Part 2: The Death of Sheker HaChein, the Spirit of St. Louis
In 1242 in the streets of Paris, France on the Friday before Parshat Chukat, 24 cartloads of Talmuds were burnt in a wild conflagration of flames decreed by one of the 365 Principle Saints of the Roman Catholic Church. His name was Louis IXth, King of France also known as St. Louis. Forty days earlier on the exact same spot at the urging of the Jews of France, copies of the RaMBaM's works Sefer HaMada (The Book of Science) and Guide for the Perplexed (Moreh Nevuchim) were burnt. Apparently the Jews of 13th Century France had a serious problem with the confluence between Torah and Science and Aristotelian logic being used to prove the existence of G-d. The Rambam (Moshe Maimonides) was known in both spheres to the consternation of many. So they had the Catholic Church burn his books. Forty days later on Erev Shabbat Parshat Chukat, all the Talmuds in France with rare hand-written Tosefot in the margins were burned on the exact same spot. So for burning the books of the Rambam, the greatest logical sage and codifier of Jewish Law since Moshe Rabbeinu, G-d looked down from Heaven and said Zot Chukat haTorah, and the Jewish community of France was destroyed for hundreds of years without one drop of blood being spilled. You see, it was only the Talmud that was burned that day. Read Kinah 41 from your Tisha B'Av Machzor. I did it several times sitting in the shadow of the St. Louis Art Museum at the same spot that Scott Joplin played the "The Cascades" on the promenade for the 1904 Worlds Fair. (Some say that he only performed on The Pike at the Worlds Fair because he was a black man. I will have to check with the MO Historical Society. But the song "The Cascades" was about the waterfall that flowed from where the statue of St. Louis sits today.) Right next to the 110 year old promenade, there is a statue to the Talmud burner himself, sitting on a horse sitting in front of the Art Museum....A fitting climax to a dying city. Before the city (St. Louis) built that statue of the Talmud burner whose name it bears, it knew no pitfalls. From the moment that that statue graced the the 1904 World's fairgrounds of Forest Park, it was downhill from there. Such is the fate of those who curse G-d's chosen and burn His precious library of books. It is kind of funny how the Catholic University in town, St. Louis University, has a Talmudic Law section in their School of Law. jokes on us I guess, or Louis the IXth is turning over in his grave.
I grew up in S. Louis, and I happen to know a lot of very deep stuff about the Spirit of St. Louis from my personal experiences, living there almost all of the first 43 years of my life. I understand why the collapse of American Civilization as we have all known it for most of our lives, and for the last 238 years, had to begin in St. Louis at the precise moment that the Vav is being attached to HaShem's Name in the World of Yetzirah from Tisha B'Av until the 24th of Elul, 5774. The shooting death of Michael Brown occurred on the 13th of Av. It has to do with the Death of Sheker HaChein which is the true spirit of St. Louis (both the city and the 13th century Talmud burner after whom the city is named). Here is a chart which talks about the Filling of the Four Universes. Notice that the universe of Yetzirah in the year of our Redemption is filled between the 10th of Av and the 24th of Elul. I discussed why 5774 was that year that the Vav was attached in the Comments section of the previous post and in several other posts on this blog in the past year.
Yes, it is Midah keNeged Mida, but it is a lot, lot more. It is the beginning of the end of using "popularity" as an international religion to beat our unacceptance by Mankind over our heads. That "dark" religion has ancient and Medieval lords and ladies who practiced it like a Stradivarius. The principle Medieval practitioner was King Louis the IXth of France who never spilled Jewish blood, but used a form of psychological warfare against Klal Yisrael in France. He recognized that the tenacious hold of the minority Jewish people to her Torah lay in the learning of the Oral Torah because only Israel learned the Oral Torah and lived by it. It is our attachment to Sinai explaining all that might be inexplicable in the Written Torah alone. It is what makes us distinct from the Xtian world since the Oral Torah was never translated into Greek for the World to learn. By burning 24 cartloads of our precious Talmuds, he then could press on with a "popularity" campaign to get all the Jews in France to convert to Roman Catholicism in order to be loved by all. King Louie "loved" us so much while hating Judaism so much, that whenever he caught a Jewish fish in his net, he was the star guest at that Jew's conversion to that oh so popular religion of that time. Nothing has really changed so much since that time 800 years ago. The Catholic Church in St. Louis did the same with every Jew who moved there in the 19th Century. It is in the credo for the St. Louis Old Cathedral in downtown St. Louis, to follow in the path of their patron saint, King Louis IXth of France which would mean to show love to every Jew who chose to abandon his Holy Torah for the faith in the Church and its mangod. In order to cement its mission in 1834, a Jewish architect was commissioned to design the portico over the entrance to the New Church being constructed on Church property. Bishop Rosati, St. Louis, Missouri's first bishop, wanted to let future Jewish residents know that they had a home in the Church. So he wanted Yud Key Vav Key in Hebrew carved in stone over the entrance to the Church along with some gobblety gook about a triune god. The Jewish architect knew that he could not put the Name of HaShem on a Church to welcome Jews to shmad themselves by worshiping a triune god. So he filled in the Heys and made them Chets. So instead of Yud and then Hey and then Vav Hey above the portico, to this very day one finds Yud Chet Vav Chet. That was a link.
