Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forever Reliving

I am nobody:
A red sinking autumn sun
Took my name away.
That was written by Richard Wright. As were these:
As the sun goes down,
a green melon splits open
And juice trickles out.
Spring begins shyly
With one hairpin of green grass
In a flower pot.
An apple blossom
Trembling on a sunlit branch
From the weight of bees.
Make up you mind, Snail!
You are half inside your house,
And halfway out!
A new friend mentioned Wright's name upon hearing my haiku. Wright wrote thousands of them. And he had a rich (sadly short) whole life besides.
Marty and I were talking about freedom and he cited this:

"Since the Exodus,
freedom has always spoken
with a Hebrew accent." ;
- Heinrich Heine
How many lives have you lived in your lifetime? How many lives have you lived today? Sometimes I feel like I've lived more than one life within my life. One of the ideas suggested regarding the egg on the seder table is that an egg and The Jewish People share the distinction of being born twice. The egg comes out of the hen and then the chick exits the egg and is born. The Jewish People left Egypt and then they exited their former existence through receiving the Torah and were born.
My take on the line about seeing yourself as if you went out of Egypt has recently come into sharper focus. "In every generation a person is obligated to see himself as if he went out of Egypt." It doesn't say that every generation of people must view themselves as having exited Egypt. The wording is actually saying that in every "generation" that a person is living through, every "dor," a person must see himself as if he/she went out of Egypt. In my childhood, my teens, my twenties, etc. I am exhorted to see myself as if I went out of Egypt.
We experience slavery and are freed, we struggle with our relationship with G-d, with our freedom, with ourselves, we resist guidance, feel trapped between the Mitzrim and the sea, sing joyfully and then complain we're thirsty, hungry, thirsty again. We get our food and drink and comfort. We forget/reject G-d, then get hit by Amalek, then run to G-d for comfort while also feeling angry that He had them attack us, and we wander in the desert and enter the holy land and pray in The Temple and get exiled and return and and and. We are forever reliving the experience of exodus and beyond.
As I write this I am tired and fulfilled. I've been in a whirlwind, still am. So far I've run and oneg, two sedarim, given six hour to hour and a half long shiurim, run one improv workshop, one trivia competition, run every minyan, davened form the amud several times and lainined one day of Yom Tov... I've done a lot more - there's a lot of white fire.
I debated deleting that last paragraph. It wasn't a long debate. More white fire.
Someone told me today "you snooze - you lose," but I kept thinking a good snooze is what I need to win.
As always I wonder who reads this. I get he feeling that many glance. These words are not so much meant for glancing. Maybe it's better to keep m words and thoughts to myself. What's the point of sharing?
Last year it was more wintry.
Last year I felt more like sharing.
Last year I was a different man.


Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Sometimes I feel like I've lived more than one life within my life.

I totally understand that.

April 23, 2008 at 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same here.


April 23, 2008 at 9:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I read every word in your blog sooner or later, Neil... and feel more thoughtful afterwards. (This is a Good Thing because increasingly I forget to take time to think.) :-)

April 23, 2008 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Thanks Jack and Maayan for telling me. I wonder if when people who have lived more than one life get together in a room - if you pay attention can you feel that there's more than the simple math number there?

April 24, 2008 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Oops, meant to comment on your comment too Anne. It means a lot to me that you read (and take in) every word (and picture).

April 24, 2008 at 12:05 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home