Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Parshat Yitro: Its like thunder, and lightening, the way you love me is frightening…

By Chloe Ramras
Verse Per Verse

I am no scholar, but this is a big one folks. Dot dot dot the house of Jacob and all the children of Israel therein step up to the plate and get smacked upside the head with the good book.

It’s like thunder, and lightening, the way you love me is frightening…

“And G-d said to Moses, ‘Go down, warn the people not to break through to the Lord to gaze, lest many of them perish.’” (Exodus 19:21)

DUN, DUN, DUN!!!!!!!!

What a crazy scene? Jews fearing for their lives, seeing the light, thunder and smoke. Blinding visions of G-d, the raw deal. I’d be scared too. The people at the bottom of the rock ended up not being able to handle all Ten Commandments. We got the first two from yours truly and asked Moses to take the rest of the heat. Ouch! We couldn’t handle the TRUTH.

PARANOIA: What if Moses was messing with us? Moses was not the best lingual translator. Sure, G-d picked him first out of the line up, but why is it that the Jews did not receive the Torah, the guide to life, first hand? WE WERE RIGHT THERE!

Well it turns out not all of us were ready to handle the revelation at Sinai. Accepting G-d as the creator of everything you know and love without question is THE hardest thing to do in life. Period

I just returned from Eretz Yisrael this past week. I had the ineffable pleasure of spending Shabbat in the Holy city of Tsfat. At the highest point of the city on Saturday morning, I looked out onto the rolling mountains and saw several layers of clouds bleeding one into each other, ten layers to be exact. Each layer of cloud got thicker and thicker as it rolled on until I could no longer see anything but white. I cried and then connected in that moment the significance of the number ten (gematriah is so hot). TEN, I am to understand is a very Holy number. In Kabbalah, they say there are ten layers or spherot, between a human and G-d. Each layer is exponentially thicker as you get closer and closer to G-d. I would like to say that I recognized G-d that day and I am now ready to give my whole life to Torah… but I am not ready. I am going to listen to Moses for a few more tunes. Maybe press repeat on ones I didn’t quite get the first, or 37th time.

The Zohar says the whole purpose of life is to elevate one’s spiritual self. Or HaChaim says that it is important to stay alive while doing this. I am reminded of a story...

There once was a boy who wanted to know what would make him happy for the rest of his life. The boy went to the smartest Rabbi in all the land. This super smart Rabbi also happened to be the richest and had a gorgeous palace to show for it. The boy went to the Rabbi’s palace and took a number. The smartest Rabbi in all the land was a very busy one too. The boy’s number was finally was called. He entered the Rabbi’s office and asked, “Rabbi, I want to know what will make me happy for the rest of my life.” The Rabbi, looking down, shuffling over papers and Starbucks cups said, “Um, I am little busy son, come back in an hour and I will answer your question. Go enjoy my palace and take this spoon filled of three drops of oil with you. You must keep the oil in the spoon. Come back and I will answer your question then.” The boy took the spoon, completely confused and left the Rabbi’s office. He carefully walked down the hallways and corridors out into the garden never taking his eyes off the oil in the spoon. “Such a ridiculous task must have some deeper significance. I want my question answered and I doubt the Rabbi will answer if I do not fulfill this task.” An hour later, the boy went back to the Rabbi’s office, oil intact and says, “Okay, here is the oil. See all three drops! So, Rabbi can you tell me now, what will make me the happy for the rest of my life?” The Rabbi answered, of course, with another question, “How did you enjoy my palace, boy? How about my collection of Bonsai trees? Pretty impressive, no?” Hopelessly stalling, the boy replied, “Uh, yeah, I guess it was pretty cool, er?” The Rabbi furrowed his thick brow knowingly, “You were not paying any attention to my beautiful palace at all. Go out again. Keep the spoon and oil and please have a good time. Check out my Kid Robot collection and pick some fruit from the orchards. It’s the best in the land. Come back in another hour.” Embarrassed the boy turned and left the Rabbi’s office. The palace turned out to be the cream of the cribs crop! The boy was floored by the state of the art gallery space, the gorgeous naked women in the orchards and more succulent fruit than he could stomach. He went back to the Rabbi, drunk with pleasure. “Dude, rebba, your palace is the shizznit! We could throw the sickest foam party here! So, you got the low on my inquiration, brah?” The Rabbi looked at the boy who at this point had the spoon twirled somehow in his hair, oil dripping down his face. “Boy, to live a fulfilled and happy life one must keep his integrity in his heart and enjoy the riches of life at the same time.” The Rabbi added three more drops to the spoon and handed it back to the smiling boy.

I am on a learning journey. I battle with myself and ask (do I dare even ask?) the question “do I believe?” In weak and lonely moments I have trouble and wrestle with the validity of my existence. So, I take a step back. Think about what I do know and what I do believe. Then, I look at the moon and the trees and remember the sound of my mother’s voice telling me how proud she is of me, and to do my best.

1 comment:

  1. dudette, this is a lovely and challanging one. What were you ON in Tzefat??
    here's to three drops of oil awaiting the anointment celebrations.