Thursday, November 03, 2011

Lech Lecha
Grant's Tomb
Grant's Tomb
My Hebrew teacher invited me to attend a class last night at a local study center, where a rabbi was leading a course on the parashat ha’shavua (weekly Torah portion). My teacher couldn’t stop raving about this rabbi’s skills, his ‘encyclopedic knowledge,’ and both the literary and spiritual approaches he took to the texts. I decided to check it out.

He was indeed impressive – speaking for an hour and a half on one chapter of Genesis, without notes or supporting documents. He casually threw out inter-textual references, midrash correlations, and the Ramban’s commentary as easily as one might recall what they had for lunch that day. (Me? Turkey sandwich. You?)

Eagle at Grant's Tomb

It just so happens that the parsha for this week was Lech Lecha, the story of how God calls Abram to “Go forth from your land…to the land that I will show you.” After the class ended, I told my teacher how this passage keeps popping up in my life lately.

The idea of Lech Lecha (literally translated: go to yourself) was one that I had chosen to meditate on while doing my pilgrimage walk in Spain last month. When my walk ended in Santiago, I attended a pilgrim’s vigil at the cathedral there. The officiating priest, Padre Ricardo, asked participants to read parts of the liturgy aloud and he called on me to read the Old Testament scripture. Which passage? Lech Lecha.

Riverside Church
Riverside Church
My teacher responded, as she does every couple of months, “Ok, now, I don’t want to “Jewish Mother” you, but…when are you going to go to seminary?” She knows I was considering it, way back when, and she knows I’ve left the issue tabled for the last several years, wrapped in indecision and a vague sense of of “well, maybe, some day.”

What she doesn’t know, though, is that lately the consideration has cropped up again. Last week I visited a church that meets in the chapel of a nearby theological school. And as I walked through those halls, I was struck by a loud, persistent wondering – “Why??” Why am I not in school? Why am I not studying this subject matter in a more structured way? Why am I not pursuing this?

(Unfortch I heard no answers. Just the questions.)

As we left the study center last night and headed towards Broadway, my Hebrew teacher said, “Well, think about it. Because I think you have a teacher inside of you. Maybe that’s part of your lech lecha.”

I could have cried (because I’m a girl; it’s what we do) but instead I said, “Well, maybe, some day.”

Maybe. Some day.

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