Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our Jewish Journeys - Thursday Kavvanah, 11/3/2011

Looking back over the course of my four-plus decades, I can see several different paths through my life.

There is the educational path - what I've learned, with whom and from whom.

There is the experiential path - how I have engaged with all of the activities in my life and how I have interpreted them and integrated them into my personality.

There is the emotional path - the relationships that have defined me with respect to others.

And then there is the Jewish path.

Our understanding of and relationship to the way of life that we call Judaism is complex, and it changes as we age.  There are times when we connect with the holiday rituals, there are times when we need prayer, and there are times when reflective study of ancient texts resonates.  Some of us come from other religious  backgrounds to take a Jewish journey.

When Abram receives an order from God to leave home (the title of Parashat Lekh Lekha says it all), he begins what you might call the first Jewish journey.  His physical path takes him from his ancestral home in Ur (in an area that we today call Iraq) to Israel, and then to Egypt, and back to Israel again.  But his internal path takes him even further, from the idolatrous home of his father (one of the most familiar midrashim tells us that his father sold idols for a living) to becoming the patriarch of the first monotheistic nation.  The journey of Abram (later, Abraham - his path yields him a new, improved name) is all-encompassing.

And so is mine.  Where has your journey taken you?

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