As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, the Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). I've come to appreciate the Sufis for their poetry, their humour, and their body of wisdom. Every Shabbat, therefore, I share some of that here. The great poet Rumi was a Sufi, as is the popular folk character Nasruddin (also known in some places as Hodja or Nasreddin Hodja):
Young Nasreddin had a leaky ferry-boat, and used it to row people across the river. One day his passenger was a fussy schoolteacher, and on the way across he decided to give Nasreddin a test and see how much he knew. "Tell me, Nasreddin, what are eight sixes?" - "I've no idea" replied Nasreddin. "How do you spell magnificence?" - "I don't" replied Nasreddin. "Didn't you study anything at school?" - "No" replied Nasreddin. "In that case, half your life is lost." Just then a fierce storm blew up, and the boat began to sink. "Tell me, schoolteacher," said Nasreddin. "Did you ever learn to swim?" - "No" replied the schoolteacher. "In that case, your whole life is lost."Sufi stories generally have multiple meanings, from the practical to the spiritual. What is this one trying to tell us? Use the Comments link. UPDATE: You have got to read T.L. James comments. Brilliant.