Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shtetle Salad

Succos is truly a special time in the chandler shtelte.
Everybody is building everybody’s succa
And getting schach for each other
And planning fabrengnens
Every single night.
Night one…

            The meal had concluded and off they went; the young man and his fellow Jews. The night had cooled and their way lit by the full moon. It wasn’t long before they came to the succcah hosting that night’s fabrengen. Within they were greeted by the rest of the community sitting around a table warmly lit by rope lights all around...

“….so…..Jews…are we a salad or are we a melting pot?”
"We’re a salad"
"We’re a melting pot"
"We’re a salad in general,
but a melting pot in the succah
we’re all equal in a succah"
"are we equal in a succah?
Maybe I’m in here thinking about the succah and someone else is in here thinking about sports."
"So, maybe we’re not the same in the succah?"
"No we’re the same"
"Maybe we’re both"
"no no in the succah we’re the same that’s the point"
"but the lulav, that’s not the same"
"that’s a lulav this is a succah"
"wait, are we a salad when it comes to mitzvos?"
"but it’s always the same mitzvah"
"but it’s not done the same"
"can the same mitzvah be different?"

"maybe it’s the mitzvah that’s special to you
so it’s not the same. It’s like a salad.
We all have that mitzvah that we do"
"But it’s the same mitzvah. The same energy"
 "Maybe it’s the same"
"Maybe it’s different"
"It’s both"
"Then if I’m m’hudar a mitzvah
Is it for me?
Or is it for G-d?
Does G-d care how big my teffilin are?"
"The point
Is just do mitzvahs
The best we can"

            And so the Jews of the Chandler shtetle departed late. First all walking together then bit bit going their separate ways. All contemplating when Jews are a salad and when they are not. Pondering on what is a mitzvah and what does it do. It’s a wonder if Chandler slept that night.

Night two

            It was a similar scene to the night before. The Jews of Chandler all in a succah that had no room yet all had a seat. The young man entered in the midst of a peculiar discussion about some interesting halachas. The discussion went on until it eventually died out in silence…

"… know. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting what G-d does. Like there will be a morning where I’m rushing to work and right as I leave I’ll knock over my coffee. And I’m like “why G-d? Why did you do that?”
"Well, is because G-d did it?
Or because you are clumsy?"
"We cant ever fathom why things happen
The world is big
And G-d is bigger.
We can’t fathom his calculations"
"Like when you get stuck in traffic
And it turns out there was an accident down the road
But now it wasn’t you in that accident"
"But why did there have to be an accident?"
"Look we can’t know!"
"Who knows!
Maybe they got into an accident and met and got married!
And it wasn’t meant for you!"

"We have to think about how many calculations must go into the flutter of a leaf"
"I know I know. But I can’t help but get frustrated
And G-d wants us to be happy
I try not to get mad at G-d"
"Look these things
It’s not something we just get
It’s easy to trust G-d intellectually
We know he’s in charge
But to do so emotionally
That’s a skill
That takes work.
A lot of work. All the time. But then we get there.
G-d always puts us on the right path"

"Yes. Like when something goes wrong
I don’t say I messed up
I say G-d wants me to do it differently"

"How do we know we’re on the right path when things are going well?
Like if I have an interview that goes really well
But I’m really not supposed to take that job"
"Because it’s happening that’s why!"
"How can we know?"
"Probably you’re supposed to have the interview
And just not the job
You don’t know why"
"Like it’s better not to pray that things should change
But instead that we should be able to see the reason for why things are."
"Maybe we’ll never see"
"The point
Is just do the right thing
The best we can"

And so the Jews of the Chandler shtetle departed late. First all walking together then bit bit going their separate ways. All contemplating how to achieve acceptance and how to work on it. Pondering on what is the right path and how to know. It’s a wonder if Chandler slept that night.

The young man walked with his fellows. A scene it must have been. In the dead of night, in the middle of the road, the moon lighting up their white button down shirts. He walked with his fellows until he finally found himself alone. The final leg of his walk was always a solitary one. A thoughtful one.

Jews are a salad
But Chander is a salad with dressing

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