Lech Lecha Forever….

I loved many things about “Forever”, the relatively new – and excellent – Amazon show, although it took me a little while to figure out and get used to. There are many ideas to discuss, best is the unexpected ending, like walking out of Gan Eden, a form of Lech Lecha – holding hands and walking into the unknown, creating an opportunity for something we couldn’t have imagined at all…
The midrash fills-in “famous” stories about Abraham’s childhood, about him going out into the field, watching the sun and moon, discovering G-d’s presence in the world; about him “helping” his father in the idols’ workshop, “proving” to his immediate family that there is only one G-d… Just the fact that the midrash works so hard to tell us so much, gives us an idea how little we actually know and how much is missing.
The Torah tells us that Abraham was one of three brothers; that one brother died while still in Ur Casdim (Ur of the Chaldeans, about where Iraq is today); that the two remaining brothers were busy rebuilding the reminder of the Hebrew family, after losing 1/3 of them; and that this must have been a tragic time, personally and nationally. The Jewish year was around 1948, and just like in the last century, people didn’t talk much about their tragedies; instead they did what they had to do in order survive and ultimately thrive. That’s when Terach, Abraham’s father opted to take the family out of the “fiery furnace” (where the midrash tells us the ancient Jews were thrown into ovens –) and start on the journey to the Land of Israel, to build a new “state”, a new “state of mind”. As is the case with many journeys, his was driven by the desire to escape from a place that had harmed him. But when he chanced upon a lovely, modern, progressive, pluralistic city along the way, he chose to stay there.
Perhaps that’s where he then got a job as an idol workshop owner. Yes, maybe that position just opened. Or maybe something else.
Here is what our sages tell us in the Tractate of Ktubot (isn’t it interesting that matters of aliya are in the same tractate as marriage issues and challenges?):
ת”ר לעולם ידור אדם בא”י אפי’ בעיר שרובה עובדי כוכבים ואל ידור בחו”ל ואפילו בעיר שרובה ישראל שכל הדר בארץ ישראל דומה כמי שיש לו אלוה וכל הדר בחוצה לארץ דומה כמי שאין לו אלוה שנא’ (ויקרא כה, לח) לתת לכם את ארץ כנען להיות לכם לאלהים
In relation to the basic point raised by the mishna concerning living in Eretz Yisrael, the Sages taught: A person should always reside in Eretz Yisrael, even in a city that is mostly populated by gentiles, and he should not reside outside of Eretz Yisrael, even in a city that is mostly populated by Jews. The reason is that anyone who resides in Eretz Yisrael is considered as one who has a God, and anyone who resides outside of Eretz Yisrael is considered as one who does not have a God. As it is stated: “To give to you the land of Canaan, to be your God” (Leviticus 25:38) [sefaria’s translation]
A bit harsh? Nevertheless, the sages of the Babylonian Talmud, who sometimes clean things up just a little, in favor of their (lovely, modern, progressive, pluralistic) diaspora, here cling to a verse, teaching that living outside of the Land of Israel is tantamount to not having a G-d. What can we make of it, outside of Israel?
In order to make sense of that, we’ll invite another voice, from many centuries later, that of Rabbi Nachman who said: לכל מקום שאני הולך, אני הולך לארץ ישראל… “Everywhere I go, I am going to the Land of Israel”.
Wait, then what’s the problem with Abraham’s father? True, he parked for a while but still, if “everywhere” I go is part of the journey, then isn’t Charan (where he stayed, around Syria of today) also part of “everywhere”?
Indeed, in recent decades we focused in this phrase mostly on the Land of Israel, trying to deal with a new reality of the physical space, its politics, borders, management and much more. But perhaps, the saying also emphasizes “going”. If so it would mean that as long as we keep on going and keep growing, we’re going to a land that G-d shows us, the Land of Yashar-El, of being straight with G-d as well as struggling with G-d. The journey is often twisted and winding; we’re not always sure where “The” Land is; then again, Abraham wasn’t sure either. G-d said, to go to the “Land that I will show you”. Abraham thought he saw it, but then had another idea in mind, and thought that maybe Egypt will be “it”; he went down, then went up again. G-d was not always specific; he didn’t tell him everything, and the journey was not “perfect”, but ultimately, the “imperfection was also how it was supposed to be. Had G-d wanted the human beings to be obedient puppets, He could have made us so. But instead he made us as we are, somewhat flawed, somewhat great, including the opportunity to create our own journeys. At the end of the day, the Torah portion introducing Abraham and Sarah, our patriarch and matriarch, is not a full biography of their life, nor is it a foundation of our faith or obedience or peace on earth or a list of mitzvot or so many things, but it is about never giving up on walking, on “going on”, deeper and closer, and through that, being a blessing to ourselves and those around us too.

