Sunday, February 28, 2010

Freilechin Purim

7:05 AM - Minyan (the one I've chosen) is at 8:15. I just received a message from an old friend from ninth grade. I switched schools for tenth and the next time I saw him was in YU. It was about five years but in adolescent years that's about a million. We spotted each other and we marvelled over the passing of time. He was in the Morg. elevator I was on the outside and as the door closed, through the crack He said, as I recall, "See you in the old age home!"
Friday night I had two students over. I am more comfortable with the term students than former students, even though when I say students it confuses people. I was so happy that one of them who's not often around here for Shabbos emailed me and asked if he could come. I made chicken soup, they brought mandel bread, but my favorite part of the meal was the conversation.
Each of these students amaze me. One was my student for Gemorah in two different grades and was a stand out. He remembers things I taught, extra credit questions and asides that I forgot! The other was valedictorian and his graduation speech was about his hero, the Sridei Eish...
10:50 AM Recently returned from minyan.There was an announcement mad that money was being collected to be be given todayto poor people in NYC. It stood in contrst to the usual, which is Yerushalayim.
Last night and today I used the Artscroll Esther, which holds the distinction of being the first Artscroll book to come out. I didn't know about it when it first appeared but was made aware of the Ruth commentary when it was published a few months later. I recall Shep Rosen excitedly showing it around like a treasured jewel on Shavuos night at the all night learning.
3:39 PM Soon seudah. In the vein of my mentor Mr. Rogers' sincere sentiment that if it's mentionable it's manageable I share with you that action is hard for me. There are four kabbalistic spheres, and the "lowest" is asiyah - action. To quote my student, "Sometimes when it says the lowest it means the highest." Yes. The world of action is the one we live in. When I was an adolecent and on a crusade to find out why Gemorah is the focus of learning I collected many answers. One Rebbe told me that Gemorah is very in this world, you get your hands dirty when you learn it, it reminds us of the world we're meant to connect with.Purim is an action focused holiday. You have to plan a seudah, prepare mischloach manot, read a megillah twice. It's very community oriented, very much about putting your money where your mouth is and truly doing not simply saying. For me, Purim is hard.


I should be on my way to a communal seudah. Slowly, slowly, said the sloth. Soup made? Check. Matzah balls? Check. Cutlery and paper goods? Check. Wine and soda? Check. Sorbet? Uh oh. Another action to do. Two students that want me to stop by their seudah on the way to mine? Don't think it's gonna happen. Tisch in Brooklyn after seudah, via ride that needs arranging? Maybe. Prep for school tomorrow? Not now. Clean up from Shabbos? Not


4:01 PM - People ask how I write so much. The thing is I hold back. If I could I would write much more, now and always.

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