Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I have a lot of blog catching up to do which is nice because I can leave out the regular Kansas City fare for a while in lieu of my time in Israel.
It was an amazing trip. More than anything else it was inspiring. It would not have been as wonderful with other people though. I was incredibly lucky to be on this trip with 10 other women from Kansas City who were all wonderful to get to know. I enjoyed being with them every day - they made the trip endless fun.
And I started drinking red wine. This is a very big deal for me because I really liked to say I don't like wine. I enjoyed this as a defining factor but I can see I have started down the road to being a wino and like everything else food related it won't be long until I'm the biggest snob of all.
Well, maybe not. But drinking wine is really Jew-y and I'm very into being an even bigger Jew than ever before. That's what inspiration does.
I struggled with the knowledge I was gaining over the past two years because it was all about duty. G-d told us what to do so how on earth could we decide not to do it? I got that. I didn't know if it was true but somehow it seemed right - but the meaning behind it was hidden to me.
I heard responsibility. I heard commandment and I even heard that G-d gave us the Torah because he loves us and he wanted us to be happy but there is a huge disconnect between that thought and following the commandments. This trip made that connection.
The Torah is G-d giving us an opportunity to be holy. Every commandment is an opportunity to rise above the mundane. I still believe that pure and total innocence is the ultimate enlightened state but until I am enlightened, following the Torah is a way to create holiness.
What does it mean to create holiness? With your words, thoughts and actions - in other words your choices - you can either make the world better or make it worse. A tiny bit better or a tiny bit worse. If you make it a tiny bit better, that's creating holiness.
For some reason we all carelessly fly through our days taking every single tiny opportunity we have and much of the time we make the world worse. With sarcasm, unkindness, carelessness, cruelty - but why do we do this? I don't know.
I left Israel with some incredible knowledge - the most important being that I can create holiness. I don't have to be anywhere in particular to create holiness - my thoughts, actions and words can create it and I intend to do so. Trust me, I fail. Ask my kids and ask my ex-husband but I will never give up trying to make choices that improve the world and remembering that each time I succeed that spark of holiness will exist forever.