Shabbat Shalom.

keep on walking….

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Once upon an Ark – Parashat Noah

The second day of creation is the only day that doesn’t get a “good” (or “very good”) grade. Ten generations later, we find out why, when the flood covers the earth. It is as if G-d blew air into the water, creating a little bubble for us to live in, but once we misuse it, the water from above and below start mixing as this bubble threatens to close.
It is strange to read this story this week, along images of areas, impacted by hurricane “Michael”. Back then too, it’s clear there was a very serious flood, as flood stories exist in other near eastern cultures. But our story, long before environmental studies and research, spoke to the deep connection between human behavior and the world around, in ways we can – and cannot – quite fathom. So much so that while the first human is called “Adam”, “Adama” which would be the female grammatical form of this name, is not the word for his spouse, but for his “real” partner – the earth.
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Everybody knows Noah, the kind old man who, in most kids’ books, is bigger than the ark itself. Noah was both “righteous” and “wholehearted”. 19 century Rav Hirsch says that “righteousness” refers to his ways in the outside world, doing justice, being public, working with the world, while “wholehearted” describes Noah’s own-self, and what he does to complete himself. Noah walks with G-d. By contrast next week (and we compare them often), we’ll see that we know close to nothing about Abraham: G-d tells him “go”, and doesn’t tell us any of his qualities, and why he was chosen for this monumental task. Because Abraham we know; he’s ‘ours’ and needs no intros; it would be like introducing a grandfather to his own grandchildren. In addition, any intro’s would also just limit him, saying he’s this way or that, and the Torah sees no reason to shrink him.
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So Noah is a good guy, at least compare to when and where he lived. And he has 3 sons: Shem, Cham & Yefet, each representing another mega-culture or way of being in the world. Shem, who is our forefather, literally means “name”, but also as in לשם – le-shem – “for the sake of”, indicating purpose and direction, as a name should be, nd therefore also used for G-d, Hashem, “The Name”, the ultimate goal.

*******

The word for ark in this story, teiva, appears in the whole Bible only in two contexts; here and in the story of “baby Moses”. In both cases, a teiva is a life saving vessel, floating on the water (not a boat or basket-) and its purpose is survival rather than arrival somewhere. The root of the word is unclear and we can only learn about it from itself. Interestingly, it can also be used for a “word” or syllable, as if G-d invites Noah to come into the “word”.
G-d doesn’t leave anything for Noah’s imagination regarding the measurements and material of which the teiva should be built. The last piece is the window. Well, not quite a window, but a tzohar, צהר another unusual word that appears only here (and from which in modern Hebrew we get tzohorayim, noon, the time of extra or double light). Rav Hirsch connects tzohar to zohar, זהר to illuminate, and Rashi, based on the midrash, says about the tzohar that is can mean both “window” or “a good gem”, both being a source of light for those in the ark: The good gem would light for those inside the closed ark from within, while, in contrast, the window would allow light from the outside, leaving us to wonder, where does light comes from? Is it something we have within us, and by the nature of who we are, emanate and share it with those around us – or – is it something far away, incomprehensible, we look for outside of ourselves, and get only a glimpse of?

Shabbat Shalom.

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Presenting: the Spiral- the Torah portion of Beresheet

