My take on "Take This Waltz"

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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dperrings
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:23 am

in response to holydove's post:

Very interesting insight. I am not very familiar with Kaballah.

windows for the purpose of looking inward instead of out word.

do you have any other comments on "Take this Waltz"

David Perrings
There is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in. lc
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:54 am

holydove wrote:"there's a lobby with nine hundred windows":

A lobby is a place where people wait. Kaballah teaches that this earthly existence is a lobby where we wait for the "world to come".

Kaballah also teaches that there are 900 - yes, exactly 900 - potential types of death for a human being. This refers not to the manner or cause of death, but to the inner experience of the person who is dying, & the different experiences of death vary in degree of gentleness/painfulness. The most gentle & peaceful death is referred to as "the kiss", or "the kiss of Shekinah", & is described as feeling like a hair being pulled from a cup of milk. The most painful death is described as feeling like a spiked ball at the end of a hairy rope being pulled out of the person's throat.
A spiked ball at the end of a hairy rope being pulled out of the person's throat...Ouch... I hope I'll experience the kiss of Shekinah (who ever he is) the day my chromosomes have shorten to the point of throwing me by the window.

Like dperrings I find this so interesting and I would like to know more about Kabbalah in this song - and others, for instance - knowing nothing about Kabbalah and having the chance to have an insight by somebody who knows.
***
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:13 am

dperrings, while waiting if holydove have more to say, here is something that can interest you. I did stress in red the equivalent of "your" "there is a crack in everything etc."
The Kabbalah of the Middle Ages abounded in fantastic, linguistic imagery. Because the second commandment prohibited Jews from physical representation, they relied entirely upon words to create pictures of the unseen. Verbal images came alive through the miracle and mystery that allows us to see with our minds. One of the most vivid images we inherit from the Kabbalah is in understanding the human body as a vessel for 10 divine energies. These sefirot, as they are called, give us a glimpse of God's personality in ourselves.

There are many books on sefirot, and I can only touch on them this morning. But, within your own vessel, imagine them: the top of your head contains keter, a crown that draws in God's creative desire to make a world. By your right ear is hochmah, wisdom. This is the aha!, the inchoate idea. By the left ear is the womb-like binah, understanding, which gives birth through language to the idea. By the right shoulder is hesed, lovingkindness, and this is balanced on the left with gevurah, which is the power of discipline and limitation. In the trunk of the body, the heart space is tiferet, the child of binah and hochmah. This is beauty and compassion. The right leg is netzach, or eternity and the left is hod, or splendor.Yesod is the procreative life force of the cosmos. And finally, we come to malchut, also known as shechinah, the divine feminine. Here is the secret of the possible, the place where all the energies flow. Yesod pours into malchut and brings about the union of the masculine and feminine. Thus you are a container for all that is above. Take a moment to sense that you are more than flesh and blood. To create the world, God needed to contract and shrink. The lovely word for this creative process is tzimtzum. Like a womb that takes space within a mother, God made room for the world, which was all God but smaller. This very different vision of how the world began from the cryptic words of Genesis gives us the first act of God not as emanation and revelation but concealment and limitation..

The problem, however, is that the shrinking created imperfection, and the world could not contain the light of God. This flaw is why evil and suffering exist.

The containers for divine light were the sefirot, and they shattered, causing holy sparks of primordial light to fall everywhere. So everything in creation now carries a fragment, a piece of brokenness that is also holy. Every mitzvah, every prayer, and every intention directed towards good, serves as a magnet for the sparks. This is the tikkun olam, repair of the world. . This flaw is why evil and suffering exist. By retrieving the sparks, we begin to see the world as God's body. The Shechinah, the mother presence of God, brings this vision, and is the part of the divine that dwells on earth. Modern Kabbalists believe that the time has come for the intimate Shechinah to balance the transcendent masculine divine.
Source :
http://www.malkadrucker.com/kabbelief.html

Sheshina is a "she", not a "he", it was written black on white She-shina.

