“The Yehudi was unwilling to limit Torah to Talmud study alone, but saw Wisdom as something that could be learned from looking inside oneself and then observing the outside world. ‘Once the Yehudi went for a walk with his pupil R. Peretz and saw birds flying and animals pasturing, all the while chirping and making a noise. R. Peretz said to the Yehudi that he would really like to understand their chirping and language. The Yehudi replied that when you really understand the words that you speak, then you will be able to understand the words that they speak.’ ” Tiferet-ha-Yehudi, 152, as found in The Quest for Authenticity: The Thought of Reb Simhah Bunim, Michael Rosen, Urim Publications 2008
“Our spiritual essence is something that cannot be put into words. It is discovered when we stop looking for fulfillment outside of ourselves. It’s about being authentic. Happiness, freedom, passion, inner peace, joy, meaning, purpose, inspiration are all by-products that come through the self realization of alignment with our true essence in this moment.” As recited by my yoga teacher, Kadi Harari, after our yoga practice this week.
The Baal Shem Tov taught that each of our lives comprises 42 journeys, corresponding to the 42 journeys the Children of Israel experienced in their 40 years in the wilderness. Some of these journeys have pleasant names. Others don’t sound so nice. But none are inherently bad. It is only that you may have to dig deeper and deeper to find the purpose and the good within them.
With deep gratitude, here is the link to my TED talk at TEDxJerusalem 2015:
Yiscah’s 40-year memoir details her joys and struggles with her own spirituality, gender identity, and commitment to living true to herself. The story she tells is one of a man, facing his truth, embracing the woman she was always meant to be, and returning to her faith with wholeness and authenticity. Her story must be told. It is important for everyone to hear and will hopefully inspire and empower many others who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to wholeness in their lives.
For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of the book: You can order the hardcover or paperback edition, or download the e-Kindle version, through Amazon.com. The link is:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K8EVDIG
FASCINATING conversation with Yiscah Smith on The Mottle Wolfe Show, on Voice of Israel. “Smith sees her journey not just as one of gender, but of a quest for spiritual understanding and a hunt for authenticity.”