Sunday, April 19, 2009

Introduction (6)

Part 6: Rimonim, Chests of Rubies

Ever since a child, I have been taken by the sheer beauty of ripe pomegranates (انار). That dark-red, translucent, juicy flesh, called the “aril”, which belies the hardness of the white seed inside, shines so brightly, like a polished piece of jewelry, and it fills me with joy and an ethereal pleasure. It’s a constant delight to graciously hold one in the light, marvel at its perfection of color and texture, enjoy its soft touch, feel a rich man for a brief moment — before passing it on from the eyes to the teeth. It could taste punishingly sour, deliciously sweet, or somewhere in between, and the white seed would invariably taste bitter. Yet, it’s the enduring memory of that fleeting beauty which makes the experience linger, long after the taste has faded away. Fortunately, there’s more left in the chest to behold…

Monday, April 13, 2009

Introduction (5)

Part 5: Pardess, a Global Nexus

In pardess, the past and the present, the East and the West, the Heavens and the Earth, ‎converge. Pardess reminds us constantly of the material origins of the idea of a Paradise; ‎of how the latter word and concept, in some ways common to virtually all cultures today, began life in the beautiful gardens of an ancient Persian Empire. In the process, by the mere use of this word, the Hebrew Bible has also made the memory of some rare good days in the Jewish Diaspora indelible from the pages of history.

Thus, for an Iranian-American-Jewish person, this single Hebrew word can find much significance not only as an imprint of many centuries of the Diaspora and the influence of other cultures, but also as an homage and gratitude toward man’s kindness, paid via beauty, elegance, grace and inspiration.

In one word, languages intersect, cultures overlap, memories unfold. In one word, we say to the world our history—our story.