I am curious for so long about the Kabbalah. I took this opportunity too have a little look at it. Though one can not trust anything found on the internet. That seems reliable.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:45 am

Tchocolati

"Kabbalah is in understanding the human body as a vessel for 10 divine energies" Now in Vienna, there are ten pretty women

the two seem to go together.

My first introduction to Kabbalah was the novel "Bee Season" which was a curious mix of spelling bee's, growing up and Kabbalah, Im not sure that Kabbalah was represented very acurately but it was facinating.

david perrings
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:50 pm

It's Tchocolatl it is a "l," a "L" - not a "i" minus or in capital : "I". I tell you this just because you seem a person who is interested in the origines of things. Though this nick can seem a little bit pretentious, I had no pretention to be anything else than an ordinary vessel for the 10 divine energies and most of the time, here, I am just Tchoc, which means the contrary of silence. ("Alt" means water.)

Nice observation for the 10 little girls of Federico Garcia Lorca having growing up in age and beauty in the lines of Leonard Cohen. Maybe this is why the Kabbalah came to his mind for the 900 windows?

This song, I can not stop to be enchanted by the atmosphere it provides.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:59 pm

Tchoc,

I agree, this song is intoxicating. I cannot tell you how many 1000's of times i have listen to it.

David
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby holydove » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:14 am

Hi David & Tchoc,

Thank you for your posts, I enjoyed them.

I only know a little bit about kabbalah (it is a huge body of teachings), but with the little that I know, I see connections in the song. I think the first verse, in particular, contains several references to kabbalah (starting with even the very first word), & is really charged with a kabbalistic atmosphere, & I think that is a signal that other parts of the song can also be interpreted from this angle.

So, the first word - "Now": even from an ordinary, non-kabbalistic perspective, this signals something that is eternal & continually recurring - at whatever moment, in whatever era, century, age or kalpa, one hears this song, the events described in it will be happening. And Kabbalah teaches that the world is created anew at every moment, & that it is necessary for the Creator to continually create & maintain the world - if He/She looked away for even a moment, the whole thing would fall apart & disappear. Kabbalah also turns the traditional biblical phrase, "the world that is coming" (which refers to a far off Messianic era), into: "the world that is constantly coming", constantly flowing - a timeless dimension of reality that is available to us right here & now, if one is receptive to it.

I also agree with the idea, which you have touched on above, of the "ten pretty women" possibly being a reference to the ten sefirot on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. This also connects with the idea of "Now", with the teaching that the Creator continuously creates the world by continuously emanating the ten sefirot & combining them in various ways.The sefirot are described in various ways by different texts: they are described as powers, lights, gates, garments, emanations or qualities of God, numerical energy entities, etc. They have also been related to the ten words or sayings by which the world was created. They are described as the fundamental building blocks of the world & of the human soul, which is a microcosm of the world. The 10 sefirot are essentially the fundamental forces that drive everything in the universe. The Creator creates & sustains the world through these forces & humans take these forces & combine, mix & utilize them. The task of humans is to recognize the ten forces, see reality in terms of their functioning, & by developing an understanding of the proper use of these 10 forces, one can ascend the levels of sefirot on the Tree of Life, ultimately uniting with the Creator, & when every human has attained this, the world will be repaired. There are also ten archangels associated with the Tree of Life, & each archangel supervises a different sefira. So it's hard to say whether the ten pretty women would be the sefira or the angels, or maybe both, but either way, if this interpretation has any truth to it, how interesting & lovely that Leonard has turned them into "ten pretty women"!

Metatron, who has many titles, one of which is Angel of Death, sits at the top of the Tree, governs the entire Tree, & oversees the the 10 angels beneath him on the Tree of Life. He is also known as patron angel of small children, as he is the teacher of prematurely dead children in paradise. Of his many titles, I mention these two in particular, because death & children both make appearances in Take This Waltz.