Our story of creation is a crazy story. It should have gone like this: ‘Once, whenever, G-d said poof and there was a perfect world; the end’. Instead, we have this: first G-d makes light. Then S/He says, this is alright, but, oops, what was I thinking? I should really separate the water above from the water below, but, well, that will take an extra day, I’ll do that tomorrow… Wait, I could gather the dirt and put some trees here, maybe even with fruits, ah, that looks good; And what about some sparkle? a sun and moon, maybe few stars in the sky? Yes, looks better… wait… wait!! I could make little creatures who would swim and fly and roam and walk the earth, maybe land animals? Oh yes, and how about a human who would be half soul, half dust, half divine, half flesh and bones; someone who at times, would cause all sorts of trouble to my planet and his peers, and at other times, would be absolutely amazing? That would be a nice touch!”….
But the Torah is not a history book, nor is it a physics, bio etc. Some scientific theories trying to align the two, and sometimes it matches but that is not the goal. It’s more like a letter to the human from the Divine talking about who they are and what’s their relationships like; a love letter if you will. From the very beginning, it speaks of second chances and make ups, of taking time, of doing things, of having opinions, of being deeply and fully engaged. That’s why we read it like this: did you see what s/he said here? I wonder what it means. We analyze every word, syllable, punctuation, options. We read it like our life depends on it, because, well, maybe it does.
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I think that even if we spend all our life on the first few chapters of Genesis, there will still be more left to “wow” at. Just looking at the very first verse, there is very little we understand; ah, let’s just try the first word! Beresheet is often translated as “in the beginning”, but had it been that, it should have been baresheet (and not be-resheet). As it stands, the first word of the Torah is in a form of a סמיכות a grammatical proximity, that is, a word which is not a stand. It literally means – ‘In A beginning of”… but then goes to talk about something else. I must say that it took me a while to notice, having grown up with this text and pretty much learning it by heart and taking it for granted, but I actually love it like this. I mean, I am not the first nor only one to see it and in the scheme of more than 2000 years, someone could have corrected this minor punctuation difference, but we didn’t. We kept our first word of our most holy book as a proximity with nothing obvious attached, leaving us to wonder, maybe we are its other part -?
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Ultimately, there is only one word we might understand in that first verse of the Torah: הארץ Ha’aretz – the earth, and also the term we affectionately use to describe “The Land”. If so, the verse means, “in a beginning, created G-d the heavens and the Land – of Israel”. A stretch?
Just earlier this week, on Simchat Torah, we finished reading the Torah and started right away again. We said we’re doing this to show that there is no beginning and no end. There is a teaching that when connecting the last letter of the Torah – — lamed and the first one — bet, we get the word lev, heart, so the Torah will be on our hearts continuously, and yet we don’t often look at it thematically.
In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses is teaching the Torah to the People of Israel (Deuteronomy 33:1. If all had gone well, he would have gone with them into the Land of Israel, bringing together the third pillar (the Torah, People and Land). In fact, we would have not gotten any more biblical books and lived happily ever after at home. Well, it didn’t quite work out this way, but that doesn’t prevent us from, one way or another, talking immediately now about the Land.
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The same G-d who looked at creation said it’s good, also looked one chapter later and said, it’s not good: “It is not good for the human to be alone” לא טוב היות האדם לבדו (Genesis 2:18). The first human is a combination male and female. It’s great. They live in oneness; they do everything together; they have no arguments, no challenges, it’s all good. They also don’t see each other, can’t grow, can’t feel the pain of separation and the joy of finding each other again. The human who was לבדו levado (alone) was לבוד lavud – wrapped around himself. Too much loneliness makes people harsh, says an Israeli song says מבדידות האנשים יוצאים קשים – let Me make him a help-meet against him, says G-d, so he can figure out how to use these communication skills I gave him, so he can feel and laugh and cry and eventually, get out of himself and eventually rediscover Me too. And the rest is commentary.
Shabbat Shalom.

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Listen, Sukkot is almost here! Parashat Ha’azinu and the upcoming holiday

