Sacred Wall, Now Everybody Friendly: reflections on 30 years of claiming change.

 

A Sacred Wall, Now Everybody Friendly.

reflections on 30 years of claiming change. 

Amichai Lau-Lavie

January 31 2016

 

 

הנוסח העברי בתחתית העמוד

 

 

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One summer night in 1986 I was dragged away and then detailed by Israeli soldiers and police at the Western Wall for participating in a co-ed ritual service. It was the eve of Tisha B’av, and a group of men and women from different liberal Jewish groups came together to chant the lamentations at the back of the parking lot of the Western Wall plaza. I was 17 years old, newly interested in what else Judaism had to offer me beyond the Orthodox version of my childhood. That night of Lamentations I understood the power of privilege, the fear of change, the dark side of religion and the the rage of righteous resistance.

 

One summer later, in 1987, I was back at the Western Wall plaza, a new paratrooper, standing in row with my platoon, bibles in one hand and guns in the other, swearing to defend my homeland.

 

Today I sit at home in New York, blessing the day on which the Israeli Government voted to dedicate a segment of the Wall as The Meeting Place of Israel – an egalitarian sacred space at Judaism’s most sacred site.

 

One summer day soon,  I’ll take my kids there again and tell them about that impossible time I had to smuggle in prayer shawls through the security checkpoint, tricking the Israeli soldiers so that they would not have to obey the absurd laws that forbade women from wrapping themselves in ritual prayer shawls or read from or dance with Torah scrolls. What an honor it was to stand with the brave Women of the Wall on new moons, with men and women from all other world who came to pray, protest, believe, smuggle in prayers shawls and Torah scrolls, risk arrests and contempt, in belief that dignity, justice and progress will prevail.

Thirty years from now this equally hallowed prayer space will be as natural and legitimate a place to connect to Jewish roots and divine presence as its next-door older neighbor.

 

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Transformation is possible. Change takes time. and courage. Blessed by the long perspective. Gratitude to all who worked so hard for so long to make this historic moment happen.

 

From her resting place above, I hope that Women of the Wall’s founder Bonna Devora Haberman is resting more at ease and peace, as she no doubt continues to bless us with the courage to continue working for dignity, justice and peace for all in this sacred city and cherished homeland to three religions, two nations,  all genders, everything and everyone in Divine image, and less walls dividing us from our one shared foundation stone of hope.

בליל תשעה באב 1986 נגררתי ע״י שוטרי מג״ב מרחבת החניה של הכותל המערבי ועוכבתי לחקירה קצרה בשל עוון תפילה משותפת לגברים ונשים שהתקיימה בקצהו האחרון של מגרש החניה דאז – הרחק מהכותל עצמו, אבל קרוב מספיק לעורר זעם. זו הייתה אחת הפעולות הראשוונות אן אני לא טועה, שבה השתתפו נציגות ונציגים של זרמים יהודים ליברליים, עם נוכחות אמריקאית חזקה, בתפילה פומבית ושוויונית באזור הכותל. הייתי בן 17, בתחילת דרך החיפושים אחרי יהדות מכבדת ומחבקת את השונה ואת האחר, שויונית ויצירתית, ושונה מהאורתודקסיה בה גדלתי. אותו ליל קינות הבנתי לראשונה את עוצמתה של ברירת המחדל הדתית-פוליטית, את החרדה מהשונה והמשתנה, את צדדיה האפלים של הדת ואת הזעם הצודק לקראת תיקון אפליה וצרות עין

כעבור שנה, בקיץ 1987, חזרתי לרחבת הכותל, הפעם כצנחן טרי, עומד עם חברי לפלוגה בשורות ישרות לאור לפידים, יד אחת אוחזת בתנ״ך והשניה בנשק, נשבעים למות על מזבח המולדת

היום אני יושב בביתי בניו יורק, מברך את היום בו הצביעו נציגי מדינת ישראל להקדיש את עזרת ישראל החדשה במתחם הקדוש לעם כולו, ובו  תתקיים תפילה שויונית ללא מחיצות לכל  דורש ודורשת

בקיץ הקרוב אני מקוה לשוב לעזרה החדשה עם ילדיי ולספר להם על הפעם ההיא, הבלתי נתפשת, שבה הברחתי טליתות לרחבת הכותל, דרך תחנות הבטחון ותחת אפיהם של החיילים והשוטרים שנאלצו למלא אחר