Sorry to have gotten a little off the topic of the song, with my description of the sefirot, etc., but since you said you'd like to know something more about kabbalah, & the 10 sefirot are a major aspect of the teachings & seem to be a possible reference in the song, I thought I would include something about what they are said to be; that's all the time I have right now, & there is so much in this beautiful song, & other potential connections to Kabbalah, so perhaps we can continue the discussion later. . .
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:48 am

Thanks, holydove, I appreciate the time you deserved to this. I don't see how you could go off topic if there is something kabbalistic about the song.

The only thing I knew about Kabbalah is that it is a huge body of teachings. One has to start somewhere. We can chew little bites here and there and not swallow the whole thing in one time.

What do you mean by "charged with a kabbalistic atmosphere"?

The atmosphere of the song is so appealing to me. I'm even more curious, now.
***
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:40 pm

Tchocolatl wrote:Thanks, holydove, I appreciate the time you deserved to this. I don't see how you could go off topic if there is something kabbalistic about the song.

The only thing I knew about Kabbalah is that it is a huge body of teachings. One has to start somewhere. We can chew little bites here and there and not swallow the whole thing in one time.

What do you mean by "charged with a kabbalistic atmosphere"?

The atmosphere of the song is so appealing to me. I'm even more curious, now.

To Tchoc and Holydove,

it is a good question, what is a "kabbalistic atmosphere"

listening to LC's songs i always seem to fall into a trance.

somebody made the comment once that LC breaths different air then the rest of us.

david
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby holydove » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:10 pm

dperrings wrote:
To Tchoc and Holydove,

it is a good question, what is a "kabbalistic atmosphere"

listening to LC's songs i always seem to fall into a trance.

somebody made the comment once that LC breaths different air then the rest of us.

david
Hi Tchoc & David,

Oh my, maybe I shouldn't have used that term. . .but yes, it is a very good question. It is really as much a "Cohenesque" atmosphere as a kabbalistic one, as there is that amazing, mesmerizing mix of spirituality, sensuality/sexuality, romanticism, other-worldliness - in such a way that the mundane & the spiritual/cosmic become so intimately interwined that a single word, phrase, or tone can become a gateway to another dimension of reality. And that mix of elements is characteristic of both Leonard Cohen & Kabbalah. For me, the specifically kabbalistic atmosphere (if one can call it that) has to do with the language & combination of images that indicate specifically kabbalistic references, consisting of these particular words/images, in the first verse: Now; ten pretty women; lobby with nine hundred windows; a tree where the doves go to die; a piece that was torn from the morning. Many of those phrases, by themselves, would not indicate kabbalistic references; but what drew me in that direction first, was the "lobby with nine hundred windows". I don't think the numbers are random, I think Leonard chose those specific numbers for a reason; the number ten is significant in many systems of thought, but the number "900", as far as I know, does not appear very often - in fact, Kabbalah is the only place where I've seen that number mentioned in a significant context; & once that clue revealed itself, the other potentially kabbalistic connections seemed to fall into place too. Anyway, what I meant is that the language & images, along with the music, create a kind of energy/atmosphere/experience that I find to be unique to both the music/poetry of Leonard Cohen & the teachings of Kabbalah.

Speaking of the intertwining of the mundane & spiritual, I think the narrator could be singing either to a physical, earthly woman, or to the Shekinah, or to both simultaneously. Shekinah is the sefira at the bottom of the tree of life (also called Malkhut), & Shekinah is the female aspect of the light of the Creator which is imminent in the world; it is the energy of manifestation & therefore the expression of the Light that is closest to our physical realm; by connecting, or ultimately merging, with the divine presence of Shekinah, we can indirectly experience the Light of the Creator.

