Hypnagogia: The Tong of Tongs

Hypnagogia: Nightmare by John Henry FuseliLast night I turned off the lights in my bedroom and laid in bed to meditate. It was such a wonderful meditation that I completely lost myself in the experience. As I began to come back to awareness of where I was I was hearing a voice gently guiding me back through what seemed to be a hypnotic session; “…and when you open your eyes you will remember everything.” I opened my eyes to see a man kneeling on my bed looking at me. He was transparent, etheric and blue in color. As I adjusted my perception to see him better, I noticed he wasn’t exactly a man. He was an ape man like the ones in “Planet of the Apes.” In his hand he held out a tong of some sort with a gripper at the end. I knew he had to be trying to communicate something to me. By this time I couldn’t remember whatever it was he had hypnotized me to remember. I looked at him with a puzzled and confused look. He then produced a pad and writing utensil and made as if he was writing. I then understood. To acknowledge my understanding, I in turn made as if I was writing while nodding my head. I understood, I was to write about it and the memories or revelations would come to me. Maybe he was preparing to give me a dream. I quickly grabbed my voice recorder and recorded this initial experience so I would not forget. 
Early in the morning hours I woke up with the urge to go to the bathroom. I got up and paused for a moment trying to think back if I had had any dreams. I couldn’t remember anything. I proceeded to go to the bathroom. I then returned to bed, thinking, “Those tongs had to have been gibberish.” When I laid back down, I immediately began having a dream while fully awake. I was in Miami at the condo Joe and I had when we were together. There were people looking in through a veiled window in the door. I recognized the scene. After my near death experience and on those using days during my last relapse, my struggle to get clean, I was haunted by other worldly entities and earthly beings who I believed were earth bound spirits or 4th dimensional spirits in the astral worlds who were attracted to the energy vibrations I gave off while using. I basically could no longer use and be alone because I would instantly drop into altered states of consciousness triggered by the drugs. While in these states I would encounter both love based and fear based entities. I know now they were not hallucinations because I have these same experiences while clean except they now only come while meditating or in the twilight hours as I’m going in and out of the dream states ie. the hypnagogia states. I am simply much more receptive now after the near death to these experiences. This part of my life I could fill a whole book, which will come later. For now, it will suffice to say that I understood the vision. 
Those I perceived to be good people (the police) from this other dimension were coming to hold me accountable for my drug use. I willingly surrendered. They placed black tie wraps around my wrists. They then proceeded to arrest me and my parents who are in their 80’s and very fragile. “Wait,” I told them, “what do you want with my family. They should not be subject to an arrest. They are too frail, it would kill them.” This angered me. Compelled to save my mom and dad from a power hungry group of police, I suddenly had a flash of insight, “OPEN YOUR EYES”. But first, I reached over and removed the tie wraps that imprisoned my parents. As I did, I told the police officer that I would not allow him to misuse his power. I then opened my eyes. I was now safely back in my bed.
Feeling unsatisfied with the way I had left the situation, I felt the need to return to somehow change the course of events for the better. I closed my eyes and reappeared in the scene. The cops were gone now. I and my family were now free. I looked around for a way out of this mess I had created. I somehow knew I needed to leave Miami and head home. I prepared for our exit. I looked out on the Bay of Biscayne where ships were beginning to line the perimeter monitoring my every move. We took flight and flew North West in between two ships banking right when we cleared the perimeter; again I opened my eyes.
I still didn’t know what the tongs had to do with any of this so when I got to work I looked up the word in Wikipedia. To my incredible surprise, I found quite curiously the proof of God’s existence. This next part is beyond words. According to Wikipedia:

Tongs also have a special place in matters of theology. An opinion cited in Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), a Talmudic tractate, states that God created “the original tongs, for tongs must be made with tongs.” Jewish thinkers therefore have used tongs as proof to God’s existence.

I was beside myself. I still didn’t know what was meant by it but simply that Tongs could be used to prove God’s existence was a miracle for me. It was a tool I could use.  Was my visitor saying, I am on the road to proving God’s existence? This is my passion to do. So what’s the story with the Tongs? I needed to know more so here is what I found.

The Tong of Tongs

The rabbis of the Mishnah compiled various lists of items that they claimed were created “at twilight on the eve of the first Sabbath.” Most of those items are associated with spectacular biblical miracles, such as the mannah, Balaam’s talking donkey, and the fissure that opened to swallow up Korach and his rebellious congregation.

