power to help you see the situation differently, you won't be able to get through the day.

Orthodox Judaism teaches that life has a huge purpose. Serving God.

The idea of serving God is not appealing to a person who doesn't feel they benefit from such an activity. But for people who do see the value in Serving God, people for who service of God is a live, flowing experience of His Holiness, for such winners of the spiritual lottery there is a way to handle anger. Because just as a man would be a fool to burn his winning lottery ticket, so too would he be a fool to burn up his relationship to God.

A princess was in love with a peasant. But the king wanted her to marry a prince from a far away land. It would help build the kingdom. The princess wanted to please her father but she loved the peasant.

One night she ran away. She gave it all up and ran. The king was distraught but the princess, knowing this would be so, had left him a letter saying - There was a fire raging but I'll be back.

It was raining heavily. She ran through the night, swamps, mud, sewage. Finally, she arrived. The bridge under which the peasant lived was safe. She married him. She wanted to bring him back to the palace. But the peasant said it would cause a fire and they must wait. So they lived under the bridge, and waited.

Sometimes there is no way to change another person immediately. But over time, quiet persistence might accomplish what a thousand battle ships could not.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Master and his Emissary - Iain McGilchrist

I have been reading and thinking about psychiatry and psychology a lot lately. Reading The Master and His Emissary makes me think about mind as something that is distinct from experience. Experience itself is consciousness-enabled, and consciousness -- that intangible mystery -- seems to me to most clearly the breath of God. That means I have God in me. Not sure if thats OK to say. But it makes sense on so many levels. Reading this book, written by one of the world's leading psychiatrists -- leads me to what seems like a rational conclusion: the purpose of life is to serve God. Consciousness must meet that Other Great Intangible - God.