I also need to remind myself that I am writing this as much for myself as for my sons who I hope will one day read this and be reminded of the person their mother was.
So, I will refocus my blog on its original intent of finding the birthday gifts in each day, and while I may not write each and every day, I do hope to record some of the moments that have brought light and meaning to my year.
Let's see, last night I was at services. John and Austin are at Duke for a golf tournament. John Connor is away at school and Reid had a lacrosse game. There was a guest rabbinical student who joined us for dinner and spoke at services about her experience as a student at JTS. Afterwards, Cantor Shana, one of my favorite people in the world, came up to me and "commanded" me to start my path toward Rabbinical School. (She was impressed because I had invited a congregant to services and they actually came).
Rabbinical School you ask? Yes, I have for some time talked about becoming a rabbi, not necessarily to practice as a congregational rabbi, but to have the rabbinic knowledge. The study of Judaism is the one subject that never bores me and to which I am constantly drawn.
Last night's rabbinical student spoke to the changing role of rabbis from strictly intellectual Torah scholars to a more pastoral role in meeting the emotional needs of their congregants.
This is something that interests me, because it is a combination of psychology, sociology and education, all subjects that interest me and come more easily for me.
The first step before pursuing rabbinical school is to become fluent in Hebrew. This is not particularly appealing to me, but I will try and see where it leads me. Today I will purchase The First Hebrew Primer, which Cantor Shana referred to me and I will consider it a birthday gift to myself. Let's see where that takes me- one step at a time.
But this discussion with the Cantor after services did not come out of thin air. In fact there were many signs and discussions leading up to this one.
Yesterday afternoon, while I was in studying Genesis with the Cantor, Edana and Amy,
we happened to be discussing the role of angels in Judaism. As you may well know, in Judaism, angels are messengers. They do not have the free will that man has. Instead, they are directed by G-d, and come to earth with one purpose; to do one job.
Edana shared with us a memory that was forever etched in her mind and heart. She was in the hospital, when just such an angel came into her son's hospital room to share a piece of wisdom and advice, and after affecting Edana and her son Bryan's life in a positive way, was gone as quickly as she arrived.
I can now recognize the angel that was sent last night. The disguise may have been the rabbinical student, to which I really made no emotional connection, or Cantor Shana, who so forcefully said," You are going to rabbinical school!" Either way, it was the catalyst to something that lies ahead. It may not be that I become a rabbi, but I will buy that Primer on Amazon today and we will see where the journey takes me.
Angels are birthday gifts, and when we are lucky enough to recognize them, we should be grateful and say, "Thank you G-d for sending me a messenger."