Sunday, May 11, 2014

In the flow of the language

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

As I continue my daily blog writing for this year's omer practice, I also have to find time each week to write in Hebrew. I have written some posts of some of my trials, tribulations--and even a few triumphs as I continue to work on proficiency in this language that I love. (You can find them by clicking on "Hebrew" in the categories listed in the sidebar.) This year, I can see my relationship with Hebrew represented in this day of humility and perseverance.

Three years ago, I used the day of compassion and strength to write about my Hebrew studies. I ended that post with "I have the strength--and the smarts--to learn Hebrew. I need to add in compassion, give myself the time and space to let the knowledge settle in." Although there have been ups and downs, I do think that has taken place and I've moved forward in my Hebrew comprehension. When I study Torah, I can begin to uncover new meanings by looking at the grammatical structure of the verses and for a Torah geek like me, that's pretty cool.

Being more aware of the flow of the language also makes me a better Torah reader and service leader. People can hear the particular cadence and feel a connection to the writings. Part of the responsibility of a prayer leader is to bring people along with you, help them experience the letting go that prayer can bring. Having an understanding of the language helps me convey the poetry of the words, and allows the kahal, the community, to take them in and cycle them out in their voices, which is part of the point of prayer.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to speak fluent Hebrew. That's a maybe/maybe not. I worry that I won't be able to get enough vocabulary to stick in my brain. But I need use the aspect of humility to be able to learn in my time and not worry what advanced state I should be--again, the message of presence. Remember that like everything else in life, it's a journey. As long as I keep going, persevere, it doesn't matter how big or small the steps.

No comments: