Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teaching Foundation

היום עשרים יומים שהם שני שבועות וששה יומים לעמר
Today is the twentieth day of the omer - two weeks and six days

יסוד שבתפרת
A day of foundation in a week of compassion

Last night I went with three friends to hear Aviva Zornberg, one of the premier Tanach scholars of our generation. She gave a teaching on the book of Ruth. I have heard her teachings--a friend gave me some recordings made in Israel of some classes she gave on the book of Bereshit (Genesis); and there is a podcast of a teaching gave on the book of Shemot (Exodus) as a part of the Speaking of Faith radio series.

I won't attempt to repeat any of her teaching. My notes are not good enough to do it justice. But believe me when I say it was a great lecture--and I would venture to say that all who were there would agree. I love being in a class or class-like situation (as this talk) when you can feel everyone in the room focused on the teaching. That kind of atmosphere contributes to the depth of the teaching. My friend Edna emailed me today, "I glowed all the way home about Aviva's learning."

I am lucky to have had exposure to teachers who have that capacity to draw students who are happy to focus on the teaching, absorbing what they learn. Rabbi Lew was one of those teachers, but I have experienced this in other than scholarly ways as well. Susannah Bruder, my yoga teacher of 12 years, is another master teacher who knows how to reach her students in that special way. She has built up a community of students who understand what it is to have a relationship with the practice. She teaches us both the physical and philosophical aspects of yoga which serves to deepen our practice.

Whether it's one lecture or weekly classes, I am blessed to have exposure to these wonderful teachers who give me a foundation for the practice that is my life.

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