Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bat Mitzvah Quote of the Month

I'm reading: Bat Mitzvah Quote of the MonthTweet this!

You may know that I'm working my way toward my (adult) bat mitzvah.

In recent weeks my classmates and I have been reading and discussing our Torah portion Numbers, ch. 9-20 and are starting to work on our dvars (divrei torah, technically), a talk relating to our section, or parsha, or Torah. The idea of a dvar is to go beyond retelling the story into linking the ancient text to modern life.

But it's not like writing a blog post, at least not my kind of blog post. In addition to discussing the portion as a class and reflecting on it individually, we are reading Torah commentary to see what the rabbis, sages and scholars of yore had to say about our parsha.

I came across this quote reading commentary about the section involving the Israelites, tired of wandering the desert* with Moses, complaining to Moses about their lot in life. Some of the sages explained the Israelites were tired, confused, and frightened, hence the complaining (makes sense to me), other commentators explained this as a crisis of faith, not trusting God to see them through. But a handful of modern commentators had a different take on this. They supposed that the Israelites were bored- all their basic needs were met, what with manna from heaven and whatnot, and they had bigger aspirations that they were not able to meet.

That is the context of the following quote. When we feel that sense of boredom, or ennui, maybe it's telling us something.

Bad will be the day for human beings when they become absolutely content with the life that they are living, with the thoughts that they are thinking, with the deeds that they are doing; when there is not forever beating at the doors of their souls with some great desire to do something larger, which they know they were meant and made to do because they are still, in spite of it all, the Children of God.
Philip Brooks

*Thanks to Neilochka for pointing out my Freudian slip of a typo in the original version of this post.


Meowmie said...

I didn't know you were doing this. That's great!

melissa said...

mazel tov!! i'm going through the bat mitzvah thing right now with my daughter. it's so exciting. back in my day, my parents didn't believe that girls should have bat mitzvahs so i was confirmed in 9th grade instead. not the same thing.
enjoy, good luck and congratulations.