Thursday, January 24, 2008

From Parshat Beshallach/Take the Long Way Home

Minnesota, 1/18-20/08

By Shawn Shafner

Storah On The Road

This past weekend, Naomi Less and I got up early in the cold New York morning and headed to the airport. Four hours later, it was still early in morning, but in a much colder Minnesota air. Seriously cold. Like zero degrees was the high. It was a painful, blistering, cough-when-you-inhale kind of weather that we, for some reason, brought with us this past weekend. We steeled ourselves inside our rental car and took stock. We had a Friday night Kavannah and introduction, a Saturday morning Maven and talkback, Saturday night youth workshop, and a Sunday morning extravaganza—a keynote speech (for which Naomi was amazing!), and three workshops to be taught. Whoo! So we put our courage to the sticking place, checked the rearview mirrors, and revved up the engine. Neither hail, nor sleet, nor threat of frostbite could keep us from accomplishing our mission: spreading the Storah.

By which I mean story. One of the things that has never ceased to amaze me about working on a parsha as we do, is that it begins to show up in my life. The ancient story seeps through the walls of time, and the questions we’re refining for our show pop up like friendly gnomes around every tree. I begin to see Beshallach everywhere I turn; a red light becomes the Sea of Reeds, and I’m Nachshon, struggling to be free. Sometimes I forget that when we take it on the road, it becomes infectious.

“I just got back last week from my father’s yahrzeit, and I feel so much like I’m carrying his legacy. Seeing Joseph’s bones on the bimah was so touching for me, and comforting.”

“Since yesterday when you guys did the show, I keep finding myself thinking about little bits of the story. It really illuminated some things going on in my life, which I don’t think I’d really realized were there.”

“I found myself wanting so badly to tell your character to just calm down, to just believe in the process. And then I realized I was talking to myself. Thanks.”

Torah is a mirror. What a joy and a privilege it is to get to travel around and maybe hold it up for people.

No comments:

Post a Comment