Archive | August, 2013

eve of sabbath (a poem)

30 Aug

As shadows lengthen

Casting a rare glow

Of hazy dusk

As the sun

lazily bids farewell

To Friday noon

I feel as if the world

Has been set to slow motion

But yet as I grasp it 

With my fingers

The day slips away

With the sun’s dying rays

And I am left

To relinquish my hold

on the golden hues

Of Jerusalem.

Shabbat has arrived.

For some

Shabbat is queen dressed in finery

Preparations  loud and panicked

For some shabbat is an anaesthetist

Numbing bone tiredness of six days of grind

For some it is 

A young girl in beach clothes

Barefoot, laughing in abandon

For others a climber scaling

Mountain walls as sweat drips

100 feet below

Or possibly

A leisurely family lunch

In a noisy cafe

But true shabbat

Refuses to be defined 

Limited or contained

True shabbat

Is felt.Image

 

 

get refusal is just an illustration on how lost orthodoxy is….

24 Aug

I read the article on Rabbi Avraham Meir Weiss refusing to give a get to Gital Dodelson and after having read all the comments my blood started to boil. I read these stories and I peruse the feedback, with halachic banterings and ‘there are always two sides to the story’ and think ‘where is God in all of this?’

First let’s get some points clear

1.Either the point of halacha is to be a system for Jews to follow in the pathway of Hashem, to become a light to the nations, to lead the goyim or it’s not.

Let me clarify – when one person restricts another person’s basic rights in the name of God, which include to remarry then the moral and humane side of orthodoxy seriously comes into question. If we are supposed to be a ‘light to the nations’, then how is it that in a democracy such as Israel or America countless men (and women)  abuse system in order to infringe on another’s basic human rights? The non-Jews don’t do it, so why do we?

2. I don’t care how many sides there are to this story, if Mr Weiss has his differences with his wife, he can resolve them AFTER he has let her go free. A get is not a weapon for coercion and blackmail, nor should it ever be.The more opinions you read the more the basic issue gets diluted – no one should hold a person’s basic rights back in the name of whatever it is (unless that person is a danger to society). He wants custody of the child, I understand. Well, he can get in line with all of the other hundreds of thousands of people seeking custody who do not have a get at their disposal as a means of coercion.

Where is God in all of this, where is truth? Does God smile upon the Batei Dinim who issue their statements, does God care if the husband or wife are from respectable families that go back to matan torah or not?

Bullying is bullying. If it’s in the name of the Torah, Halacha, Islam, Christianity or not it is NOT the way of God. God does not bully, God whispers in our ears and all of us know, deep down inside what is the right thing to do.

a ‘misunderstanding’

22 Aug

We live in a world of euphemisms. It is not politically correct to call a person a liar, evil, manipulative or anything negative. In short, we try to treat on each other’s toes in order not to offend anyone’s ‘sensitivities’.

There is a place for this, I agree. When there are two opposing viewpoints and a third party is trying to get them to agree (there has to be a compromise somewhere) it is a very useful tool to rewrite or readjust the other person’s script.

When dealing with children we are working on the basis that they are but children and that their self-esteem and self-evaluation skills need to be developed, so rather than saying a child is pudgy we encourage them to eat better and exercise more, for example. When dealing with children, it’s always advisable to use words that build rather than words that might potentially destroy.

But last night I heard the word ‘it was a misunderstanding’ and my blood started to boil. I knew the truth. There was no other way of looking at it, it was a question of lies and manipulation. In this case, the other person had deliberately chosen to misunderstand something and consequently lied which meant that others misunderstood him!! The lie starts when you lie to yourself, and continues when you lie to others based on the lie you tell yourself. The word ‘misunderstanding’, unless it has ‘deliberate’ written before it, is a lie in itself.

God is God of truth and honesty. God is a God of righteousness and justice. God can see through lies and manipulations and God will ultimately judge the liars of the world and they will have no words or excuses to hide behind.

Self-Reflection or Denial?

19 Aug

God created us in his image; we can grow, change, create, adapt and wake up one morning and decide to be someone completely new. These are our Godly gifts.
What is the opposite? Being static, rigid, fearful of change and clinging on to the old and familiar simply because that is all we know. Unfortunately religious dogma creates and encourages this.
Dear God, there is only one reality; it is the one you create for me. Let me accept it, adapt to it and use it as a means of growing and changing with You and for You.

