Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Perplexing Questions...

Top of the evening to all....

I swept some of the house last night.  I try not to do it all at once.  It is more than I can handle.

Within a couple of days, the stairs to the basement will again be covered with dust-bunnies.  Alas, I will have to sweep again.

I am trying to figure out the following quandary, the implications of which are frankly astounding.

Are dust bunnies just dust, subject to gravity just like the rest of us?  Alternatively, given their presence everywhere, are they an actual species (Latin: lepus domesticus shmutzus), preferring the cooler parts of the house?

I will have difficulty sleeping tonight.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When People Take Care of Their Rabbis....

Top of the afternoon to all...

My colleagues and I make every effort to connect with our people on an emotional level.  We care about the folks under our spiritual charge, and truly want the best for them.

Most of the time, our people say thank you.  Sometimes they do not, but we know that the sense of gratitude is very much there.

Every once in a while, they return the care we try to give them in the most resonant of ways.

Three stories:

I conducted a funeral for someone several years back.  The daughter of the deceased was having some emotional difficulty afterwards.  She came to see me.  We had a good meeting, but it got cut short because I forgot that I had something to do with Jennifer later that evening.  I felt terrible.  We had also accomplished a great deal at that meeting.  She scheduled another meeting.  She came at the appropriate time.  She told me that we had in fact accomplished a great deal, but also knew that I felt terrible about having to cut our time short.  She wanted to make sure that I was not still feeling terrible from the previous meeting.

When I was leaving my last pulpit, many people gave me small parting gifts.  The only one that I remember, and the source of which I remember, was one that was specifically picked out with me in mind.  It was a pocket-size tool kit for roadside bicycle work.  Someone knew exactly what makes me tick.

And then there was today.  Some time back, a woman contacted me for a chat.  She was going through some very significant personal challenges.  One part of that conversation focused on knitting.

(Fast-forward to today)

There was a small package in my mailbox today.  She sent me a hand-knitted cap, her own handiwork, to fit under my bicycle cap.  There have been many gifts and mementoes over the course of my rabbinate.  I will always remember and appreciate this one.  CR - Thank you.  You have no idea how much this one means to me, and how much you have just been one of the people who takes care of me.

Have a good day everyone.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting by with a Little Help from Friends...

Top of the evening everyone...

Interesting...where this entry is going, my mother would have quoted "Streetcar."  "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."  I prefer the Beatles.

I was having a conversation with someone who was finishing up shiva.  She said to me that she had to learn to let other people be there for her.  It is not something we do naturally.

When I had my appendix out this summer, it was the same challenge.  Heck...I keep a Swiss army knife for just such occasions.  The folks at the hospital gave me the choice of either walking or being walked from the emergency room up to the operating theatre.  I was feeling lousy, but otherwise completely mobile.  I almost decided to walk.  I let them wheel me.

It was difficult to make the decision.  It was easy to live with it.

Folks, we have all been raised to be independent.  We have all been raised to be able to provide for ourselves.  I think this is a mistake.  Independence is wonderful, but it is not real.  If we stop to think about it, we realize that we are interdependent.  We need others.  We need to be able to accept that others have roles to play in our lives.  Sometimes those roles involve doing for us the things that we cannot do for ourselves.  That means that we also have to admit that there are things that we cannot do for ourselves.

We are not lesser people for realizing that we have limits.  We become better people when we allow others into our lives, allowing them to be the generous, selfless people that they were raised to be.