"a piece that was torn from the morning": this could be a person who died young, as has been mentioned. I think it could also be a reference to what it known in Kabbalah as the "shattering of the vessels", which Tchoc's article touched on above. The teaching, to put it as simply as possible, is that when the Creator first began to create the world, he created the first "vessels", into which he emanated the Light; the vessels could not contain the light, & they broke, & shards of light from the vessels were scattered everywhere, & some of them descended into the lower worlds, including earth; & those sparks became the objects & creatures of the world; so every creature & object contains a spark of the divine light within itself. So, in essence, we can say that each one of us is "a piece that was torn from the morning" - the morning of Creation; & I think it's possible that the narrator of the song is referring to himself as "a piece that was torn from the morning". He is hanging in the "Gallery of Frost" because his love is frozen. The "waltz" is perhaps his dance of love, or his dance of life, & by singing "take this waltz", he is making an offering to Shekinah - an offering of his clamped, broken, dying love - his imperfect life - & this is the prayer & ritual by which he summons that divine presence into his life, & by which he expresses his longing for unity with the Light.

David, I meant to tell you that I liked the way you interpreted the 900 windows as windows for looking inward - very well said! I also see the windows as transition points, or passageways, between this life & the next (whatever that may be); & since the reference is to the inner experience of death, I think our interpretations are quite harmonious.
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:02 am

holydove wrote:
dperrings wrote:
To Tchoc and Holydove,

it is a good question, what is a "kabbalistic atmosphere"

listening to LC's songs i always seem to fall into a trance.

somebody made the comment once that LC breaths different air then the rest of us.

david
Hi Tchoc & David,

Oh my, maybe I shouldn't have used that term. . .but yes, it is a very good question. It is really as much a "Cohenesque" atmosphere as a kabbalistic one, as there is that amazing, mesmerizing mix of spirituality, sensuality/sexuality, romanticism, other-worldliness - in such a way that the mundane & the spiritual/cosmic become so intimately interwined that a single word, phrase, or tone can become a gateway to another dimension of reality. And that mix of elements is characteristic of both Leonard Cohen & Kabbalah. For me, the specifically kabbalistic atmosphere (if one can call it that) has to do with the language & combination of images that indicate specifically kabbalistic references, consisting of these particular words/images, in the first verse: Now; ten pretty women; lobby with nine hundred windows; a tree where the doves go to die; a piece that was torn from the morning. Many of those phrases, by themselves, would not indicate kabbalistic references; but what drew me in that direction first, was the "lobby with nine hundred windows". I don't think the numbers are random, I think Leonard chose those specific numbers for a reason; the number ten is significant in many systems of thought, but the number "900", as far as I know, does not appear very often - in fact, Kabbalah is the only place where I've seen that number mentioned in a significant context; & once that clue revealed itself, the other potentially kabbalistic connections seemed to fall into place too. Anyway, what I meant is that the language & images, along with the music, create a kind of energy/atmosphere/experience that I find to be unique to both the music/poetry of Leonard Cohen & the teachings of Kabbalah.

Speaking of the intertwining of the mundane & spiritual, I think the narrator could be singing either to a physical, earthly woman, or to the Shekinah, or to both simultaneously. Shekinah is the sefira at the bottom of the tree of life (also called Malkhut), & Shekinah is the female aspect of the light of the Creator which is imminent in the world; it is the energy of manifestation & therefore the expression of the Light that is closest to our physical realm; by connecting, or ultimately merging, with the divine presence of Shekinah, we can indirectly experience the Light of the Creator.

"a piece that was torn from the morning": this could be a person who died young, as has been mentioned. I think it could also be a reference to what it known in Kabbalah as the "shattering of the vessels", which Tchoc's article touched on above. The teaching, to put it as simply as possible, is that when the Creator first began to create the world, he created the first "vessels", into which he emanated the Light; the vessels could not contain the light, & they broke, & shards of light from the vessels were scattered everywhere, & some of them descended into the lower worlds, including earth; & those sparks became the objects & creatures of the world; so every creature & object contains a spark of the divine light within itself. So, in essence, we can say that each one of us is "a piece that was torn from the morning" - the morning of Creation; & I think it's possible that the narrator of the song is referring to himself as "a piece that was torn from the morning". He is hanging in the "Gallery of Frost" because his love is frozen. The "waltz" is perhaps his dance of love, or his dance of life, & by singing "take this waltz", he is making an offering to Shekinah - an offering of his clamped, broken, dying love - his imperfect life - & this is the prayer & ritual by which he summons that divine presence into his life, & by which he expresses his longing for unity with the Light.