החוק שאסר על תפילת נשים  ציבורית,עם טלית וספר תורה, ברחבה הקדושה. כבוד גדול נפל בזכותי לעמוד עם נשים וגברים מרחבי העולם שהתעקשו למחות, מדי חודש בחדשו, בתפילה, שירה, מחאה נחרצת ואומץ רב, כולל גידופים ויריקות, מעצרים ותהליכים משפטיים. כל זאת מתוך אמונה מוחלטת בערכי הצדק, כבוד האדם, חידוש מסורות וקידושה, הנטועים עמוק בחיקה של היהדות

בעוד שלושים שנה, אם תרצה השם, תהיה עזרת ישראל קדושה ומקובלת על הכלל כאילו הייתה שם מעולם, זהה בחשיבותה ובאהבת הציבור הנוהר אליה, כאחותה הבכורה הניצבת, על שני אגפיה הנפרדים, לרגליו של אותו שריד קדוש של מקום השכינה. בראש ההר אותו תומך הכותל התקיים פעם טקס  עברי קדוש שהיה קרוי ״תיקון גדול״  – ועתה מתמשך תהליך התיקון.

התיקון אפשרי. ועימו ההתקדמות וההתחדשות המכבדת על ערכי העבר ואת צרכי היום. לוקח זמן לשינויים לחלחל ולהתעצב. אני מברך היום על פרספקטיבה צנועה יחסית של שלושים שנה, מוקיר תודה לכל העומלות והעומלים בשקידה ונחרצות וסבלנות ליצירת הפשרה ההיסטורית והחשובה הזאת, ומתפלל שירבה השלום על המחלוקת

ממקום מנוחתה תחת כנפי השכינה, יהי רצון ובונה דבורה הברמן, ממקימות ארגון נשות הכותל, ידידה יקרה, מוצאת עוד יותר מנוחה לנפשה, ויהי רצון שתמשיך לסייע לנו כשם שעשתה בחייה, לפעול ללא היסוס ולאות לצדק, כבוד ושלום בעיר הקדושה, ובארץ המקודשת לשלש דתות, שני לאומים, כל הזרמים וכל המינים, כולנו בצלם אלהים, עם פחות קירות וחומות המפרידים אותנו זה מזו ומאבן היסוד הקדושה המקודשת והמשותפת לכולנו והיא אבן התקוה  

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Paratroopers, Pope, and Hope: pausing to pray for Jerusalem

Paratroopers, Pope & Hope: Pausing to pray for Jerusalem
Amichai Lau-Lavie
Jerusalem Day –  which falls this year on May 27, was designated by Israel to mark its reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. It’s a day of celebration for many and of reflection for many others. I used to be among the celebrants, marching up to the Western Wall early in the morning, along with other Yeshiva boys in white shirts. These days – I pause to praise the privilege, honor the dream, and reflect on the greater vision  of real peace.
This year, an added note of thanks to the Pope for three important reminders.
The iconic image of that historical moment in ’67 is that of the paratroopers at the Western Wall.
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This week, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, at yet another famous wall, another image is going viral and possibly iconic:  Pope Francis praying at the Separation Wall between Israel and Palestine.
Two walls, two photos, one more chance? So many stories.

When I was 14 years old, living in Manhattan, I hung up the photo of the paratroopers at the Wall on my own wall,  over my bed. I was religious, Zionist, homesick for Israel, and who knows, they were handsome and I was just beginning to come out.

