Friday, November 03, 2006

Lech Lecha

Funny how life gets in the way of art: a triptych was planned, you have seen the first panel – Veneer. The second panel, Escalations is well under way and a canvas is reserved for Not Enough. They will fit well together indeed. But tonight was not for painting my words, tonight was family Shabbat at Temple. Carrie, a little under the weather stays home and I venture forth with the children: we pray, we eat, and then a new tradition: games with a purpose.

The Rabbi asks us to imagine we are going on a journey. A journey to begin a new life in a strange place: the destination is unknown. He tells us the journey will be difficult – physically and emotionally. This is a game and the game (which could pass for a meme) is for each family to list five items we will need to begin our new life and five items we will need to remember our old life. I huddle with my children and we make our lists but all the while my head is spinning: journeys, the unknown, emotional trials. I didn’t realize the Rabbi read my Blog, could see inside my mind.

After we read our answers, had a little fun, the Rabbi asks if we know why he chose the game on this night. Some guesses, but we are all a little slow. It relates to this weeks Pasha – the portion of the Torah we will read in Temple on this Sabbath day. The Pasha is Lech Lecha which translates into "Go, Go For Yourself" and it is the story of Abraham’s journey. It opens with God telling Abraham:

“Go forth for yourself from your native land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house to the place that I will show you!” (Genesis 12:1)

The Rabbi explains that the order is important. Going forth from one’s land is difficult, but it is done for many reasons. Birthplace – getting harder now, and lastly from your father’s house: the pinnacle of difficulty, the height of leaving. And I have considered over the past year, what if my parents were still alive. Would I have the courage to share my journey, tell them of the struggle, of the pain I have caused? Truly, I do not know.

Of course while I had these internal thoughts, there was still a game to play. So in best meme tradition (my children should only know what they are part of), our answers:

Five items to begin the new life:
Seeds for crops (the persimmons have gone to our heads)

Five items to remind us of the old:
Family photos
Carrie’s wedding knife (which has cut wedding cakes for four generations)
My daughter’s spoons
Grandpa’s pocket watch
Grandma’s music box

And a restful day of peace to all


Anonymous said...

This is a very touching post Nate. It sounds as if you and the children made great lists.

I'm just wondering, as an exercise, what would be the five important things you leave behind in your new life?

Nate said...

I was with one of the kids this morning and raised the question. She wanted to leave behind a picture of her friends because it would make her sad.

I told her I wanted to leave behind the fears (the fears that hold us all back). She rejected it as not being tangible, but she is ten and I am fifty-two so I am sticking with my answer: I need to leave behind my fears that have controlled my existence and not just sexually.