And it really is fall! We got our first rain over Shabbos…I was less than pleased at the time, since I hadn’t planned properly and ended up soaked (it was POURING!), but really, in a country with such a severe water shortage, this can hardly be considered a bad thing….
Okay…so what have I been up to? First of all…Shabbos in Ariel was a lot of fun. Mr. and Mrs. K (who, by the way, do NOT get called this, as Israelis hate these titles…it’s just easier than using first initials) have 2 little boys, ages 1 and 3 (plus two teenage daughters from her first marriage who I didn’t meet because they were with their dad). Mrs. K is a really great cook, and she’s going to email me some of her recipes, as well as directions to a local used bookstore with a decent English selection…she and I like a lot of the same books too. Mr. K is just as much of a geek as I am, so we got to talking about thinks like filk music, astronomy, the SCA, etc. They were amused that I’m “borderline chareidi” (his words) yet such a geek, and I was pleased that we have so many shared interests and therefore so many conversation starters. They’ve since “adopted” me into their family (complete with trying to set me up with her sister-in-law’s brother, or some such….), which now means…with one adoption and another, I think I’ve got something like 394683746 Jewish mothers. 😀 Most of you know who you are, of course.
Now for classes…I’m still in the intermediate level, which is fine with me…I really like these teachers, and I’ll still move up at some point this year, probably. There’s no rush. Anyway, so the afternoon included some pretty heavy philosophy, and a lot of food for thought. From my notes:
- Problem: we are using our brains to figure out how to get closer to G-d; but the brain can’t do it!
- Solution: our illuminater is the Torah and mitzvot–not brains.
End notes. What follows is my explanation.
So……the basic concepts of that class–taken directly from an untranslated book called “The Way of G-d” written by the Maharal–were that we have a certain inclination (yetzer hara in Hebrew) which causes us to do “physical” things, but the physical needs to be moderated and not to drown out the spiritual. Spiritually, we are sitting in a dark room and aren’t able to move for fear of falling…so this is where Torah comes in. The Maharal compares Torah to light and mitzvos to a lamp…meaning, we have all this unfiltered light that we don’t know what to do with, but we can actually illuminate our paths by channeling the light into lamps which will then light our way…or, as the analogy means, doing G-d’s commandments.
I like this comparison. 🙂 So…….off to dinner now, and hopefully I’ll update again soon!