While I was in the classroom, I would often times bring home cute stories from the children that I would tell my husband, who would then use them in his weekly sermons. Actually, sometimes or perhaps more often than that, they would be profound, as we know can be the wisdom of babes. But too often, he would change the story or change enough of the message to make me regret telling him. So I made a deal that I would tell him the stories/profound lessons, if he agreed to keep them anonymous. The same agreement went for ideas that I came up with, insights into Torah messages, that all of a sudden became so clear to me and I was happy to share them with him, but not with him as my interpreter. Too often something was lost in translation.
It is sometimes very difficult to be in the audience of someone you love. Sometimes it is very easy, as it was recently when I listened to one of my daughters speaking, amazed that she was truly illuminating in Torah and charming in her delivery. Nachas village or city or even world, it was so wide. But when your loved one says something that you don’t agree with, you can’t just pop up and say, “Are you nuts?”, like I do at home. Often. Even in front of guests, well, some guests. But being a rabbi’s wife is challenging. I am extraordinarily grateful (and I am not just saying this to make people happy; I really believe it) that we have a very warm and accepting congregation. Again, by saying this, I could easily lead into the opposite discussion, which is the problem with saying anything at all about people, since it so easily turns into “you really think that about them?” or “what about so-and so? You wouldn’t believe what happened with this group!” And that’s why it is hard to be in an audience and not have the immediate opportunity to refute. Again, thankfully, this isn’t all the time, or even most of the time, but I am just commenting on the difficulty of not having a voice. And thus another reason for this writing exercise I am doing here. Not that I am looking to speak in public, mind you. I have done it and I can do it without too much angst, but it is not something I am looking to take on as a regular gig.
And so something I will say now about the Torah portion of the week, where the commandment about tzitzit, the ritual fringe, is brought. I am so grateful (a word I try consciously to use as often as possible per day) that I am not obligated, as a Jewish woman, in most time-bound commandments. The main reason is that I am much too lazy. Perhaps I will talk about my experience in saying Kaddish for my mother here another time. I was grateful that I could do it, but I was even more grateful that it was my choice to experience it. The tzitzit are a fantastic expression of my being tied to the commandments without the literal ties. I express my ties in my way of dressing, by covering my hair and wearing certain clothing (and not wearing other clothing). That is also talk for another time.
But I want to share directly something I think is profound, so if you have a moment, go over here and enjoy.