4 years later I too joined the paratroopers, wanting to prove that I’m a man, get that red beret, be a hero, defend my country.
The paratroopers swearing-in ceremony was at the  Wall. Along with my brothers in arms I vowed to die for our ancestral land. We all received an IDF issue Bible.
That night I took a sharpie and added a mystical incantation to my gun strap- ‘All for the holy glory of God.’
Then the first intifada started. Our  platoon was sent to keep a  curfew in a Palestinian village.
This is not, never was, never will be, black or white, and there are at least two sides to each conflict – I know now more than I knew back then – but the experiences during those first few weeks of the intifada shattered many of my views, beliefs and convictions.  I began doubting: Was the vision of a Greater Israel that I grew up to believe in worth this terrible price of attrition to our sense of worth, compassion, justice?
One night, back home on leave, I heard Amos Oz speak on TV. We have dreams, he said, big dreams about a big land as always promised to our parents. It’s a good dream. But we are not the only ones dreaming here. The Arabs dream big too. And somehow we all have to wake up and make a compromise. This land can not contain the dreams. It needs us to wake up. Something like that. He quoted the verse from psalms that I knew so well from the prayer after meals, echoing the desire to return to Zion, to come home: ” We were like dreamers“.
25 years later, so many big dreams and rude awakenings later, I, along with so many of us, still struggle to make sense of the ways with which to make peace possible. And not just between Palestine and Israel. I try to reconcile  the dreams I was raised to believe in with  the realities that challenge us to wake up to what’s at stake, and wake us up to our role in co-creating a better reality.
I’ve been on the line between Jerusalem and New York for the last 15 years, living and loving in both places, privileged to have this often complicated dual perspective. When in Jerusalem I don’t visit the Western Wall often. It’s too loaded for me. In recent years I got more involved with  Women of the Wall‘s brave movement to make the Wall – and the Israeli public sphere – more welcoming to all of us. I’m glad for the progress in making – but the Western Wall is not where my hearts yearns to pray Too many human walls of conflict have grown up along this ancient sacred fence. The faith that guided that 18 year old paratrooper has in some ways deepened, and in other ways faded.
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I’m trying, still trying, to come from love, and to make sense of letting all narratives be heard and honored so that progress can be made, together. I try to keep learning more and come from knowledge, not just feelings. I try meeting with people from all sides of this story, hearing all versions, respecting the differences, looking beyond them when possible. But there are so many walls.
This book really helped me make some sense of the bigger story: Yossi Klein Halevi’s page-turner   Like Dreamers.  On the cover is that photo I hung on my wall all those years ago. The book is the story of the paratroopers who were there in 1967 –  ‘reunited Jerusalem and divided a nation’.  I  finished reading it and posted a note  a few week ago. I keep thinking and talking about this book.
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Klein Halevi followed the lives of six of these men, representing right and left, religious and secular, business and art, settlements and kibbutzim. Their stories are the story of my homeland, in many ways, my story. Yet he spins the bigger story  – human hope and despair and betrayal and second chances – not just as Israelis, or paratroopers – but just as people, with different dreams, shared hope, and a few decades worth of  perspective on the pursuit and price of dreams.
 I read it in Jerusalem, and in NY and on flights in between, on the fence between wanting to give up and refusing to have faith in the possibility of noble co-existence on the road to real peace.  Another great book I read this year is Jerusalem, the Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore – an epic journey that tells in rich detail how and why Jerusalem became so sacred for so many pilgrims and builders- and why all those narratives matter equally – together. That’s the only way to make it work.
This week, another pilgrim, Pope Francis, reminded the world about the role of religious leaders as builders of bridges, not walls. And he reminded us to pause, and to pray, and to believe that we can help make change.
He paused and prayed,  silently, for several minutes, hand on a wall on which was spray painted: “Pope we need some 1 to speak about justice Bethlehem look like Warsaw ghetto.” 
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During his brief visit he paused to pray at national and sacred sites to all religions – including the Western Wall, Yad Vashem and the Monument to Terror Victims. But,  political manipulation or  spontaneous gesture, his prayer at that wall is what will be remembered. A powerful, almost prophetic icon of terrible despair – and incredible hope.
The Pope’s invitation to the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to come pray with him in Rome for peace is an extension of that prayer moment. Political and/or Religious –  he reminds us to blur those walls and labels as well, and wake up, together, to the bigger shared dream that transcends religions and nations and lands. Powerful and simple reminders. The gift of a pilgrim who comes with truth to honor the sacred.
On this Jerusalem Day, in gratitude and honor to all who love, live in and for Jerusalem and her many names, all who suffered and suffer on her walls, and all dreamers whose hands and hearts reach out for her real peace: I pause to whistle and pray another psalm:
Yehi Shalom : “Let there be peace within you, serenity in all your homes.”

Two People, One Talit: Protest at the Wall

 SCROLL DOWN FOR ENGLISH
. שנים אוחזין בטלית
.בראש חודש אייר האחרון לא עצרו אותנו הבוקר ברחבת הכותל
    הצטרפה אלי נעמה, חברה ללימודי הרבנות, ועמדנו  יחד ברחבת המבקרים, טלית אחת פרושה על שנינו, סידור אחד וכוונה אחת לתפילת אמת ושלום במקום הזה שכה מעורבבים בו קודש וחילול
למה? כבר ראשי חודש רבים שנינו באים לפה לתמוך בנשות בכותל ובקריאה למרחב דתי שויוני – ומתקשים להתפלל באמת. לנעמה אסור ללבוש טלית, כמנהגה, ואני מאחורי מחיצה, ולשנינו אסור להתפלל יחדיו, כמנהגנו. שנינו תלמידי רבנות מסורתית ורוצים להתפלל יחדיו, במנין, עם טלית, ושואפים ךפתרון מכבד את הבריות – כולן

