Sunday, January 28, 2018

From an Old Bear to a Young One

 Thoughts on the Parash Va'eira, 13 January 2018, 6 Tevet 5777.

Well, I looked, but there is not mention of soccer in the Bible.

The only mention of sports I could find in the bible is in the start of Genesis...and that's baseball.  So we won't go there.

<Oh no, in the Big Inning>

Now there are very few mentions of bears in the Bible either.

The most famous one is in Kings II, where she-bears devour wicked children who were mocking the bald head of the prophet Elisha.

That might please some please some of your relatives, but we won't go there either.

So I took a leaf out of your book, and looked at your Torah (Exodus 7:8-9:35) and Haftarah ( Ezekiel 28:25–29:21) to see if I could talk to you about anything there.

 And, what struck me is that they are both at some level about exiles. Ezekiel is in exile writing back home.

And as it often the case with exiles, writing back home.

As is often the case with exiles, he has perhaps more clarity than the folks back home.

He is in forced exile, hoping to prevent that from happening to the rest of his people.

He doesn't prevent that from happening.

Moses just returned from an exile.

He has returned to an Egypt where we're told no one knows him anymore.

So, it was a sort of an exile of both time and place.

And he is about to go out on exile again, and take his people out on an exile.

And be there for 40 years, and Moses will die in exile.

Exile is part of the heritage of the Jew; maybe it is one of the defining inheritances.

It's also part of life, from the very moment of birth.

Which is why, I think, newborns look so grumpy.

Exile is not a happy thing.

While it comes in many flavors, it generally is uncomfortable: an adversity.

Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And you thought you'd get through this without me quoting Shakespeare.

<No, I didn't>

So, you will go through life, and have already gone through, exiles.

The point of them is for us is how we deal with them going forward.

This will define an awful lot of about us.

I'd like to be there to help you with all your exiles, so would your mother.

But, by the very definition of exiles, I am not sure that we can be.

It reminds of a poem, actually a song that Claudia Schmidt used to sing beautifully.

It goes:
Farewell, my friends,
I’m bound for Canaan,
I’m trav’ling through the wilderness;
Your company has been delightful,
You do not leave my mind distressed.
I go away, behind to leave you,
Perhaps never to meet again,
But if we never have the pleasure,
I hope we’ll meet on Canaan’s land.

I hope that all your exiles are going forward.

I hope that they are as good for you as they can be.

And, as always:

That you should Grow and Be Strong and Do Justly.