Today I learnt some things, it’s a kind of miscellaneous list but worth sharing.
We are often blessed regardless of whether we are slipping into hypocrisy and apathy, but this only calls us deeper to respond in love to Hashem and to deal with issues between us.
It is easier to speak and think about holiness than to choose it. But it is never about what we understand or whay we have done in the past; what counts is how deeply we offer to Hashem the minute at hand.
Sometimes wisdom involves grasping very carefully at whatever the right path in life will be, and all things that will support us in it. And sometimes faith involves just going with the flow and trusting that Hashem’s will is going to happen in our lives no matter what. These two approaches add depth and life to each other.
The books of Daniel and Esther both respond to the situation of exile, and while they have lots of common themes, they also see different emphases regarding the openness of miracles. Daniel is full of clear interventions from God in that situation. In Esther, He seems silent but works in the hidden events of all things, very meaningfully. And it is in such a situation that Genesis 3 is different from chapters 1-2, because Hashem’s creating is hidden from sight and the garden takes up the sight of those who had to make a choice. Perhaps faithfulness amidst hidden providence taps at a deeper aspect of the relationship, one that needs to grow strong before open miracles can again be added.
In the Torah, an extremely harsh punishment of death is threatened to a son who strikes his parent. Also, in the commandment to honour your father and mother, it is given as a condition for living long in the land. Somehow, gratitude for one’s parents and respect for what they have to pass down are so important that the holiness of a land is dependent on them.
Two reasons are given for keeping the Shabbos, being the days of creation and the exodus. There is a real connection between the two since remembering creation shows an awareness of dependence for existence, and remembering the redemption looks at dependence for freedom as a nation. Both these things culminate in a sense of especially belonging to Hashem. And by taking pleasure in creation rather than exerting force over it, or by experiencing restraint from normal abilities, that dependence is lived out.
We should always listen deeply to people we respect when they come with unfamiliar perspectives. Maybe they could learn from our response, or maybe they can open new worlds and breadth to us.
Prayer and self-discipline matter so much even when no one may notice straight away when we ignore them; something else can always be taken out to make room.
And lots of other things that are harder to share 🙂 Thank God for always learning and for being able to walk with others in it.