למה היום? היום ה11 באפריל הוא היום בו שוחרר אבי מבוכנוולד
הבוקר התפללתי הלל בהודיה על חייו וחירותו ובתפילה לחירות ושחרור של כל אדם בכל זמן – שחרור משנאת חינם, פחד שווא, קטנות מוחין, חרדה והדרה

נהיה שם שוב, אם תרצה השם, בראש חודש סיון, יחדיו, שנים מתעטפות בטלית, עד שתתקבל הצעה מכבדת ומכובדת על כל הצדדים.כולנו אוחזין בטלית
מוזמנות ומוזמנים להצטרף. חודש טובה

PEACEFUL PROTEST AT THE WALL FOR COED PRAYERS: The new moon of the month of Iyar just happened this past Thursday, April 11, and I spent it at the Western Wall, protesting the lack of equality for women and all non-orthodox Jews. Since women are not allowed to wear a talit in the kotel – they get arrested for violation of ‘local customs’ I invited one of my friends and fellow rabbinic students, Naamah Levitz-Applebaum, to stand with me, under my talit, and pray together, away from the either/or men/women section, and just, pray, together.
We did. And for the first time in many new moons as we’ve both been attending these protests – we could actually focus and pray. for peace. and justice, for equality, and much more.
We want to support the creation of a third section, co-ed, egal, open to all – and situated in a dignified, accesible and respectful location along side the current location of the wall. Such a plan was just unveiled this past week but is still a long way from approval or acceptance.
It was a bit hard to focus on prayer with all the commotion around – women wearing talit were being arrested, ultra orthodox men and women were shouting curses at them, and many photographers filled the scene. When they got a look at us – an usual co-ed, peaceful praying ‘couple’ – they pounced.
The good news: We were NOT arrested or even detained. The police people looked at us with funny looks and didn’t quite know what to do with us, so they had other issues to deal with. The media loved it – our photo and intentions were circulating on blogs, Facebook, Israeli TV and some newspapers.
Here is one link:
http://www.demotix.com/photo/1948723/tensions-peak-kotel-women-wall-1st-iyar
Here is the Israeli Channel 10 news hour – we’re at 35:07:
 Naamah Levitz-Applebaum wrote on her FB feed this morning: 
After contemplating what to do this morning, I decided to go to the Kotel with Amichai and daven together, with one tallit (as I couldn’t wear mine). For the first time since supporting this cause I was actually able to concentrate on my tefilla and enjoyed singing hallel together. Until there is an actual concrete solution, we will continue to come every month and support, pray together and hope that we are able to make even a small change in this complex Israeli reality
 Next new moon we intend to be back – with another minyan of co-ed prayers, he and she, sharing a talit. I suspect it may get to some same sex couples but that’s a whole other story of inclusion and justice. Thank you for your blessings and good wishes! This fight is right and will be won.

Worship Wear Gone Wrong. And Masks? Word #20.

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Holy Wear

בגדי קודש
Tetzave

 

This past week a lot of Jewish drama around  sacred fabrics that one dons or doesn’t  where and why and by whom or not. The Pope’s Prada pales next to the volume of coverage on the Women of the Wall’s continued fight for freedom to pray and wear shawls and I’m honored to be helpful in the televising of the revolution, to no doubt a noble resolution up ahead. For me this week provided a weird twist on the wearing of this sacred shawl – with plenty reasons to  pause and ponder the power and politics of religious wear.

My personal prayer shawl saga continued curiously from the Western Wall to my brother’s synagogue in the heart of Jerusalem’s Greek Colony. Last week I smuggled  prayer shawls into the Western Wall and wore mine there in a baffling privileged act of defiance. Here at my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, the youngest son of the much beloved rabbi in this bustling Modern Orthodox congregation, I wasn’t actually expected, as in, supposed to, wear a prayer shawl at all.