This Shabbat we read a song, Shirat Ha’azinu. What is the difference between prayer and song? The Kabbalist point out that the words for tefila (prayer) and shira (song) have the same numerical value (515), as if to say that a song is a kind of a prayer but possibly while prayer initially tends to be more spontaneous, a song is more perfect, more thought-through.
The text of this week’s reading is written in two columns as opposed to the usual running text. The words are arranged like bricks, building two towers through layers, one on top of the other. There is a parable about a man who watches a tailor preparing a garment. The man, who does not know the art of sewing, is alarmed when the tailor reaches for the cloth and starts cutting and tearing at it, but the end result is a beautiful garment. To the untrained eye, the song too, is constructed of pieces, torn away from the “regular” words. But then appears one of the most amazing parts of the whole Bible, maybe just as we delve into the New Year, it helps remind us that somewhere, sometime, there is a possibility for perfection; not something we might be able to access all the time; we don’t live in that realm, but it does exist.
The Song opens with Moses telling even heavens and earth to be quiet, because he is now going to be speaking! How dare it? And isn’t he the humblest person to ever lived on the earth, like e-ver? Does he have something to say that’s greater than heaven and earth?
In this section, Moshe summarizes the Torah, prophecies of the messianic era and more, which can be understood as getting ready to learn about eternity. Then we might wonder, how can I too, in my own little personal life, be part of eternity? When Moshe tells heaven and earth to listen to his words (Deuteronomy 32:1), he tells things that we perceive as eternal that he has something greater yet – greater even than heaven and earth; something for which heaven and earth should keep quiet and listen. What is it? “his words”, the words of Torah. Unlike Aaron the High Priest, we know little of Moses’ physical children, but in a way, we are his children, and we got this gift of his, the gift of eternity, having words of Torah.
Coming up: Sukkot:
Almost as soon as Yom Kippur is over, there’s excitement in the air: Sukkot is coming! Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach told that during Neila, the last prayer of Yom Kipuur, when we get scared that the gates will be closed, hashem invites us to his inner most chambers, and whispers in each one’s ears: I have a special invite for you, to come and join me in my summer house; join me there for a week and I’ll heal your heart and soul and give you strength”. This means when we enter the sukkah, we have to feel at home!
Sukkot though, could have chosen a better season: if we commemorate the Children of Israel dwelling in Sukkot, why do it now? We did it for 40 years, with no particular date!? How about combining Sukkot and Pesach, won’t that be so much better? We can eat matza in the sukkah, avoid the crazy cleaning, let the crumbs fall in the yard, while we enjoy the spring!!
But, Sukkot comes davka (especially) when it gets colder outside (fall colors already spotted at Prospect Park!) and everybody thinks about going in and getting ready for winter, we “go out”. You might say that the Torah didn’t know we’d be living in North America and thought more of fall in the Land of Israel but even there it starts raining during this season, so what’s going on?
If we look at our tradition, we notice that “going out” is one of our ‘things”. G-d told Abraham to go out of his homeland and birth place. Jacob had to go out from that homeland. The Children of Israel left their land and then again, left Egypt. We have “gone out” of almost every country we lived in, being dispersed in the world; and then, just when we finally kind of figured out how to live in the diaspora, we leave that to go back to the Land.
To be clear, I am not suggesting a nomadic lifestyle, but there is a certain power in going out: going out of our homes and seeing nature, noticing small and large miracles and other people with their wisdom, joys, and pains; going out of our minds and expanding our thinking; going out as individuals, couples, families, communities, to see that which we don’t yet know.
In the Talmud, among the description of the Temple service, it says that the High Priest used to say: : יותר ממה שקראתי לפניכם כתוב כאן – More than I have read before you, is written here (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 70:1). Should we think that what we have in front of us, is all there is, we’re reminded again and again: there is so much more. Rain or shine, go out and see.

Shabbat Shalom & Chag Same’ach!

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Moshe and his fitbit – The Torah portion of Vayelech

I love Moshe in the Torah portion of Vayeylech, the shortest parasha in the Torah: at 120 years old, he walks. And not for his own musing, but in order to talk to the People “all these things” (Deuteronomy 31:1). Couldn’t they come to him? Didn’t anyone think, oh, Moshe is getting old, our journey is nearing its end, we should try to hear as much Torah from him as possible, let’s all go”… The portion’s name should have been “Venelech”, in the first person plural, as in “let us go”! but instead, the humblest person we know of, gets up and goes, so that we too will learn to walk; to go talk; to ask, to teach, to bid farewell when the time comes; to not sit around and wait for things to happen, but to get up and make them happen, at least start.
At 120, he also writes the Torah, coincidentally, or not, with the same Torah portion he “walks”, possibly to hint at a connection between the two (“walking”, lalechet, halacha and the Torah)? According to our tradition, he wrote 13 scrolls: one for each tribe and one to be placed in the holy ark. The sages have already noted the various authors of the Biblical books (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 14:b and copied below). The question of course arises regarding “who wrote the Torah”. The Torah itself says that Moses did (Deuteronomy 31:9), but then, there are issues: Could Moses actually write about his own death? According to some, sure, why not; he was G-d’s secretary and would write whatever the Boss told him! And yet according to others, writing about his own death would have been too much to ask, and Joshua wrote that. Ah, but once we say that any part of the Torah was written by someone else, what about other seemingly out of place verses, like Genesis 12:6: – והכנעני אז בארץ- “And the Canaanites were then in the Land”. What does the Torah mean by “then”? Did someone write it in later??? There are ways to explain it but the question remains: Did Moshe write the whole Torah as describe right here in our reading?
In the early 1990’s a fantastic kids’ book was published: The Always Prayer Shawl. The Books tells of the time when Adam’s family leaves Russia for America, Grandfather gives him an ancient prayer shawl that has been passed down from generation to generation, and in time, an older Adam passes the prayer shawl down to his own grandson. The problem is the prayer shawl get frayed: the tzitzit unravels, the writing fades, the cloth falls apart. Every generation fixes something, so by the time it reaches Adam’s own grandson, it’s a completely different prayer shawl. Nevertheless, it is the always prayer shawl, the same exact one, passed down through the generations.
I think of this story often: on one hand, one of our principals is that G-d gave the Torah to Moses, but on the other hand, He also gave the Torah to us, and as Rabbi Yehoshua noted in the famous debate (Bava Metzia 59b) it didn’t stay in the heavens. Further, if we think Moses got the whole Torah already at Sinai, we have many problems. For example, why was he worried during Korach’s rebellion? Why was he pleading to go into the Land? More likely is that Moses wrote as they traveled and at the end, put it all together to give us one book. The sages already split hairs on what is this “all together”: really all or maybe just most?? And what would be the ramifications of that??
Luckily, we don’t have to decide. It is possible to accept both and understand it in a boarder way, exactly like with the Always prayer shawl: too many changes, additions and adjustments, will make the shawl a table cloth or perhaps a dress. The Torah we have is. of course, the Torah of Moses, and yet, at the same time, it is being written again and again, as it being transmitted from one generation to the next.
Shabbat Shalom.

From the Talmud:

בבא בתרא יד:ב: ומי כתבן? משה כתב ספרו ופרשת בלעם ואיוב יהושע כתב ספרו ושמונה פסוקים שבתורה שמואל כתב ספרו ושופטים ורות דוד כתב ספר תהלים על ידי עשרה זקנים ע”י אדם הראשון על ידי מלכי צדק ועל ידי אברהם וע”י משה ועל ידי הימן וע”י ידותון ועל ידי אסף
Bava Batra 14:b: The baraita now considers the authors of the biblical books: And who wrote the books of the Bible? Moses wrote his own book, i.e., the Torah, and the portion of Balaam in the Torah, and the book of Job. Joshua wrote his own book and eight verses in the Torah, which describe the death of Moses. Samuel wrote his own book, the book of Judges, and the book of Ruth. David wrote the book of Psalms by means of ten elders of previous generations, assembling a collection that included compositions of others along with his own. He included psalms authored by Adam the first man, by Melchizedek king of Salem, and by Abraham, and by Moses, and by Heman, and by Jeduthun, and by Asaph,
15a
ועל ידי שלשה בני קרח
and by the three sons of Korah.
ירמיה כתב ספרו וספר מלכים וקינות חזקיה וסיעתו כתבו (ימש”ק סימן) ישעיה משלי שיר השירים וקהלת אנשי כנסת הגדולה כתבו (קנד”ג סימן) יחזקאל ושנים עשר דניאל ומגילת אסתר עזרא כתב ספרו ויחס של דברי הימים עד לו
Jeremiah wrote his own book, and the book of Kings, and Lamentations. Hezekiah and his colleagues wrote the following, and a mnemonic to remember which books they wrote is yod, mem, shin, kuf: Isaiah [Yeshaya], Proverbs [Mishlei], Song of Songs [Shir HaShirim], and Ecclesiastes [Kohelet]. The members of the Great Assembly wrote the following, and a mnemonic to remember these books is kuf, nun, dalet, gimmel: Ezekiel [Yeḥezkel ], and the Twelve Prophets [Sheneim Asar], Daniel [Daniel ], and the Scroll of Esther [Megillat Ester]. Ezra wrote his own book and the genealogy of the book of Chronicles until his period.

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This Rosh Hashana holiday, what is it all about?

Why do we celebrate Rosh Hashana? We often say, “it’s the birthday of the world!” and it is, but… turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than that. According to Rav Uri Sherki, every Jewish holiday is connected to a historical event. If the event is creation, we already have a holiday to celebrate that (Shabbat!). Further, we don’t celebrate events we don’t attend. This is why although light was created first, it only got a holiday when we encounter the historical events of Hanukkah. So what it is that happened on Rosh Hashana?
Rabbi Eliezer and rabbi Yehoshua debate that too, and the Talmud tells us (Masechet Rosh Hashana 10:2) that these two esteemed sages actually disagreed on whether the world was created in Tishrei because Rabbi Yehoshua holds that the world was created in Nisan, in the spring, and there is no way that not only do we celebrate an event which we did not attend, but an event over which there is a machloket (unresolved debate)! But there are a few things they agree on, and one national event: בטלה העבדות במצריםSlavery in Egypt was canceled.
Wait, what?? What about the charoset, maror, matza baked in haste?? Prince of Egypt?? Anything??
Yes, all of it and yet, according to our sages, it is really Rosh Hashana that celebrates the beginning of freedom!
And what about Yom Kippur? What historical, national event does Yom Kippur celebrate?
Our tradition teaches that the day Moses comes back with the second set of tablets is – Yom Kippur, the day of reconciliation, forgiveness and second chances. If so, what we’re about the celebrate is a fall variation of Pesach and of Shavuot!
What is the time span between this first event and the second?
If slavery was canceled in a sort of emancipation on Rosh Hashana, then the Exodus itself in the spring, then Shavuot, first set of tablets, followed by the golden calf, and more days on Sinai leading to getting the second set on the next Yom Kippur, it means that it’s been one whole year between them; well, if to be precise, one year and 10 days; ten days that don’t quite “belong” to either year. Those are the ten days we’re beginning tonight, the ten days of teshuva, repentance, a time of recalibrating and starting over.

May it be a good beginning to a good New Year! Shana Tova!!

 

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Stand up! The King is coming! for Parashat Nitzavim

The Torah portion of ניצבים- Nitzavim – standing guarding and attending – is always read before Rosh Hashana, and as I often say, this is definitely one of my 54 most favorite readings. It is home to the famous לא בשמים היא – “It is not in the heavens” (Deuteronomy 30:12), which is the saying many centuries later Rabbi Yehoshua used in his argument against Rabbi Eliezer, trying to emphasize how the Torah is ours, for us to use, kneed and work with; it talks about choice and about teshuva (repentance, coming back) and more.
One of these gems is especially curious (Deuteronomy 29:28):
הנסתרת ליהוה אלהינו והנגלת לנו ולבנינו עד־עולם לעשות את־כל־דברי התורה הזאת (ס)
The concealed acts are to Hashem our God and the revealed one it is for us and our children forever to do all the words of this Torah.
I purposely took out any punctuation so the confusion can be obvious. It can be read in (at least) two ways):
The concealed acts are to Hashem our God.
And the revealed ones are for us and our children forever to do all the words of this Torah.
OR
The concealed acts are to Hashem our God and the revealed ones.
It is for us and our children forever to do all the words of this Torah.
Which way is it?
One way to check is to look at the Torah trope, the musical notes that help us make sense of the text, highlight, divide, punctuate the verses. But even those, put over the word הנגלות – “haniglot” – the revealed – a non-committal mark which can make the word go with either side of the sentence. And, not only that, but above that words -לנו ולבנינו עד עולם – “to us and our children forever”, very (very!) unusually so, there are eleven dots. According to Rav Hirsch, this is all about our mutual responsibility for each other (in the sense of —- all Israel have mutual solidarity or care for one anoter), and these dots “serve to limit the applicability of our responsibility”. For Hirsch it means that even for the –נגלות – niglot, the responsibility only takes effect after entering the Land and the proclamation of the covenant on Mount Grizim and Mount Eival (which we read about last week). Until that time, the נגלות – niglot (revealed things) too, are just like the נסתרות – nistarot (concealed), and are to Hashem. What is it about the entry to the Land for him? Is it “the Land” (i.e. anyone being in it)? or is it us being together? Or a combination of us being together in the Land? This question is not just a “pilpul” (Talmudic argument) but an inquiry of what’s on us to do. When we stand and say, “it’s this way”! “This is the only answer”! How do we know? Perhaps, it is no coincidence that this quest for an added “chip” of humility, comes right before Rosh Hashana, the day we crown G-d as King. As if to say, we know some; with great effort, we can know a tiny bit little more, but we don’t know it all. This can be both scary and comforting. We’re not in full control but we also don’t have to worry about everything; there’s a Boss. Let’s just do the little things we can.

Shabbat Shalom.

Hide and Seek

 

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