Now here is the kicker. The riots really started on the 13th of Av 5774 right after the final attachment of the Vav in HaShem's Name began to be manifest in Olam HaYetzirah according to the chart of the Arizal (link above) on the 10th of Av. Keep in mind since the Vav represents the emotional Sefirot of absolute Emeth in the world, it is the emotional sefirot of Sheker of Charm that needed and would be subsequently destroyed. The destruction began in Ferguson, Missouri. Why of all of St. Louis's suburbs would this process of destruction begin in Ferguson? In order to understand this, you have to know migration patterns of various ethnic groups as they left the inner core of the City of St. Louis itself. The Jews for instance started out in West slightly northwest City and went due west all the way out to the West County suburbs of University City, Olivette, Ladue, Creve Coeur, Chesterfield and beyond. As Jews assimilated into the non-Jewish population, they moved into Ballwin and a bunch of other West County suburbs. The German ethnics started out in South St. Louis and they by and large migrated toward the south to Oakville and into the Lindbergh School District in Southwest County in places like Mehlville and Sunset Hills. Now how about the original French Catholic founders. Where did they eventually run away to in their mad dash toward white flight? Well they went and founded their own suburbs. Normandy and most notably Florissant in far North St. Louis County. Note: Florissant is actually a really old suburb becasue like St. Louis it was founded in the 18th Century too. Florissant today probably has greater percentage of Catholics than most places in St. Louis and represents the Chein of French Catholic migration out of the city because it is the far northern suburb in North St. Louis County. Chein is usually external, and the Sheker is that it really represents the internal core of a person. So the streets leading from the City of St. Louis to the beautiful French Catholic city of Florissant represent that inner core. The main street that stretches all the way from the City of St. Louis to Florissant is West Florissant Road. There is another street named Florissant Road that gets it start in the City of Normandy off Natural Bridge Road, but it does not stretch all the way from the City of St. Louis itself. West Florissant Road therefore connects the inner core of the City of St. Louis with its shiny suburb of Florissant at its northern end. Right in the middle amongst all the devastation of all the rioting is Ferguson, Missouri. Here is the general map of the area on Google Maps. Now you think this through, and you tell me what is being judged here.
Here are some more associated thoughts on how the modern St. Louis Metro Area represents the idea of Sheker HaChein that I have posted in the Comments sections of other posts:
1. And alas at what time in one's life is Popularity a god to every person who goes through that rite of passage. Well if one goes to a public or even secular private high school, that is the time in one's life where there is absolutely nothing more important than "Popularity". There is an old joke about St. Louis that St. Louisans like to tell. When you go to a party in St. Louis, what is the first question that a stranger might ask you in order to get to know you? "What High School did you go to?" What an odd question! Have you ever heard such a thing before, such a quirk about a major American city? It is because no one ever leaves that "popularity" scene in St. Louis. It imbues the lives of all who live there with a falsity of what is really important leaving a dark, empty core that is never filled.
As I just wrote a friend who still lives there: The Spirit of St. Louis is to be like a high school cheerleader, popular with adoring fans. It is why wherever you go the first question you are asked is, "What High School did you go to?" During the course of one's life, high school is the place that Popularity is a god more than any other time in one's life. It is the Falsehood of Charm. Charming, Popular and Vain on the outside with a dark empty core. I guess that Obamanation's movement where the rampaging "natives" start to takeover the country had to start right there. So bizarre, but it turns out that St. Louis is that place.
2. It is also why Chassidut can't get a foot in the door in St. Louis. The feminine side of the evil inclination (the yetzer hara) is too strong in St. Louis to allow for the feminine side of the yetzer hatov (Chassidut) to even have a foothold. So the only form of Torah that makes it in St. Louis is the Litwak, more masculine form (Aish HaTorah, Rav Schach, etc.). The Lubavitcher Rebbe saw this, and he never sent a powerhouse Shaliach to St. Louis seeing that sowing the seeds of Chabad Chassidut in St. Louis is really a waste of time. This does not mean that there is not a wonderful Chabad Rabbi in St. Louis. There is, but in a metro area where there were once 60,000 Jews, why was it when I left at least so difficult to get a minyan at the Chabad House on Shabbat when the Agudath Israel next door and the Young Israel across the street were burgeoning at the seams? It is because the feminine side of the yetzer hara is so strong in the St. Louis area, that only the masculine side of the yetzer hatov can flourish.
3. There was a great playwright from St. Louis. His name was Tennessee Williams. He wrote a hallmark play called, The Glass Menagerie.
It is worth watching in order to have a deeper insight of this phenomenon of popularity as a god. As a St. Louisan himself he had a deep appreciation of this sickness in this semi-autobiographical play. What is fascinating about the play from a Jewish perspective is that the gentleman caller (Kirk Douglass in this version with Laura's part played by Jane Wyman) was voted "most likely to succeed" at Soldan High School in the play. Any Jew from S. Louis will tell you that before University City High School being the center of Jewish life in St.Louis, Soldan High School in the Carey Patch neighborhood of West/Northwest St. Louis was where all the Jews went to high school,...including my own father who graduated from Soldan in the graduating class of 1941.
To paraphrase Laura's mother in the play: "Way back down in Jackson, MS as a young lady growing up I once had 18 gentleman callers in one evening while at a summer party." You see, Laura in the play is not pre-disposed to having any gentleman callers whatsoever, but because her mother was obsessed with her own popularity as a young debutante, she was obsessed with the popularity of her own daughter. That drove Tom (Tennessee Williams) crazy and out of St. Louis at the end of the play.
Again, the point of all these examples is NOT for the purpose of bashing St. Louis in its hour of distress. It is to show why the destruction in Ferguson is a spiritually global event for the End of Days. With the attachment of the Vav in HaShem's Name to the Yud and the Key during this past Av, the process of destruction of Sheker HaChein could begin to be accomplished. The destruction of this "collective" yetzer hara which causes billions of people to go astray because of the "good feeling" that being part of a popular movement gives them must continue to proceed in order for Mashiach ben David to finally come in 5776. In the present world, Sheker is very popular. In Yemot HaMashiach only the Truth will be popular.