In my family’s custom – Mainstream Ashkenazi, unwed men don’t typically wear a prayer shawl. At 43, even as rabbinic student and 3 kids later, my wearing one at shul in the immediate circle of my family of origin’s Orthodox context – is an eyebrow raiser, a breach of protocol. Not a big deal but still.  O well. I don’t remember when I first starting wrapping myself in prayer shawls – ones that I’ve made. 15 years, at least. But rarely back on the family turf…There have been events in the past years, family reunion weekend or a Shiva minyan in which, wrapped in one, I  got some comments from the more pious and tactless- but I’m not sure that it was just because I had one on or because my usual prayer shawl is a recycled beige Sari with gold brown silk patches, a work of art with one red string attached to the fringes – a gift of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. THAT gets a lot of comments.

I stand out with or without it. A thin veil over who I am within the black and white prayer shawl world of my childhood. And sometimes one doesn’t want to stand out so much..

So I wasn’t sure whether I should come to this Bar Mitzvah with my shawl or not.

And also because I forgot to iron it. Just a few weeks ago, back at ye Western Wall, as the family gathered super early in the cold morning for my Bar Mitzvah nephew’s first wrapping of Tefilin – my mother looked at me through the crack in the fence that separated us and pointed at my shawl and made a face. Later she advised me to try ironing it better or better yet, getting a newer one – “it just doesn’t look very dignified. May have had its day”.

So I went without my prayer shawl that morning, but in each hand held a child’s hand instead. Ezra on the right and Alice on the left, on a sweet short visit from NY with Sally, one of their two moms. As we walk over to the synagogue  I explain to the kids, 6 and 4, that unlike our shul back in NY, in this shul the men and women sit separately, and they can take turns being with Mommy upstairs, or Abba downstairs, and we can play and hang outside. We get there just before my nephew starts to beautifully chant the Torah, and both sections are jam-packed. So we head to the courtyard where the candy tables for later are heavily guarded and a kids service is starting, led by a few of the dads. And just before we sit in the circle I get this craving for a prayer shawl – this total sense that I want to be wrapped in one as I sit here on the grass, with my children, at a prayer service with mostly people I don’t know but who in some part, today, are  family and extended family and congregation. And whatever custom – it’s what made sense.

From the rack in the back I borrow a regular, formerly white wool full length prayer shawl with black stripes and yellowed fringes and wrap it around my shoulders, and kid in each hand, enter the mens’ section in a little step that somehow meant a whole lot more. It’s not like ‘I passed’ or ‘belonged’ but more like I played a part in a play with just the right outfit and felt just right. A costume? perhaps.  Religious wear that felt just right.

On our way out a few minutes later, one of my nephews stops me, smiling – what’s with the boring talit? you’re not going ortho are you…

You can’t win. or maybe I just did?

The power and the politics of holy wear go back a long long time. In this week’s Torah text, Tetzave, the instructions for construction of the tabernacle detail on – including the religious fashion department – and every detail matter, as Moses finds out:

“make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for splendor and  beauty.” Ex.28

The priestly collection which is described here in Vogeuesque detail, inspired later, post-temple  sages to sanctify the worship-wear for all, and not just for the sons of Aaron. What was once the privileged costume of one (male) leader, became, with time, the symbolic vestments of all, or of most of us, till recent times. The prayer shawls, like the Torah dress, are our modern priestly vestments, and all of us – single or married, male or not – are our modern priests. 

Prayer shawl or beanie or burka or bow tie: Here’s to the right to wear what we wish, as we, hopefully, choose to honor our existence with the garments that make us feel like we belong, more special, sacred, beautiful and ourselves, wrapped within our flimsy truths, and truly wrapped in comfort. 


And then there’s Purim, coming up this wknd, a chance to change and put on briefly any thing you want, shawl or mask and shoes of others, Michelle’s bangs or Sarah’s dress, upturn politics of yes or no, taboos and boos, put on the masks we don’t dare wear every other day, enter like High Priest Aaron into the Holy of Holies of Self, like Queen Esther into the royal chamber of possibilities, possibly against the law of the land, wrapped in beauty and in nothing more than one thin and sacred shawl. 


Wrap it to go. 


Shabbat Shalom

Perfectly Purim!

 

Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founder and Executive Director of Storahtelling, Inc. creating sustainable solutions for life-long Jewish Learning since 1999. storahtelling.org

Mirror, Mirror, on the (Western) Wall, who’s the… Word 15

WORD: A Word a Week from the World’s Best Seller. Follow the Annual Torah Re-Run Series with Amichai Lau-Lavie’s Newest Year-Long Blog. To subscribe via email click here. To listen to the audio version click here.

