Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Standing At Sinai

Look at us
Standing at Sinai
Gathered together at the foot of a mountain to meet God.
It's too much to take in
Too big to describe
Like this mountain.

Maybe it's just a useful metaphor:
A mountain of the needy and the suffering
that we ignore every day?
Or a mountain of guilt, a mountain of debt?
Or maybe it's all of the knowledge we've yet to learn?
Or a mountain of fear, 
a mountain of the unknown, 
a mountain of uncertainty and procrastination and failure.
A mountain to roll a stone up, a mountain of opposition, 
Oy vey iz mere.
God is in the Law, in the right and the wrong of our choices,
This mountain is huge!

Or maybe it's just a regular old mountain, 
A very large pile of dirt and vegetation,
merely geology.
With trails to climb and
Rocks to stand on to take in the view.
Animals and bugs living in hidden places
Forming their own perfect worlds with no reference to us whatsoever, 
As long as we leave them alone.
Maybe this mountain is our earth, our world, 
To cherish and take care of or 
To abuse and ignore.
God is everywhere in nature and
We are only one small speck on the mountain.

Maybe this mountain is Mount Sinai
And we are waiting for revelation
Because God, the actual God of Torah and Talmud and Tikkun Olam
Is getting ready to show God's self to us.
Maybe all the truth and love in the world is actually making itself available to us,
We who have done nothing but cry and complain.
Poor hungry, scared us!
And this is more special and holy than we can take in.
So we look away and cover our ears
And God is in the marvelous silence.

So let us step up to the metaphors!
Step up to the dirt and the mysteries!
We are standing at Sinai
And it is all for us
However we experience it.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Ruach Ha Olam
Blessed One-ness, Breath of the Universe
We are humble in your presence
However you manifest.
And let us say,


Friday, February 10, 2017

Rosh Hodesh Adar

Blessed One-ness 
Blessed HaMavdil,
Dividing time into years and months and days:

We imagine that long ago
We might have been afraid
When the moon disappeared.
It was so dark at night
Like the end of the world.
We howled at the empty sky
And then, like a miracle,
A sliver appeared.
Whatever arrives, leaves,
Whatever is gone, returns.
We gave thanks for the returning moon then,
We give thanks for the returning moon today.
We give thanks for the regularity of nature.

Adar is the month to schedule a court case, say the sages,
And it’s the month to have an operation.
It was on the first day of Adar that Moses and God brought upon the stubborn Egyptians
The ninth plague,
And this month that begins in sorrow and blindness
Ends, says the Talmud, in joy.
What an auspicious month,
Full of escapes from certain doom!

Blessed One-ness 
Blessed HaMavdil,
Dividing time into years and months and days,
Pushing back the darkness with the light of the full moon,
For that and so much more, we give thanks.

Hodesh Tov!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Four Days: a drash for Parshat Bo

In a small village of destitute slaves
Watched over by nasty Egyptians
The kind who worship animals,
Like lambs,
And who will kill you if they find you with one of their sacred beasts.
And Moses says,
"You shall take a lamb to a family"
"You shall keep watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month."


Easy for him to say.
You ever keep a lamb?  
'Specially a lamb without its mama?
You know what lambs do when they're looking for their mamas?


So four days,
Four days with this lonely lamb
Waiting for the Egyptian soldiers to come crashing in
And if they do
It ain't the lamb they're gonna slaughter for breakfast.

In a large gathering of destitute slaves
Oppressed by nasty Egyptians,
The kind who take pleasure in causing pain
To innocent slaves
Like you and me,
And said Egyptians only want an excuse to hurt you
And Moses says,
Use these four days
To prove your commitment!
If you can live through this tension
You can live through anything.
Trust in God
Trust in goodness
Trust in the future
And you will be protected
And you will be free.


Long story short,
We waited four days.
Lemme tell you
It was very stressful.
Four days felt like four years.
It took ten years off my life, easy.

But the time finally passed
And we killed that monster
And we ate him up,
Every baa and bleat of him.
He was delicious.
And we put his blood on the wall
And the Angel of Death passed over.

You know the rest.