"You are intimate with Wisdom. She has known you from the beginning. You cannot hide from Her. On the contrary, you can take refuge in Her. This is what She offers you. You do not have to earn Her love or be other than you are. No pretense with Her; she knows you and loves you for who you are Herself, " writes Rabbi Rami Shapiro (Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained) in this salutary and enlightening work. These teachings of Mother Wisdom are from the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and the Greek texts, the Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach.
In both Hebrew and Greek, the original language of these texts, Chochma and Sophia are feminine nouns. She is Mother, God's consort and bride, the Divine Feminine through which God created the wild and wonderful world. Shapiro, as the Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault points out in the foreword, sees these teachings of the Hebrew Bible as taking their place "within the deeper Wisdom of humanity, adding their individual voices to the universal message since time immemorial: Only through the transformation of the heart can humankind arrive at a stable and enduring peace." It's also a good thing that a man has taken it upon himself to trace the comings and goings of the Divine Feminine, given the long and dark period of male chauvinism that has desperately tried to silence Mother Wisdom's antiestablishment and nonhierarchical emphases. Of course, Andrew Harvey has for years done pioneer work in proclaiming the activities of Mother in all Her forms.
"Wisdom is not aloof. She is a player, a dancer, a celebrator of life, and the One who manifests it. She is a source of delight and delight itself. To be wise is to delight in creation," writes Shapiro. There is a playfulness to the Divine Feminine which is evident in these passages and in the author's commentaries. Here is just one line to illustrate what we mean: "Wisdom is the doing of God a flower is not Wisdom but flowering is." Don't get caught up in trying to figure out the attributes or the whys behind the actions of the Mother. Try to attune your life to her rhythms, and you will live all your days as an adventure.
Another example of playfulness: "The sage doesn't explain why things are; the sage simply engages what is. Why is beside the point. A stranger throws a stone at your head. You duck; you don't ask why. Later you may indulge in why, but the moment itself requires action. Why does God test you? Because it is God's nature to manifest moments of giving and moments of taking away and there is nothing that you or God can do about it." Go with the flow and don't try to figure things out: that is for fools.
What devotion does Wisdom require? She wants us to put Her above having our way in everything a hard nut to crack in and of itself. The Mother challenges us to let Her work through us, or as Shapiro puts it: "You are the breath of God. You are the way God is aware of God in the immediacy of your life. You are the way God feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, frees the wrongly imprisoned. You are the way God brings justice, mercy and humility to life. But because you want to be more, you end up being less; the way God brings honor, hate, and holocaust to every corner of the globe." This is an important aspect of the Sacred Feminine, and it is our assignment as sages. One of the most exciting messages of this paperback is that there is another high and holy calling for us to consider. Sages of the world unite, there is much justice work to be done!