 

 

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worship

עבודה

 

 

 

 

 

The Western Wall is almost empty and pretty cold at 6:30 on this Tuesday morning.  A cat slinks away a long crack in one of the huge stones in the men’s section but none of the black-clad men busy praying loudly in small clusters notice. A few women  stand in solitary silent prayer, apart from each other, across the partition. A sanitation cleaner sweeps the floor all the way up to the wall itself, shoos the cat, and adds, along with the discarded tissues, all the carefully folded notes that were tucked into the cracks in the wall but were unlucky enough to fall to the ground during the night. *

I’m here with my family to celebrate my 13 year old nephew’s Bar Mitzvah season- today he’s binding himself in leather straps for the first time. Even my father, in a wheelchair, didn’t want to miss on this almost last grandson’s rite of passage.

We find a Table right alongside the partition, the women peer through the cracks in the fence, and the business as usual morning prayers progress with efficient speed. Cameras click on both sides of the partition, and some laughs, and it’s nice to be with the family, but I find it hard to join them in the prayers. I walk off to the side, close my eyes.

It’s not just that this is not my kind of prayer experience or valued form of contemplation. Too many words. Not a fan of speed read through psalms and pages, not anymore. It doesn’t work for me. And definitely not here.

I’ve come here all my life, as kid and soldier and student, sworn in to defend the homeland and detained for co-ed prayers, and I’ve prayed here and cried here, alone, and with others.

Most memorably and recently with rage.

I’ve been coming to the wall in the past months and years on the new moon, to support the Women of the Wall  in their right fight for dignity and religious expression.

This has become an immensely  important and complex symoblic fight for religious freedom in Israel. and it’s about to get more complicated.

 

As of two months ago the women can’t even enter this area with a prayer shawl, let alone wear one. Nor pray aloud.

 

And here I am today , a privileged Jewish male, free to pray as loudly as I want to, in my (‘It needs to be ironed” says my mother later) own talit worn any way I choose.

I can pray here freely – but actually I can’t.

How can someone pray in a place that is silencing the prayer of another?

I know this fight is right.

And when you think about it, the fight for religious freedom of expression is at the heart of the Jewish story – it’s the core of the Exodus saga and also found in this week’s Torah text – Bo.

From the get-go, Moses’ core demand of Pharaoh – Let My People Go – is not for freedom from labor- it’s for freedom to worship – or labor – for their own God.

let My people go,  So They Will Worship Me Exodus 10:3

 

The Hebrew word for ‘worship’ and ‘labor’ is the same – Avodah. The same word used to describe the slavery is the word used to articulate the demand for time off for religious freedom, a human dignity of choice of how to worship.

 

We always think of Moses as this great national liberator – and that does happen – but the initial fight is for religious freedom.   It isn’t clear if the demand to go worship is a pretense for escaping or a genuine plea for group bonding on religious grounds as  first step to national unity. Or all of the above. Either way Egypt refuses. And then it’s too late.

 

Mirror, Mirror, on the Western Wall: Who’s the Pharaoh here?

It’s also the Pharaoh, btw, past the locusts and down to the last two strikes- that finally relents to the Hebraic call for worship but on condition that only the men go. Moses refuses:  Everybody goes. Together. Ex. 10:11

Pigeons fly above us, someone quotes a poem by Yehuda Amichai about pigeons at the wall, and soon we will go home for bagels and coffee and a simple celebration and maybe one day this will all be something else and no prayers will be thrown into the trash.

And then I close my eyes again and try, and ask, for inner peace, and the courage to hope,  and  for all prayers to be prayed, here and everywhere – freely.  For all.

shabbat shalom

 

 

 

 

(*Now these personal petitions are trash. Do they still matter? Does the magic work if the notes are no longer  tucked in the cracks? does ‘it work’ if they stay?

and what does ‘work’  mean here anyway?

 

It works, we say, when something clicks right. Zeh Oved. And it’s the same, sometimes , with our prayers, true expressions of the soul that come from within, personal poetry, words cross our lips or written out by our fingers and tucked in a wall or talked to the stones or the sky. It’s like hitting SEND on a message you’ve crafted and are ready to send to the world. IT works when you’ve done your best to articulate your needs, request, suggestion, prayer. Regardless of reply, the rest will happen as it will.)

 

Amichai Lau-Lavie is the Founder and Executive Director of Storahtelling, Inc. creating sustainable solutions for life-long Jewish Learning since 1999. storahtelling.org