Monday, March 17, 2008

Your own personal Torah.

I know this is oh so wrong, but after reading Ima Bima's latest post, I can't stop singing Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus, only I substitute the word "Torah" for "Jesus."

I'm having a wee bit of trouble wrapping my head around the concept of Torah as our own personal truths. I accept Torah as the story of my people. For Pesach (Passover), we never refer to Moses taking, "Them," out of Egypt. He always leads, "Us." That way, it remains a part of us, not just some story from long ago.

I just have a difficult time thinking of the story of my mundane life as a part of Torah/torah. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the concept.

I'll save grappling with that intellectual dilemma for another day. While I'm not sure if this is what she had in mind, I'll share what keeps popping into my head for this.

I wish I had been a rabbi's child.

For our Purim play, the megillah will be chanted by several different people. One of them is the rabbi's oldest daughter who is just a kid.

We have to keep stopping them to ask where they are to see if our play matches up. None of us can understand Hebrew well enough to follow along. We're practicing Jews. That's insane.

I never had a real Jewish education. I found my way to more traditional Judaism when I was 21 and I've been learning ever since. While dh did have a Jewish education , the epitome of his Hebrew learning was at his bar mitzvah wherein he read (not chanted) his Torah portion only after MUCH tutoring and then promptly forgot everything he ever knew about the language. I have a strong desire to learn more, but it's so daunting.

I want my children to have a better grasp of Hebrew than we do. So far, so good. But there's only so much we can do for them. They're at a disadvantage because we are. I want more for them, but I don't know how to do that since we don't have that foundation ourselves.

If only I had been a rabbi's child. The rabbi's son was in my daughters' pre-k class at sunday school and he could identify gimmel when they were 3 years old. My kids knew the English alphabet forwards and backwards, but the Aleph-bet was completely unrecognizable to them (and largely to us as well). The rabbi's oldest daughter is chanting Torah with the adults. I long for that comfortable familiarity. I long for that effortless mastery. I long to be able to pass that along to our children.

1 comment:

Phyllis Sommer said...

reiza, a great post!

but i must tell you, that even rabbis struggle with the *hope* that our children will be committed passionate Jews...i'm a little less worried about their jewish literacy, yes, but i have so many fears that my children will resent judaism because it's their mommy's job...i know so many rabbis' kids who grow up to be disinterested jews. (then again, i know lots of rk's who are rabbis themselves!)

i think we all hope to give the best that we can give to our kids.