Saturday, October 22, 2011

Parting from the High Holy Days is Bitter Sweet...


A new year has dawned. 5772 in the Jewish calendar. I thought just the other day that it will be 228 years before we reach the 6000 th year, but caught myself in time, thinking Moishiah will have to be here by then and we will be enjoying a era of peace and Israel will be as it should be and the Jewish people will have success and happiness in all things. I will be 285 years old and my son should have been happily married for many years with numerous children, great great grand children and so on.... :- D  Such is the stuff of dreams. Reality can differ a little, but we do make our own luck and reality in this life and we need to work at doing it and not sitting back and expecting it all to come falling into our laps without any real effort on our part. The above is tongue in cheek now as my original post and maths was a little in error by about 200 years or so.
I have been slack as far as writing goes. Glen Eira's My Brother Jack Literary competition has come and gone this year, as has The Age Short Story Competition and the E J Brady Competition and I have been too busy with numerous other things to do and the Yom Tovim to enter any of them.
I have learnt a valuable lesson this year. I have listened to too many other people and been distracted and not followed my own path but allowed myself to be buffetted by this or that person into doing something else.
One needs to keep to one's own course of action and not allow oneself to be sidetracked. For example, my son's education is very important to me and it is very important that he get a Jewish Education and that he will end up as a frum or observant Jew. I come from a very mixed background and I want to ensure that my son has seder and a good life. I want him to have the right lifestyle and example in living. I fail to see how he is going to get it in a Non Jewish government school surrounded by Non Jews who while very worth while people, they will be un equiped to instill in him the right values and knowledge of Israel and Jewish lifestyle. It is just not possible. The number of people trying to tell me that it is enough that my son has a state school education and that I should not bring him up Jewish is unbelievable. Most of them are secular Jews who do not value Jewish education in Jewish schools and quite possibly do not value Jewish Education that much anyway. What I cannot understand is the number of people who think I should leave my son in the state school system throughout the whole of his schooling. That I feel is detrimental to him and will ensure that he marries out. A boy without a father needs the relevant role models around him to model himself on and he will not get it from non Jews in the state school system.
I have started working again and I am very happy to say that I want to teach and edit and above all make money to support myself and my son and to put him through school. I will move house and I do not care much about where I move eventually so long as we can walk to Mizrachi or Hamayan. Probably Mizrachi because I want my son to have an education that is Jewish and he will evenutally go to Israel on a program and if he ends up living in Israel, I shall be very happy. He will eventually serve in the Israeli Army. Of course, I would prefer that Israel did not need an army by the time he is 18 and eligible to serve but if he needs to serve, he needs to serve. If we want a strong state and one that will exist for all time, we must work to ensure that it does and be prepared to make sacrifices in the right way and for the right reasons.
Our children are never fully ours. They are gifts entrusted to us for safekeeping. We are merely the caretakers of precious objects that we treasure but we do not own them.
On that note, I am so glad that Gilad Shalit is finally home with his family. Yes, the price paid was tremendous, but we value each life. How fitting that people who do value life, have given another chance to mass murderers to change their ways and to begin a path of social recovery and for them to discover the real essence of living for the life of one beautiful human being that their Hamas mates have so viciously damaged in body and I believe, they have also tried to damage his neshama or soul. But a Yiddishe neshama is protected by the Abishter throughout all time. Gilad Shalit looks frail and as if he has been through absolute hell, but he is also by all acounts a most remarkable young man, as are his parents and family.
Finally, a note on this week's parsha Berishis. This I heard at lunch today from a very learned woman, young mother of two children. The question is why does the first parsha of the Torah start with the two first very pure beings created by Hashem, Adam and Hava being given these instructions about the the tree of knowledge and they are told not to eat of this tree for four hours. Hashem's command is detailed and very specific. 'Do not eat of this tree for the next four hours until Shabbes. If you do this, your lives will be eternally good. Forever.Literally you will be in Gan Eden forever and ever.'He tells Adam and Adam relates the message to Hava. Yes, it is the snake who is instrumental in making Hava think about this, but Hava takes it one step further. The snake by the way serves his purpose and when Hashem questions Adam and Hava as to why, he does not do so to the snake but punishes the snake outright with the utmost severity and from that we learn that one who tries to mislead us from a true path, should be cut off without explanations or even questionings. You see the snake has knowledge and misuses it to mislead and to deceive, to manipulate, whereas Adam and Hava were in a state of innocence and still to a certain extent are. They are capable of tzuva. The snake will never make true tzuva as he tries to pervert the true course of Hashem.
Anyway the explanation went something like this and I am still pondering it and deciding whether I agree or disagree with it and why.
Hava realises that there is a purpose behind what Hashem has told Adam because his instructions are so detailed and inherent in them is a choice. If they do not eat of the tree of Knowledge, their lives will be eternally good for all time. They will be on a high spiritual plane and all life will be good forever. However, Adam and Hava are created in the image of Hashem and in that there is a power capable of changing for the better all things around them and the mundane world. There is the power to raise sparks and to create light in the darkness. If they are do eat of the fruit, then they understand that their lives and their role in the world will change. They as holy beings will be brought down to a level where they can effect real change in world that is of base material. A world that is craving holiness and spirituality. That is their role in the scheme of things to raise the mundane to a spiritual level. Hashem has given them a choice and the power to choose to use their power of creativity and ability to effect change in a base world by an act of seeming disobedience, when really it is not so but a part of the greater scheme of things.
Think about it. It is a very interesting and inspiring thought. Gut Voch and may the last week of the month of Tisheri inspire us as much as the chaggim did and we should all have a wonderful year of challenges and changes.

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