Sunday, April 21, 2013

Aviva Zornberg, Part 2

היום ששה ועשרים יום שהם שלשה שבועות וחמשה ימים בעמר
Today is twenty-six days, which is three weeks and five days of the omer
הוד שבנצח
A day of humility in a week of perseverance

Still processing last night's Avivah Zornberg teaching on the spies--a bit easier than than the morning session because I have notes. There's no way I can give it any justice right now, but here are some bits . . .

There was a tie to the morning session, since there was an element of voice. It was in another Aviva Zornberg session some years ago that I got that Bamidbar/במדבר, in the wilderness - also has within it in the word for speak - debair/דבר. The wilderness is a place where the Israelites must learn to speak a new language--the language of free people, not slaves. The language of people looking forward to a new land, not the language of fear that stops us from moving ahead. And yet, we must be willing to hear both the fear and the freedom. The new generation is the extension of the older one--it's just that they can hear and acknowledge the hard stuff in the old language as well as the love the lives in the new.

I also loved the view that God would not let Moses into the land because God sees Moses wants to say "you see--I told you so--it IS a good land." But Moses doesn't get that he is the exception. He did not experience the same hardships that were put upon the Israelites. He could have a clearer vision than they could--he needed to appreciate the growth of the new generation, not play "I told you so."

And back to a play on the word "Bamidbar." Dr. Zornberg says that Bamidbar, the book of the wilderness, is also the book of "Bewilderments." It is a book of understanding, or, more accurately, misunderstandings of where the Israelites are in their place, in their faith, in their psyche. They need to go on the long route and then, when that is not enough, need to extend to the next generation who can confront both the tov/טוב - the good - and the rah/רע – the bad of what lies in front of us.

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