Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great and Holy

“I’m not like you”, a person dear to me told me, “for you belief comes easy”. If only she was right.

The other day I was talking trash to my torn meniscus. I wrote on Twitter “If my torn meniscus wants to beat me, it will have to out to outwork me”. (If someone tweets and no one reads it, does it make any noise?) I wrote those words with a level of confidence and bravado that I did not feel. I often find myself wondering about people who have no doubts. Is it real or is it just a mask?

Of course, false certainty goes both ways. Those who are 100% certain in their non-belief make me wonder as well.

Six times a day, at the very least, I say a prayer asking G-d to make his name great and holy. What am I asking for? Is his name not great and holy already? The answer, it seems to me, is that as with many areas of life there is a vast void between reality and perception. G-d is already great. It’s just that we don’t always feel it.
A boy from a school where I used to teach is dying. His family seems to be handling this with tremendous faith. Me? I am a mess. I just cannot make peace with a boy so young leaving this world. I pray asking G-d to make his name great and holy. For the world, and for me, but especially for me.

I am a rabbi. Shouldn’t I be certain? I have often given answers to students struggling with these issues. Why don’t they work for me at moments like this?
There are those who offer proofs, as if G-d is some mathematical formula that can be proven. It seems to me that G-d can be found in the smile of a child, or in the tender moment when a mother comforts her child. In five step proofs? I have my doubts.

I hope my students will find teachers who struggle less than I do. For now, perhaps I can serve as a role model for how to search.

Please don’t write to that these words scare you. I am not falling apart. Just being real. G-d can be found in struggle at least as much as he can be found in proofs.
When I prayed this morning, it was the most connected I have felt in a long time. Great and Holy. Great and Holy.

Isn’t I possible for this boy, a boy who has lived so little of life to wake up this morning cancer free. Like it was all a bad dream, all of us wiser and more appreciative of life and its gifts? We’ve learned whatever lesson we are supposed to. Show us how great and holy your name is.


PLEASE donate in my mom’s memory to help children with cancer:

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