Maimonides argued plausibly that the lesson underlying this tradition is that God’s true greatness is manifested in the unchanging laws of nature, and not in the ability to arbitrarily suspend or abrogate those laws. Accordingly, even wondrous events that appear to us as contraventions of the natural order were in reality programmed into the structure of the universe at the time of its creation.

The Maharal of Prague explained that the concept of “twilight” is to be grasped as a metaphor for the subtle metaphysical dimension in which miracles originate. Just as the visible twilight is no more than an indefinable moment in the subtle transition from day to night, so are we to understand that the creation of miracles occurred in a realm that is outside of time, in the infinitesimal present moment that is forever sandwiched between the past and the future. Within this moment lies a dynamic potentiality for change and improvement in response to constantly changing circumstances.

At any rate, not all the phenomena that the rabbis portrayed as having been created on that first Friday evening relate to high-profile miracles. According to Rabbi Judah bar Ilai, the list should also include… the first pair of blacksmith’s tongs.

Among the ancients, the ability to fashion metal into tools and weapons was often enveloped in an aura of mystery, or even fear. In primitive cultures, blacksmiths were perceived as masters of occult lore, and pagan mythologies sang of divine smiths who forged weapons for the gods.

However, as the Talmud explains it, Rabbi Judah’s reasoning was based on much more prosaic and rational considerations. When a blacksmith fashions a pair of tongs in the forge, the only way he can handle the red-hot metal is with tongs. Since we are speaking of the manufacture of the first pair of tongs, this possibility did not exist. Ergo, the first pair must have been provided directly by the Creator himself.

Indeed, the argument sounds irrefutable.

In its modest and whimsical way, Rabbi Judah was employing the same method of proof that was adopted by the great philosophers in order to speculate about such weighty questions as the origins of the universe or the existence of God. For each observable phenomenon, these thinkers would persist in asking what was its cause or what set it into motion. Eventually, as it was no longer possible to keep posing such questions ad infinitum, they were forced to posit the existence of an Unmoved Mover, an Uncaused Cause, or a similar hypothesis, in order to account for the existence of the world.

Nevertheless, there were sages in the Talmud who challenged the cogency Rabbi Judah’s reasoning. It was possible, they argued, that the person who made the first tongs did so simply by first making a tong-shaped mold, and then filling it with molten iron.

For the Maharal, the significance of placing the tongs at the end of the Mishnah’s catlogue of prefabricated miracles lies precisely in the fact that they are the least supernatural item in the list The mention of the creation of the first tongs alongside the more dazzling wonders of the biblical past serves to underscore the lesson that God’s concern for human needs does not always manifest itself in the spectacular pyrotechnics of split seas or burning bushes.

A similar approach was advocated by the 17th-18th century author Rabbi Jacob Culi whose Judeo-Spanish compendium Me’am Lo’ez is one of the most beloved commentaries among Sepharadic Jews.

From the rabbinic discussion about the origins of the tongs, Rabbi Culi derives a profound moral insight into the divine plan for creation.

He argues that people should not be disheartened by the fact that they were created with imperfections and moral shortcomings. On the contrary, the example of the tongs teaches us that the Almighty will always furnish us with any articles that are truly necessary to correct the deficiencies of the human situation.

If this is true with respect to the material advantages inherent in a simple blacksmith’s tongs, how much more does it apply to the religious realm; so that we can be confident that the Almighty will always equip us with powerful spiritual resources that will allow us to overcome our temptations and limitations.

First Publication:
Jewish Free PressJune 20 2002, p. 6.
Taken From: Eliezer Segal’s articles

I was also curious why my hypnotist appeared as an ape man; maybe to imply the beginning of time? Here too I went to Wikipedia and found out something I didn’t know concerning “Planet of the Apes.”

The main events of the book are placed in a frame story, in which Jinn and Phillys, a couple out on a pleasure cruise in a spaceship, find a message in a bottle floating in space. The message inside the bottle is the log of a man, Ulysse Mérou, who has written down his story in hopes that someone else, somewhere, will find it.

 .. a message in a bottle floating in space which was the log of a man… That sounds just like my blog. I blog my dreams and experience hoping someone out there will hear me and respond. Is it possible someone out in the universe heard my song? Am I the ape man?
I told you this stuff is out of this world!!!  The rest I’m saving for my next book. 

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