David, I meant to tell you that I liked the way you interpreted the 900 windows as windows for looking inward - very well said! I also see the windows as transition points, or passageways, between this life & the next (whatever that may be); & since the reference is to the inner experience of death, I think our interpretations are quite harmonious.

Holydove,

thanks for your amazing posts and Tchoc's as well. I great actually having a continuous dialog. i think i started posting to LC discussion groups going back 7 yrs now i think. I might get a response back in a year on average. I have been mezermized by his music since my college days in the 1970's. I listen to his music like i listen to no one else. If records were vinyl still I am sure by now i would have worn holes in every single LC record that i owned with the record player needle. My wife and kids think i am crazy. Leonard is pushing 80 years old and he seems to just get better.

Some one once said of William Carlos William's poem "the red wheelbarrow" that after all these years the poem still has not giving up all of its secrets.

I don't think we will ever get to the bottom of LC's body of work.

My first introduction to LC was at a bar/folk music club in Chicago, a quaint ricketty old place. The watress asked me if i had ever heard of LC and i said no. She mentioned the book "Beautiful Losers" and the album Love and Hate as being absolutely amazing. I have been hooked ever since..

David
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:05 pm

Holydove, I am amazed by the generosity of your sharing thaughts. :D This is satisfaying.

David, tryng to go deeper in a song or another seized me from time to time as well as taking the leisure of sharing the images that a song does sound in my reality. It is a pleasure now that you share the same at this moment.

I find it significant that you remember so vividly the first time you encountered the "Cohenworld".

I read in an article from Ira Nadel (it certainly must be in jarkko's site somewhere, or Mary's) that he and his then mentor Irving Layton wanted to bring magic to Canada. In my humble opinion, they have successed and not only in Canada.
11. Has being Jewish impeded your work in any way?

— No, because I believe, maybe via Layton, that "the New Jew is the founder of Magic Canada" (BL 203). Being Jewish has given me ancestors, and its Kabbalistic imagination has influenced me;

Source :

http://www.uwo.ca/english/canadianpoetr ... /nadel.htm
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:59 pm

Tchoc,

Thanks for the article, I liked

"apocalyptic lounge lizard", and "existential comedian"

The venue back in the 70's when i was in college and had no money, "not that i have any more now" was kind of the perfect place to be introduced to LC. It was the called the Dearborn Hotel (if i remember correctly). It was a small place with a stage for musicians and had a balcony that overlooked the stage. It was an old building with a lot of wood. They had a two drink min. and no cover. SO for 2 bucks i could listen to music all night. The place was dark, smokey and relaxing ("a dark and smoky night"). It didn't hurt that the watress was cute. The one line from her that i remember was "magic is a foot".

reminds me of your reference to magic in canada

In the "Bee Season" the Kabbalistic imagination that is evoked creates a magical atmosphere.

David
There is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in. lc
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby Tchocolatl » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:26 am

Time to a little time travel? :D

God is alive, Magic is afoot :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3enVT53yDLM








I have checked Bee Season on Wikipedia. At a first glance it appears to me like a kabbalistic John Irving's novel without the bears and the beavers in it. But the end (wich I will not disclosed) seems to open on something. Very mysterious.
***
"He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

Leonard Cohen
Beautiful Losers
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Re: My take on "Take This Waltz"

Postby dperrings » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:51 pm

Tchoc,


YOur right it was a trip down memory lane right back to my college dorm room. I forgot the Buffy Saint Maire sang the song and that i had the album.

What do you think the significants of Vienna is to the song ?

Does it go beyond Lorca's use of it in the original poem ?

David
There is a crack in everything that's how the light gets in. lc

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