Monday, June 16, 2008

Mordechai says that in the short stories he writes, the characters he relates to the most are all somehow, vaguely Jewish. They never state it, or do anything that resembles Jewish practice. But he feels like they're Jewish. This, he says, is how he can tell he's connecting with his own Jewish identity. I couldn't be more grateful.

Also, before I forget -- Shavuot was amazing this year. I wish I could have stayed all night, talking Torah with a group of brilliant and inspiring rabbis. Unfortunately, I had class in the morning. But there is one interpretation that stuck with me.

Rabbi L. said that the Fall in Genesis is a story of separation and disconnect. Before eating of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve saw themselves as part of the world, intimately connected to the trees, animals, and earth. The knowledge they gained from eating the fruit was the knowledge of difference, of separation. They saw that they were naked, they saw that they were different from other animals. When God said they would "surely die" if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, God meant that Adam and Eve would recognize their mortality. Animals don't know that they will one day cease to exist. Humans do. Human awareness of death is a way we are markedly different from the animals. So when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree, they recognized their mortality, recognized their difference, and saw themselves as separate from the earth, the trees, the animals.

Very interesting interpretation -- they must have been lonely realizing they were different, separate from the world. It's somehow in line with what I wrote in "History of Loneliness"

Ok, back to grading for me, but I had to write that down before I forgot. Also, the Sisterhood of Summer Shabbatot will be up and running this Friday. I'm looking forward to it -- home-based Shabbat celebrations and potlucks and the Nice Yiddische Meideles all summer long. It wasn't supposed to be all girls. But it somehow turned out that way. I'm looking forward to it.