Thursday, May 10, 2012
Children of Adam and Eve by Rabbi David Baum
I saw the most beautiful thing this week at morning minyan at the Rabbinical Assembly convention. A former teacher of mine brought her daughter, who she adopted, to the morning minyan (they are not the people in the above picture). Her daughter is two years old, and she held her close to her in a baby bjorn, which is not an easy thing to do! This woman adopted this baby and I am sure she had to work long and hard as the process is not easy. Her baby is of a different ethnicity, but it made no difference - you could see that they were connected by a strong bond of love that was palpable. I felt like I was witnessing literal holiness in my midst, the fulfilling of the famous statement in the Torah,
"ועשו לי מקדש, ושכנתי בתוכם’
"Build me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among you."
At one point, her daughter looked into her mothers eyes, and touched her mother’s tefillin on her head. I was so captivated by this tender image that I could not look away, and it actually gave me great kavanah (intention) for my prayers. The magic that I witnessed was not just with these two, but what was happening all around them. I saw men, Rabbis from all over the world and all different ages, turning and smiling, mimicking my expressions without knowing.
As I saw this mother and daughter, the baby with her pacifier in her mouth, I thought about my own 2 ½ year old. As she touched her mother’s tefillin, I remembered Avi running to kiss my tzitzit, or dragging me to the ark so he could kiss the Torahs. I am sure that those looking back at this rabbi and her daughter felt the same feelings: love and a little bit of envy, wishing that we too had our children so close to us at that moment. It is scenes like these that ignite the compassion within our hearts and make us feel connected to each other, not just as rabbis, not just as Jews, but as Bnei Adam v’Hava, children of Adam and Eve. My two sons, her daughter, your children - all of them, no matter where they are, or who loves them the most, are precious jewels.
Monday, May 7, 2012
I feel blessed to have been asked to teach my colleagues and teachers at the opening plenary of the Rabbinical Assembly. I was asked by Rabbi Josh Heller to teach a text that I was very passionate about, and I could not have thought of a more perfect text. It is from the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Metzia 85b. I was honored to teach with some of my colleagues, Rabbis Menachem Creditor, Ellen Wolintz-Fields, and Elana Zelony.
I will update this blog with some more details about my experience teaching, but until then, enjoy the teachings from my
The text I taught: