It has been an interesting week, my friends.
I had a powerful lesson about turning back to the sources. We've been having some difficulties with the local television media at my facility. I'll spare you the details. Eager to find a positive resolution to our problems, I broadcast a message for help on the net to the various theatre lists I subscribe to. Though I received many answers, one in particular came back and caught my eye. In offering suggestions for how to decide, the message referred to a statement that the writer believed was the work of Hillel. (The writer was not Jewish.) His quoting and translation of the well-known saying was not quite on target, so it took me a minute to understand, but when I did, a broad smile appeared on my face as I realized that these words would indeed help me solve my dilemma. The saying was the famous "Im ein ani li mi li...."
As I thought about those words and their meaning, a solution to my problem began to take shape. But it wasn't quite complete yet. Suddenly, my mind made the connection, as it remebered another great saying by that same sage. "B'makom sh'ein anashim hishtadel lihiyot ish." I slammed my forehead. Of course! Between these two wise and timeless sayings, I was able to find a modern, viable, meaningful, and ultimately Jewish solution.
It was amazing. A solution that allowed me to be for myself, be for others, and act like a mensch. Best of all, the time to implement it was now. How neatly it all fit, and how chagrined I was that it took a stranger to remind me to use my own faith to seek answers.
Today, yet another lesson. As I sat down to write these words, already overwhelmed with the thousands of other things I was trying to finish before Shabbat, I wnet blank. Nothing would come. Rather than try, I was all prepared to just send a simple "Shabbat Shalom" note to all. Instead I thought, why not do something else for a while and come back to it. So I went back into the living room (I actually took a day off today, to enjoy the warmth of my house after a week without heat as we waited for a new furnace to be installed.) I put some music on the stereo (Ketzev, if you must know.) As I started to head for the kitchen, I saw my open copy of the Plaut Torah commentary sitting on the table where I had left it after re-reading the parashat in preparation for my leading services tonight. I sat down and started to read. I don't know what words I read or what thoughts I was thinking, but all of a sudden I knew what to write to all of you about today. It was as though my brain had re-booted and was working again. Brains too, like computers, tend to get GPFs and lock up!
I must hurry and finish, as I am now eager to get back to my reading, and see what other inspirations will come.
To each and every one of you, my wishes (and those of my beautiful wife, Linda) for a joyous Shabbat, and may you too discover the magic of our own faith, and the still relevant and timely words of our teachers, past and present.
© 1996 by Adrian A. Durlester
Some other musings on this parasha:
5766-The Price of Giving
Vayera 5765-From the Journal of Lot Pt. II
Vayera 5762-Plainly Spoken
Vayera 5760/5761-More From the "Journal of Lot"
Vayera 5759-Whoops! (or "Non-Linear Thinking?")
Vayera 5757-Technical Difficulties
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