Friday, March 26, 2010

A Tulip in the Life

Photo by: Rachel Graubart

Last night, I was reading in the living room, I look at tulips my dad gave as a treat for my mother on her birthday. As I sat, I pondered about these tulips. My mind began to race. All week I had noticed these tulips. Then I had a burst of an idea.

Tulips are life, no the tribe's life. These tulips went through three stages. Tulips look different in these three stages. A Jew can deal with antisemitism three ways.

At first, my dad brought home young tulips. These tulips were new to the world. Drinking water for the first time. The tulips are closed. These Jews are the Jews who watch. Antisemitism is everyone, but if we say nothing, it just keeps happening. A closed tulip is beautiful, but no one remembers a closed tulip.

Then, as days passed, the sun shined on the flowers. The tulips open up. Our eyes could not help, but notice the beauty of the tulips. Being the outgoing person I am, I choose the open-tulip path. Fighting for the Jews is my style, people know I am Jewish. I carry a yarmulke and have a blog all about Judaism. Antisemitism is diminished by the brightness of the vibrant tulip.

Finally, yesterday. A Jew can join in antisemitism. I always relate antisemitism to a fire. People who are Jewish make jokes that do light the fire. Pedals on the drooping tulips looked burn. As the fell off the tulip, I knew the "burnt" tulip was dead.

Any conflict can be taken these three ways. Be a bystander. Be an upstander. Or be a putdowner. It is up to us to decide. Which tulip are you?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bible Through Basketball?

When I thought about writing this, I thought, Adam, are you going insane? Then, my mind said "You're just being yourself." Tonight I felt God's presence through basketball. I learned about Shabbat, God, the Torah, my own faith, and of course how to play the game of basketball. It is a Friday night. Jewish families across the globe are lighting candles, blessing wine, and eating delicious challah. For the first time in the long time, my family was not one to enjoy the pleasure.

It is the playoffs. If we win this game, we advance to the finals. We lose, we go home with nothing. My team had a decent shot this year, but God does not appreciate the game being played on Shabbat. We lost that game. It was over for the team, but a new beginning for me.

The Torah hit me like a ton of bricks. Last week, God tells the Israelites the consequence of breaking the Sabbath laws. God proclaims, "Therefore, keep the Sabbath, for it is a sacred thing for you. Those who desecrate it shall be put to death, for whoever performs work on it, that soul will be cut off from the midst of its people" (Exodus 30:14). Literally, punishment of disobedience is death in this situation. With three minutes left, I the Torah and God spoke to me.

I had made up a blessing for basketball. It goes "Baruch atah Adonai, elohanu melech haolam, asher k'dishanu b'mitzvotav m'sahaek cadoor sal". That translate to "Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctifies us with mitzvot to play basketball." Blessing are a give and take though. I had taken too much.

Today I was lazy. I did not plan to do this blog at a quarter of ten. School gave us the day off for a professional day and I did not bother to do any blog. I ignored Shabbat as the week came to a close. At dinner, no candles, no wine, no challah. The Sabbath is a sacred thing to me. I desecrated it and are part of me was put to death. I performed work on the Sabbath and cut myself off from all the other Jewish people. The Torah finally made sense.

Although the lesson was not pleasant to watch a good team fall hard, I am glad that I can now grow. Grow into a better, faithful, loyal Jew.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Exodus Ki Tisa 30:11-34:35

Moses has finally finished talking to God on top Mount Sinai. God has given him the Ten Commandments and a few extra guidelines to start the Israelites off as they head to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the people below were impatient. Aaron led them in the construction of the Golden Calf. Of all the commandments, this is the ultimate commandment. There is only one God. Moses is enraged as he smashes the Tablets. Both side lost in the long run.

This parshat troubled me terribly. Idols? Bowing to other than God? Jews do not do that. We look at this as a dark spot on our history. Mistakes happen. How far should God let things slide?

Making mistakes proves that we are humans. Walking away from mistakes unattached is the blank trait a human can possess. When I make a mistake, I try to learn from it. If I were in Aaron's position, I would pray for God's forgiveness. Also, I would teach myself and the people who had followed me how to be loyal to God, the one and only. If I were Moses, I would also pray for forgiveness. I would learn to control my anger. Aaron was forgiven, but Moses had already let his anger get the best of him. In Egypt, he killed a man whipping the slaves. God never forgets, but God learns. People can be the same way.