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The Edible Torah

 

Posts Tagged ‘blogelul’

#BlogElul Day 8: Believe

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.


“Ani Ma’amin” – I believe with perfect faith…

Several years ago , I was part of a weekly Shabbat program teaching Jewish topics to families. I’d meet with the kids first (I had 5th grade) and teach a concept. Then later bring several families would come together and we’d go over the same content, but with all the members of the family able to share what they had learned in their respective sessions.

One week, I pulled out the God card.

“So tell me,” I said. “Who is God toyou? Is He Jimminy Cricket sitting on your shoulder? The ‘dear diary’ you talk to at night as you review the day? The big Police Cop in the Sky? The please-don’t-mess-up-what-I-have-going?”

The discussion with the kids was loud, active, and passionate. There were lots of opinions and feelings and ideas. The input gave me plenty of chances to pull in the Jewish view of God and help the kids frame and further develop their God-concept.

When we added adults to the mix, I was looking forward to hearing more layered and nuanced ideas. I was eager to here the more analytical voices.

What I got was crickets. Nothing. A silence that spread like the fog that represented the Angel of Death in “The Ten Commandments”.

As the silent seconds ticked by I became certain I had asked the Dumbest Jewish Question On Earth. After all, this was a self-selected group of families, who chose to take their Saturdays to learn together rather than go the traditional Sunday School route. Asking about their internal sense of the Divine had to be the most juvenile use of ti…

“This question makes me extremely uncomfortable.” one woman stammered out. “I’ve never thought about God at all. Especially not like that.”

There were immediate nods from the other adult heads around the room.

It took me a few moments to recover from that. And several more to re-build the lesson plan in my head.

I never did a follow-up to that session. I never had the courage to broach the subject again. But I was given a powerful example of how important it is to at least know where we stand with regard to religion and our understanding God.

This year  - as I have for several years now – I pray that anyone in a similar situation take the time – just a few moments – and consider before Whom they are standing.

I hope they take a moment to consider what, exactly, it is that they believe.

BlogElul Day 7: Be

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.


(This post will BE a day late (and a dollar short) because a water pipe burst at 1:30am and it was more important for me to BE focused on that, and then to BE in bed, catching up on sleep afterward)

While my knowledge of Hebrew is extremely sparse, what I understand is that it does not contain a verb “to be” – at least in the way English and other languages understand it. And even other languages don’t understand “to be” the way English does. In French you can’t say “I am cold” or “I am 46 years old”. You say “I have cold” or “I have 46 years” instead. To say “I am cold” would imply that you are cold personified. Which may be true if you are a superhero, but otherwise it just makes you sound weird.

And I find that interesting because I think it’s correct and that English got it wrong. I don’t think we can actually BE.

I think you can DO something. You can HAVE something. You can BELIEVE something.

But BE-ing – who you ARE or WERE or WILL BE – is only a reflective state. Meaning you can only know your state of being by looking back on how you behaved.

With that insight – that lashon kodesh (holy speech, a euphemism for Hebrew) doesn’t allow for the fiction of a current state of being – I have new insight into the upcoming Days of Awe.

I cannot (linguistically) stand before God and say “This is who I am. I hope you find me worthy.” It’s impossible to say because it’s impossible to do.

Rather, I have to be honest with myself and say “These are the things I’ve done.  I am proud of these. I regret those. All together the paint a picture of who I was in the past year. Using that as a guide, I change this, augment that, and envision a path to the person I want to become .”

I hope God thinks that person – the one I want to BE – is one worth investing another year in.

BlogElul: Day 6: Do

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.


(My Geek Creed requires that I invoke one of the all-time great quotes in response to today’s BlogElul prompt)

“Do, or Do Not. There is no Try” – Yoda

While one might want to argue that Yoda’s principle is extremist, you have to take his point in context. Luke was about to attempt something difficult, something that Luke himself wasn’t certain was possible. He said (as many of us in that situation might), “I’ll try.”

The problem is that Yoda understood that only a complete mental and emotional committment to the outcome would result in success. The attitude of “Try” in that particular situation would be immediately self-defeating.

Which is why I’m invoking Yoda’s quote here, during the month of Elul.

As we prepare for the Days of Awe, it may be tempting to take the easy way out, to say “I’ll try”.

  • I’ll try to make time to honestly assess how I have performed this year
  • I’ll try to admit (to myself) that the things I’ve done wrong were, in fact, wrong
  • I’ll try to seek out people I’ve wronged and apologize.
  • I’ll try to make amends with them
  • I’ll try to take accountability for my actions

As I prepare this month to stand before the Heavenly Court on Rosh Hashana, I am keeping in mind that there is no try.

BlogElul Day 4: Accept

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.


Today is Shabbat, and I decided to accept two things:

First: I was uncomfortable with the idea that something I had a part in creating would appear on Shabbat.

Even though I know, and most of my readers know, that it was created in advance, and only turned on via an internet “timer” – much like the light in my dining room – it was still non-obvious enough to bother me.

That discomfort puts me in a particular place on the Jewish spectrum. It may not be who I was at one time, but it is who I am now. I accept that (albeit with some trepidation)

Second: I wasn’t going to get my act together to write this blog post. Sunday’s isn’t done yet either, but I am hopefuly I’ll have time to get that one done, and get ahead for the coming week.

BlogElul Day 3: Bless

This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.


Jacob said to the Stranger “I will not let you go unless you bless me”.

The idea has always captivated me.

I am engaged with You. I am entwined with You. I cannot get past You, over You. I can’t get You out of my mind. I will not cease to try to wrap my head around who You are. I will not stop obsessing on You.

Until…  you give me something of You to remember You by. And piece of You that you give will alter who I am irrevocably.

I will let you go when I am no longer myself.

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”.