Thursday, April 05, 2012

Erev Pesach Thoughts and Haiku Too

Here I am at Camp Isabella Freedman for Pesach for (I think) the eleventh time. I have so far seen one person that I know from previous years here.  His name is Adam but his he's adopted the name Segulah because he loves purple.  He's well studied when it comes to that Hebrew word and just taught me a few things.  Apparently the Hebrew vowel called segol goes back in history as representing being select. It looks like three choice grapes.  This fits with the fact that the "am segulah" - treasured people, which G-d uses regarding the Jewish People. Adam likes to say that we are the Purple People!

I just gave a good look at Rav Neventzahl's hagaddah.  In the back there are brief parsha thoughts.  On Parshat Bo he looks at Shmot 12:9 where the Torah says that you should put on tefillin "so that the Torah of G-d should be in your mouth because (ki) with a strong hand G-d took you out of Egypt.  In other places (such as Shmot 13) it is made clear that the point of tefillin is to remember the miracles that G-d did for us in taking us out of Egypt (and that's one of the things we're supposed to think about when we put on tefillin). What, then, does it mean when it says that the idea behind tefillin is so that the Torah of G-d will be in our mouths?

Rav Neventzahl's take on this is that tefillin are meant to remind us of Yetziat Mitzrayim.  Remembering G-d's taking us out of Egypt drives home the point that G-d runs everything in the world. When we remember that G-d takes care of things we worry less and spend more time with the the Torah of G-d in our mouths!

There's one senior couple here so far.  There's usually one or two guests here the night before.  They flew here all the way from California!  We had a nice chat about music and religion and G-d and everything.  This elderly woman and I watched a paper airplane show put on by thew executive director's daughters.  They make various kinds of planes.  I'm impressed.  I'm only know how to make two types.

There's a display of books out - on sale for 36% off.  I found Miriam Adahan;s EMETT there.  i once owned it in Israel, but it got lost along the way.  I left many books in storage back in '88, thinking I'd be back after one year of Y.U. smichah in America.  The year's been extended a bit.  Ah life.

I wrote these in the cab on the way to the train on the way to the ride on the way to the retreat center:

Passover fruit trees
redeem themselves once again
as we watch and learn

Man inside moment
inside of a taxicab 
inside redemption

Here's a nice quote that Adahan includes:

The ultimate of knowledge is to know that you do not know - Shaloh (91b)

She adds, "The more you practice knowing that you don't know the more you lessen your desire for excessive control over man or G-d."

I've been thinking lately about change and loss, about moving on, about forgiving, about being forgiven, about friendship, about love, about family, about the meaning of it all, about aging, about health.

I'm close to New England, in a deceptive part of Connecticut that's not your father's Connecticut.  It's the Berkshires.  Deep in the depths of vast fields with houses speckling the area.

It's time to go to sleep and I know that I will probably sleep well.  It's not my first time here.

Good night and may G-d bless.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a lot of Miriam Adahan books - in case you are looking for another one and can't find it, let me know
-- andrea keehn

April 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Much appreciated. I bought that copy of EMMEt. I have a bunch too (Appreciating People, Awareness, Life Is A Gift, Thirty Seconds to Happiness).

April 17, 2012 at 9:02 PM  

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