Friday, November 26, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
My father acquired books and a good reputation.
“You don’t need to remember everything,“ my father admonished, “But you need to know where to find everything. If you do this, you will acquire a good reputation.”
Every book he owned was a treasure box that contained golden nuggets of knowledge.
Whenever I had a question about a certain Jewish law or the meaning of a word in a Hebrew text, I called my father, my authorized, fully annotated, walking encyclopedia. He was every book that I would ever need.
Rabbi Benjamin Miller died of pneumonia one cold February morning three years ago. He died and took His Book with him.
So when I was confronted by a young Jewish man who was sabotaging his Jewish path and past, I wanted to call my father and ask him what to do. What book did he have on his shelf that would provide a compelling treatise for this man’s soul-full maturation?
I scanned my library shelves in vain, while I conjured up a conversation with the spirit of my late father. To my surprise and infinite gratitude, my father continued to transmit his teaching to me.
You don’t need to find a book. You are the book that will touch his soul. Bless him and love him. Skype him and e-mail him. Call him and text him. He will turn your pages and your knowing will be transmitted to him through you. He will read your soul and know everything he needs to know.
Today, I want to be the open book of my father’s essential being and teachings.
I strive to be the book that will touch people’s souls.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Eleanor Rigby may have died alone, but because of the Beatles she was never forgotten. The song entitled "Eleanor Rigby" ends with the refrain:
All the lonely people.
Where do they all belong?
All the lonely people.
Where do they all come from?
Eleanor Rigby’s story continues to haunt me.
From the beginning of creation, God wanted to belong. One Midrash (rabbinic legend) imagines that after God created the physical world and saw that it was very good, God succumbed to an ethereal loneliness. The angels peeked in on him and heard a majestic quiet cry.
“Something is missing,” God mused. “I am disconnected from the very world I gave birth to. I need a connector. Where do I belong?”
Enter from above stage right, Adam and then Eve. The relationship between God and humankind began as a result of God’s loneliness. Belonging became a basic human need.
I often meet people who are disconnected from the world they live in. Their separateness and their loneliness pervade their daily lives.
Where do all the lonely people come from? Could it be that we have created Eleanor Rigby?