I’m currently reading (a phrase I use a lot) Tribes by Seth Godin and I’m slowly making my way through it. It, like much of Godin’s material, is deeper than it appears and must be waded through. Well written and brilliant, he packs so much into his works.
While listening to an old interview between Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin, they remarked that the cost of trying new things is exceedingly low and the benefits astronomical. I couldn’t help but apply this to something I’m passionate about.
On Shabbat, I taught a piece of text from the Shulkhan Arukh at a moment in our service for learning. It was suggested to me by my rav when I was trying to figure out what to teach. I looked up a bunch of references, but all in all, the text stood by itself. Little more was said on it that the words themselves.
With the sad news of Gene Wilder's death, I revisited one of my favorite's of his works, The Frisco Kid. In this phenomenally funny movie, Gene Wilder plays a Polish rabbi sent to serve a community in San Francisco in the 1850s.
We find our illustrious heroes, the Israelite people. They are at the edge of the land, not yet into Israel. For the last few weeks in the Torah, and for most of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses has been preaching to the people. He is terrified and desperate for the people to know what they are to do and how they are to act once they are in the land.
...For the next two hours, I listened. I listened to black women who spoke of challenges and concerns that my white male privilege has shielded me from. I listened to black women who prayed for resolution, strength, and protection. I listened to black women who wanted justice. Beside them, supporting them, and in their name, I chanted, "we're on the people's side", "trust Black women", and "Black lives matter."...
Imagine, for a moment, that you can enter any Jewish setting, a synagogue, a class, a Shabbat meal. You walk in, sit down, and within a few minutes, you know easily what page everyone is on. You feel comfortable and at ease. You know what to do and what is next.
Truth is, very few people these days really feel that comfort. They don’t feel at ease, know what page we’re on, or what is really happening. It’s a problem we all need to face and be honest about...
I was sitting in the large sanctuary when the rabbi announced that there had been another mass shooting, in Florida. The pit in my stomach returned and I sank into my seat. The giant walls of the room, their beautiful stained glass, the bima became gray in my sight. Another shooting. More dead. At that point, I did not know the extent of the violence, the numbers, the hate.
When I returned home, I was informed that nearly fifty people had been murdered in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, and an untold amount of people injured.
Over the last week or two, I have been moving out of my apartment in preparation to move to Pittsburgh. Packing boxes, sorting through papers, getting rid of furniture, and lots of complaining. Moving is challenging. It is tons of tiny acts that when collected, life your life to a new location. What we often miss, a process, I’m trying to engage in myself, is actually transitioning from one life to another.