Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Counting of the Omer 5771 - Day 44 - Up in the Air

I am on my way to California, hence the title. The decision to go was easy but the subject is not about that but about how to convey your decisions to others. So today, the subject is indecision; the time to be indecisive and the time to be decisive and the time when neither seem to do. Or better yet creating a good balance.

Before I continue I would like to comment on yesterdays remarks on prayer. To the best of my knowledge I was not advocating that people need to pray or that they should pray, it was merely an observation and a statement about me, which is how I teach. In response to my observation I had two interesting comments about the subject of prayer both justifiable and both welcome, of course. One reader thought it was gutsy of me to talk about prayer in an Omer. I will admit some confusion to that but am complimented that my Omers are equated to public school. Also in that comment, thank you my friend, the reader was surprise that I used Mary Olivers poem, which the reader enjoyed, but again found odd in an Omer writing. It fit, I love that poem and she would like to see it quoted – I hope! I think Ill send it to her. (BTW – one reader told me she reads that poem every morning). Actually knowing the commentator I was not surprised at the comments and they brought me closer to todays Omer on decision making.

Briefly I will answer comment two although it is on the Beth Emet blog because the closing line was such a treat. The respondent said I dont mean to rain on anybodys parade, but you issued an invitation to a conversation, so here I am. Believing that my comments on prayer implied either a conversation with God, Who may or may not be listening, or a monologue addressed to God and the writer does not believe that is the case but that the recitation of the liturgy can connect one to the community and reinforce their believes. This is a direct reference to the old story of the two Jews who go every week to Shabbat services. Goldstein goes to talk to God and Epstein goes to talk to Goldstein. Both justifiable reasons as our his and as our mine. And the schnaps doesnt hurt either!

The conversation can also be about talking to oneself, to shore up ones strengths in difficult times or merely to reacquaint yourself with words or music that can sooth or distract from external (and internal) worries. I cant imagine there is any danger in having prayer words floating around in the air – ready to stick on someone who needs them, surround someone who cant say them. In the words of my learned brother, it cant hurt! On a similar vein is a poem by Danny Siegel about being surrounding by spoken Hebrew and how he loves being encompassed by the sound.

So this leads us to being up in the air and where that takes us. Sometimes when we have made up our mind to do something and place it in front of someone else they waffle. They give us many reasons not to go this way or the other. I am not opposed to advice and am honored by peoples concerns. I am also an advocate of letting people choose their way unless it is harmful and to support that. This is not brave or gutsy this is helping people to do their job. (A Maimonides approach to decision making.)

I am up in the air to make an important delivery It had complications but no lack of decision making. The message for all of us is that once we have made up our minds we sometimes need to fight to get others to understand and we need to be decisive.

Our sacred narratives should be filled with those decisions.

Hoping all your landings are safe today.


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