Aside

The Cave and the Light

18 Aug

I spent a beautiful shabbat biking with my husband during which he invited me to go explore a local cave (a sort of secret spot that the water-hole seekers don’t know about). I’ve been there before – it’s a water source; deliciously cool and you wade through water just above your ankles. There are two problems with the cave for me; firstly it’s DARK (no, we didn’t have flashlights) and secondly you have to CRAWL to get to the water source. Crawling on rocks in the dark is not my favourite occupation. I was visiting the cave for the second time so I kind of knew what to expect but this time my husband wanted to explore further – go to the other end of the cave. Don’t worry, he reassured me, the cave lead to another exit. The problem was I couldn’t see anything, nothing. God knows what a control freak I am deep down inside. I may be happy-go-lucky and easy going on the outside, but deep down, I like CONTROL. Being in complete darkness is the complete opposite. My husband proceeded ahead but I sensed he was moving downwards into a tight space. I refused to follow, he insisted, we argued, he won. I used my other senses to feel the cave around me and within a few minutes I could see the light of the other exit of the cave.

A strange thing happened when I turned around; all of a sudden I could see. I could see the light coming from the side I’d come from. How was it that before there was complete blackness? How come before I’d been so frightened?

We live in a world of darkness. We need patience and courage to overcome our blindness, adjust our eyes to a new reality until we can finally see the world around us. We have to LET the light come in and be patient about it.

Our worst enemy is fear. What would have stopped me proceeding to the other end of the tunnel had my husband not convinced me was fear, that gut-wrenching, immobilizing terror that stops us from getting close to God and to what He wants.

Last night a friend gave me some very unfortunate news – her daughter was in a situation that could have been prevented. I think my tunnel experience was very connected to this. This girl’s mother was so frightened that she turned away from the light and denied what was before her eyes but in the end created something worse than what she was trying to avoid. She didn’t give her eyes a chance to adjust. She blinkered herself and thus damaged her daughter.

I pray that God will always allow me to distinguish between light and darkness, between what is imaginary and what is real.

old thoughts

17 Aug

If you don’t blog and blog then you stop blogging. Sounds simple but it’s really true. I have thoughts going through my head and just as I’m about to log in….ooops, another thing needs taking care of.

The US is reeling from an attack on a school that defies human comprehension. When evil shows it’s face, the terrror of it is searing. And we ask ourselves….how?

God is once again showing us that we don’t have the answers. Once upon a time we looked to America as if it was the place that the world should look to; the land of the free. But it seems that this freedom is actually imprisoning America’s own people. People who pose a danger to society can roam around, armed with firearms and practice their own form of ‘freedom’. Indeed, a euphemism for a terrorist that the West likes to use is ‘freedom fighter’.

The banner that has been long waved by the West of ‘liberty’ is forming a tight noose around the necks of those who dare to wave it – I can’t afford it but I’m ‘free’ to buy it, quacks, nuts and terrorists have the ‘freedom’ to have their own opinions, children exercise their ‘rights’ against their own parents…..where will it end?

God is showing us clearly that the things that stand between us and Him, those we clutch to us as if they were the most precious thing on earth do not exist. They do not protect us from evil and harm. If we run to religion then we run to a world that has it’s own insular evils; insularity, fear, shame , guilt  and those who are clad as ‘holies’ who use ‘holiness’ for their own ends. There is no utopia, for the ego will not allow it.

It is time to let go of the worst ego of all, the ego that ‘knows’ the ego that ‘is in control’, the ego that trusts in anything other than in God.

It’s not something anyone told me, and it’s not something I read anywhere, it’s just a strong feeling inside, a feeling that is right. God isn’t asking anything complicated from us; no hocus pocus, no ritualistic nonesense, no ‘chosen’ leader; God has his hand outstretched to us and he wants us to take it.

He wants us to walk with Him.

Walking with him means realising that without him I cannot and will not find the right path. Without him, I am nothing. Whatever I have, it is because of Him and compared to Him I am limited, helpless, hopeless and pitiful.

I am a lost cause.

When I look at the hopelessness of the world around me, when I look at the chaos, the evil of a man shooting innocent schoolchildren on a crazed whim,  I look to the heavens and say, God, don’t leave me. You have all the answers. I have none.