Friday, May 07, 2010

This oil is slick

Volcanic ash dissipates quicker than crude oil. Well, at least that's what authorities in the U.S. are learning this week. We were all so busy gaping at the European air-travel shut-down that we missed the “minor” explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Well, now Heathrow is operational and the oil spill is no longer so minor.

The facts are staggering. Almost 800 000 litres of oil spews daily from the burst well into the ocean. Coast Guard planes have already dumped over 500 000 litres of chemicals onto the spill, which can't be great for the environment either. And the gooey slick has already overwhelmed two wildlife refuges on uninhabited islands as it threatens hundreds of species of marine and bird life in the area. Experts propose that massive oil globules could contaminate entire food chains beneath the surface. Special boats scoot out each morning to try suck oil off the sea or simply set sections of the dark liquid alight. BP is scurrying to drop a massive concrete/steel box over the burst oil-well to contain the flow. U.S. Homeland Security admitted this week that they will be dealing with a “long-term” disaster.

Basically, it's clear that oil doesn't go away easily.

Torah is called water. You need water to survive, but it’s unlikely you'll drink it for its taste. Knowing what you need to do as a Jew will keep you on the right path, but may not inspire you. Our Sages suggest adding some wine to your diet. Wine is a pleasure-drink. You can survive without it, but it makes life more enjoyable. Learning the why’s behind the what’s of Judaism helps bring your Judaism to life. (Ta’am is the Hebrew world for both reason and flavour, implying that understanding the reasons behind what you know makes it more palatable.)

Mysticism is called the oil of Torah. You shouldn’t swig oil straight from the bottle, but it does wonders for a salad and is useful to cook and fry with. Jewish mysticism on an “empty stomach” (or mind) might make you ill, but added to the Judaism you already know, it creates a paradigm shift.

More importantly, once you get that “oil” into your system, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get it out. Once you’ve tasted the inspiration of Jewish spiritual teachings, most notably Chassidus, Judaism will seep into your mind and heart. BP drillers unleashed a powerful jet of pollution that they are struggling to control. Imagine if you could unleash an equally powerful stream from your soul? Study Chassidus on a regular basis and your Judaism will gush to life.

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