Monday, April 29, 2013

Ed Feinstein on Abraham Joshua Heschel

היום ארבעה ושלשים יום שהם ארבעה שבועות וששה ימים בעמר
Today is thirty-four days, which is four weeks and six days of the omer
יסוד שבהוד
A day of foundation in a week of humility

(Yes, I know I skipped day 33--it was counted but not written. More on that another day :)

Thanks to Rabbi Noa Kushner, the guiding light of The Kitchen, a wonderful new Jewish community in San Francisco, this evening we were honored to have Rabbi Ed Feinstein teach on Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This is a combination that cannot be beat. Ed Feinstein is an amazing teacher--engaging and entertaining, with the knack of bringing light into density, guiding us in.

I've read some Heschel--I don't think you can be a Jewish educator and not read The Sabbath. I even teach about him to the 7th & 8th graders in my classes. I show them the photo of Heschel on the Selma March in 1965 with Martin Luther King, Jr, about which Heschel said, "I felt my legs were praying." I talk about his description of Shabbat as a "Palace in Time." But like so many great philosophers, you really need a teacher to help unpack and understand their thoughts. I couldn't approach any understanding of Martin Buber's "I and Thou" until I studied it with Norman Fischer. I think now I have a chance to delve more deeply into Heschel writings having heard Ed Feinstein this evening.

I wish I could share tonight's teaching--but there's too much to process right now. I can say that it's nights like this that invigorate me. I get insights into Judaism that I can pass on to my students, hopefully giving them some inspiration. Tonight I got bits on prayer and religion that may help me answer some of the larger questions my students ask--why does religion matter; what is prayer about. I got an affirmation on the need for both kavannah and kevah in Jewish practice from yet another source. It's so great when I gain the language that helps me teach.

A master teacher sharing the thoughts and words of a master philosopher--no, it doesn't get much better than that.

No comments: