Friday, October 18, 2013

Exile on Main St.

Lilith - John Collier - 1892
I am sitting in Santa Barbara, listlessly lolling about on the vicissitudes of fate, bored out of my skull. Behold the day is not lost, I managed to pick up a new word.

I was reading Stephen Aftergood's excellent Secrecy News when I ran into the phrase in question:

Nuclear Weapons Scientists Are Sad
Scientists in the nuclear weapons program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are feeling blue, according to a recent internal report.
“We heard that there is a sense of increased stress and reduced morale among LLNL technical employees in the weapons program, stemming from a (perceived, at least) combination of reduced resources and increased work requirements,” the report said.
Of course, many people are sad, for many reasons. The Shekhinah is in exile. But low morale among weapons scientists can have negative programmatic and national security consequences.
The Shekhinah is in exile? What in the hell does that mean? Where in the heck is that coming from? I looked it up.
Shekinah, Shechinah, Shechina, or Schechinah (Hebrew: שכינה‎), is the English spelling of a grammatically feminine Hebrew name of God in Judaism. The original word means the dwelling or settling, and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God, especially in the Temple in Jerusalem.
 Sounds a bit kabbalistic and after checking, it is.
In Kabbalistic mythology, the transgression in the Garden of Eden severed the Shekhinah from the rest of the Sefirot. The Shekhinah was expelled from the state of perfection along with humans.
I won't run the poor exiled shekhinah into the ground. Hope she finally makes it home. Sort of strange for Aftergood to make the literary allusion in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Mistreatment of the feminine divine is found in quite a number of cultures. Athena is unloved by those who respect Goddesses as she was a traitor to other Goddesses. The Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all members of the " hall of shame" in this regard. Oh well, it should only take a few centuries to correct this--no time at all in the cultural development time scale. At present there are few cultures with active Goddesses. Perhaps we could emulate India without appropriating Indian culture and religion? And while she is not listed as a Goddess, at least there is the Queen of England (for a few more years).

Anonymous said...

Hebrew schmebrew, that
Lilith chick is Hot.
Deli guy.