Finding myself in the Middle East

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dancing in the Darkness

I was hunched over Facebook, reading the various 'what's on your minds' of the asifa, some gleefully bashing

--Oh, I told you, I SAID they wouldn't say anything meaningful--

to saddened

--I thought they would say something to help, not just compare us to dor hamabul and mitzrayim--

and I was nodding and shaking my head and drinking a lot of coffee. Why don't they GET us, why don't we have the leaders like those of yesteryear (I shamefully use words like 'yesteryear' when melodramatic enough)

and that's when the music started.

No, not in my head, I'm not completely over the edge yet--but outside.

The mood I was in was black, ye ken, and foul indeed. For reals, though, there has just been so much, so much happening lately to shake my faith in our leaders, to feel orphaned and alone.

Outdoorsman agrees, but he also has something so strong in him that I do not have. He is a baal teshuva and also a smarty-pants who came to this life through philosophy and logic, not through the people who claim to represent Judaism, and he does not shaken easily. He'll even say sometimes, "Wouldn't it be funny if we were all wrong and everything was really on its head? And they were all right?" It's enough, sometimes, to entertain that idea, enough to know that with all of my blustering, I know nothing.

But sometimes, although I might play devil's advocate the other way, I can get so disheartened. Like this asifa. What is it, I ask of you? Was anything new said? Was it necessarily to  speak in Yiddish to a crowd of Americans? What are we becoming? Are we smaller than our nisyonos? Do our gedolim not believe in us? If they did, they would give us tools, not just make us feel really small, too small to climb such insurmountable heights.

But then, the music.

And the foul mood, yes, made my first reaction--I just put the baby to bed, and he's teething! Turn that down!

But then the music got louder and louder and I closed the windows in the kids rooms and  I went to the window in the living room to see what was going on.

There was the largest, most gaudily decorated truck I have ever seen, with winking lights of all colors and a flame that was actually a flame-colored cloth blowing around in a glass box affixed to the front of the truck.

Following the truck were my people.

All different kinds of them.

Black hats and no hats, beards and clean shaven, white shirts and colored, all dancing, dancing, dancing, to the blaring music. At the sides, little girls with their hands on each others shoulders made long, giggling trains while the boys seemed more determined to cause bodily harm with the torches that they held.

And in the center was an old, old sefardi Rabbi in a long white robe, holding a Torah covered in hard, glittering silver. Even from my fourth floor perch I could see that his eyes were closed and tears were on his cheeks.

I felt answering tears on mine.

Sometimes right and wrong, together with right and left, melt away. Nothing else really matters anymore, not really, when we all put our arms around each other in the presence of our holy Torah and dance.

(although if they wake up Turtle, there will be hell to pay.)


Princess Lea said...

Hachnosas Sefer Torahs always get me. It's that time when anyone can join a stream of believers and celebrate.

I've been to one in Manhattan by a Chabad House—now THAT is fun (when gentile bystanders whip out their cameras).

When it comes to the "asifa," I decided to ignore it. There is only one solution for a lot of things: discipline. It's not glamorous, it's not fun, it's nothing new, but in the end of the day that's the only thing the next generation has to be taught.

Sun inside Rain said...

I also get so moved by Hachnasas Sefer Torah. It's amazing how it seems to touch people in a way that most else can't. I think it may just be seeing pure-unadulterated joy by all, regardless of where on the religious spectrum you stand, for one thing- the Torah, makes you feel so much more connected to the One Above Who gave it to us as a whole.

Mystery Woman said...

So, so beautiful. And so true.


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