Friday, July 27, 2012

Good Erev Shabbos - Parshat Devarim - Pre Tishah Be'Av

This is one of those posts that's going to take time to cobble together, feeling blog-conscious as I am. I had what felt like myriad thoughts spiraling through me as my school calendared work part of the year wound down. It was a time that was clothed in the busy, congested feeling of a traffic jam and I didn't write but I didn't let go. I have lingering memories of divrei Torah heard and taught while the June rug was was once again whisked away.

I've started several times to write about a paper I gave my class to do and - like any connection that just won't happen - it stalled for one reason or another on each attempt. I shared a bit of it here. Perhaps one day I'll delve deeper into this terrifically nuanced and profound essay of Caroline Peyser about Moshe Rabeinu, the Jewish People, and adoption. Maybe I'll share more about the amazing job my students did in reading, analyzing and taking into their souls the ideas discussed in that piece. It was a great moment early on in the year to be built upon by many more such nachas providing endeavors, like all the delicate and beautiful enchanted cities my students build under my guidance, before my happily surprised eyes, each year.

We interrupt this flow of thought, much as my writing is being done in spurts between other activities, to share an email from Beyond.

Date: May 21, 2009 11:24 PM*

Daily it becomes more clear that vitamin D3 is a must in one's diet. This is in addition to a daily multivitamin. So if not yet taking D3, start asap. Every day I hear new news about the super benefits of D3. - Mom (*seven months before mom suddenly passed away)

I'm sorting through old emails in my non gmail account, which is always on the verge of being full and yet is always taking in more emails - kind of like some of our memories - and this one jumped out at me and said boo (the way my mother used to try to get rid of my hiccups when I was a kid).

And now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

The Gemorah in Shabbos (88a) famously tells the story behind the story of the Jewish People's acceptance of the Torah. The homiletic rest of the story is that G-d ripped the mountain out of the ground and held it over the people's heads. He said that if would accept the Torah all would be good but if not then that would be their grave-site. There are many takes on this difficult piece (e.g. this one of my colleague/friend/teacher Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky). I have only heard one approach that deals with a specific detail of this piece of aggadetah. At graduation the principal of the school where I am blessed to counsel and to teach shared this thought that he heard from Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter who quoted it in the name of his father: Why - as the tale is told in the Talmud - does G-d say to the people that if theu don't accept the Torah then there will be your grave? He should have addressed the place where they stood and said, "Here will be your grave." The answer of the elder Rabbi Schacter is that this piece is speaking metaphorically. G-d was not truly threatening to kill them, but was warning them of danger ahead. He was telling them, "Danger looms and if you don't accept the Torah and carry it out of the desert cocoon into your real lives, then you will won't survive spiritually and there - not here, not now, but later - will be your grave.

And now for a few words on our Parsha: Devarim - Words.

Moshe, after living 80 years of his life one way, was called upon G-d to be the leader of the Jewish People. He spoke up to G-d and said that he wasn't a man of words, those were his words. He then spent the next forty years of his life evolving as the greatest prophet, teacher, and leader that the world has ever known. And he knew it. He ended his life with a a segmented long and powerful speech to the Jewish People, a speech that was collected into a part of the Torah called Devarim - Words.

So maybe when we think we know who we are, when we think it's time to put a fork in us because we're done - maybe we should think again.

Quote of the Day - We can only be what we give ourselves the power to be. - Native American Proverb

I'm not sure who Eric is, but his comment just now on this Erev Shabbos post from 3 weeks ago made my day.

I just came across the following quote, related to the QOTD:

‎"The biggest impediments to realizing the successes of which we dream are the limitations programmed into the subconscious. These limitations not only influence our behavior, they can also play a major role in determining our physiology and health. As we’ve seen, the mind plays a powerful role in controlling the biological systems that keep us alive."

~ Bruce Lipton, Ph.D, The Biology of Belief

Here's a thought on Devarim, and here's another one.

Soon Shabbos. It's cool that Shabbos overrides and pushes aside Tisha Be'Av. So this Shabbos is a rare opportunity, to celebrate Shabbos in all her splendor on the ninth of Av! Something to think about.

As I said at the start this post has been worked on for a while.

And now it's crunch time.

Soon Shabbos, and then right into Tisha Be'Av, as things stand now.

Soon we'll guard and soon we'll keep, soon with Shabbos tongue we'll speak, soon we'll be visited by a new soul, Shabbos will arrive and make us whole.


Post a Comment

<< Home