Mine were finished just yesterday, very stressful. Now I can refocus on my more favorite or IMHO more important It’s Wednesday columns. The year 2009 – 2010 was marked by a number of provocative columns and there was great give and take. It was the year that Biden was in Jerusalem when new housing in disputed territories was announced and the firestorm that followed saw some of my best friends on the opposite side of the storm. It was the year of the sexting incident at Pyle. It was the year of the Coen brothers’ movie “A Serious Man” – we talked for weeks about the rabbis portrayed in the movie and what you remember about your own rabbis growing up. We even did a survey about why you come to High Holiday services and what you expect to get out of them and played back your responses.
I didn’t know what to choose for today, but narrowed it down to this late September column. BTW, somebody suggested I am doing this Farewell Tour because it takes less time so I can think more about retirement. Not so. First of all, I am tired of thinking about retirement. Second, it is taking me twice as long to go through each column and your responses and decide which one to replicate as writing a new one ever took. So, don’t worry, I am not slacking off yet.
There is nothing resembling an original thought left in me at the moment, so let me share a reading that I found preparing for Yom Kippur. The author is unknown, but I wish I could take credit as it packs more good advice in one place than I thought possible. And what better time for good advice than the start of a new year?
“Come in,” God said. “So, you would like to interview me?”
“If you have time,” I said. God smiled and said:
“My time is eternity and is enough to do everything. What questions do you have in mind to ask me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?”
God answered: “That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they had never lived…”
God’s hands took mine and we were silent for while, and then I asked…
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”
God replied with a smile:
“To learn that they cannot make anyone love them. What they can do is to let themselves be loved. To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. All will be judged individually on their own merits, not as a group on a comparison basis! To learn that a rich person is not the one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to express or show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it totally differently. To learn that a true friend is someone who knows everything about them… and likes them anyway. To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they have to forgive themselves.”
I sat there for a while enjoying the moment. I thanked God for the time, and for all that God has done for me and my family, and God replied, “Anytime. I’m here 24 hours a day. All you have to do is ask for me, and I’ll answer.”
Back to now. Good food for thought isn’t it, not just at High Holiday time? Think, and have a great day. Bill Rudolph
P.S. Kol Haneshama this Friday night. Israel Media Series this Saturday night at 8:30 with last episodes of Shtisel; it is getting dark too late to continue after April but the series will resume in the fall. Our new Ramah Day Camp has over 90 campers already; we need more 11-12th grade counselors – speak to me if you are interested or have leads. And finally, the Ezuz Concert Sunday afternoon should be quite a trip – music from around the Jewish world in five languages.