05 July, 2010

"Let it Bleed" inspiration

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you find you get what you need". I love music and find that I can relate some song lyric to personal situations fairly often, multiple times a day that is. I am not becoming a cantor because I relate to the lyrics, not the melodies; maybe that is why I becoming a rabbi--the lyrics of the torah. Today the Rolling Stones 1969 song which opened this paragraph was my anthem.

Having been in Israel a whole week now, I am finding there are things I want, that I know I can't have. I can't have my cats wake me in the morning. I can't kiss my fiance goodnight. I can't go to work. I can't read what flavor of Doritos I am buying.

This evening I had the opportunity listen to Rabbi David Hartman of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem speak. Before getting there, the topic was unknown to me (and other HUC students apparently). I had been told of the institute by ones of my rabbis in Colorado and figured I should just go, informed or not.

For an hour and a half, I was able to listen to a man so passionate about the Jews, you could see his heart race. So in love with Israel that it brought tears to his eyes. Rabbi Hartman presented us with a text from the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrien 97b: "Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds. But Samuel maintained: it is sufficient for a mourner to keep his [period of] mourning". He then delved into his analysis of this verse in such an eloquent manner, it can hardly be captured. He postulated rhetorical questions which have left me deep in thought. There were a few things which I disagreed with and a few thing which I didn't understand. And to be perfectly honest, a few things which I jotted down for later high holy day sermon ideas.

I was able to sit in a room full of various denomination rabbis, and some lay leaders, and feel at home with the conversation. I was reminded of why I was in Israel. Why I left CO and everything that is there for me. All the paychecks and hugs and kisses and talks and restaurants, for this. For moments like tonight when I feel empowered, impassioned, invigorated. And for these moments to carry me on to others where I really feel I can make a difference (no matter the size) in a way that would not have been possible if I had continued where I was.

So for all the wants that have been left unfulfilled as of yet, I have found, that I got what I need.

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