Friday, September 4, 2009

Cosmic Connection? Happenstance? Or HaShem?

Well, I didn't land the free trip to Israel with Nefesh b'Nefesh, but I have to say mazal tov to BadForShidduchim for landing the spot, as well as SoccerDad for almost landing the spot. (Oddly enough, I'm listed as an entrant both as Kvetching Editor and Chaviva Edwards -- combined would I have won? Who knows.) Now I just have to pray that Tuvia and I can make it to Israel for the chatuna of his cousin, Tzippi. I don't know about you guys, but I NEED to be in Israel. Eretz Yisrael is calling my name. It has an invisible string attached to my neshama and it's tugging quite intensely right now.

A quick update on the mezuzah situation: Unfortunately I still haven't found my beautiful mezuzah. I ate dinner on Wednesday by the Chabad rabbi on campus, and he graciously granted me a nifty mezuzah for my door on campus. After we left and headed back to campus to move ALL of my things from one first-floor, horribly stinky mold-filled room to a much smaller, second-floor but non-mold-filled room, Tuvia presented me with a beautiful gift -- a new mezuzah! It's a small pewter mezuzah with dark blue gemstones at each end (which, interestingly, is reminiscent of my birthstone, Sapphire), and it says: Baruch atah b'voecha v'baruch atah b'tzetecha, which means "You shall be blessed when you come, and you shall be blessed when you depart." But there's more!

Last night Tuvia and I went to the shul for mincha/ma'ariv and to have a quick sicha with our rav. Over the course of the conversation, we came to find out that this phrase on my mezuzah is actually found in THIS WEEK'S PARSHAH, Ki Tavo!

*Cue eerie music* 

Now, after the mezuzah situation, you all are going to think I'm really supersticious. But every now and again there are these little moments of "clicks" in my Judaism. I'm thinking about something and instantly/subsequently something happens to answer my question. Like that time I couldn't figure out if it was kosher to use bathroom spray (like Glade) on Shabbat, and when I returned to my book on the forbidden activities for Shabbat, the next page detailed how you can use the spray bottle. I don't want to think that every little thing happens for a reason, or that I need to attribute every little thing to some greater cosmic connection (in the larger sense -- I realize that in truth all is connected!). But when things like this just happen, I have to wonder.

And, okay, I promise this is the last thing I'll say, but I was sitting in my Midrashic Narratives course yesterday and the professor was discussing the Midrash on Abraham (Abram) destroying his father's idols. The midrash serves to explain the meaning of a specific phrase in Genesis, and the professor was detailing a few other spots in Tanakh where the same phrase appears (it's not important to know which, just go with it). I was expecting him to give us the Book, Chapter, and Verse, but he didn't. He simply said "In Exodus ..." and I'm waiting for the chapter and verse, and nothing, so I pick up my Tanakh and open it and land on Exodus 50:1. And there, right there, staring back at me, at this random page that I opened, was the exact verse he was discussing.

So, is it luck? Is it happenstance? Is it some gigantic ball of cosmic thread connecting me from one thing to the other? Is it some secret part of my brain working overtime without me knowing it, providing insight into things I can't even begin to imagine? Is it HaShem reaching down, poking my brain and making it happen?

I don't know, but it has me spiritually enlivened, and just in time to really throw myself into this month of Elul. To really think about the past year, how far I've come in the past year, and where I'm going in 5770. Do you know where you're going?

Some key words in this post: mezuzah (the little item fixed on the doorposts of Jews with a special prayer in it); chatuna (wedding); mazal tov (congratulations); neshama (soul/spirit); Midrash (an written exposition on the underlying meaning of Biblical texts); Tanakh (the five books of Moses); sicha (conversation); mincha/ma'ariv (the afternoon and evening prayers); Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath); HaShem (the way I write G-d when I don't want to write the name!).