Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Interestingly, these are also values that my mother shares.
My middle name is a very strong family name, on both my mom's and my dad's side. It was my paternal grandmother's real first name, and it was my maternal grandmother's original middle name. It was also my maternal great-grandmother's name.
As for my first name, it has the same meaning as my father's: Victory.
This gets interesting, because my mom told me that she originally chose it because she thought it was pretty and didn't know the meaning behind it. It gets really interesting when you consider that she's one of the most competitive women in the entire world, and the names of her husband and oldest daughter reflect her love of winning.
The reason I'm writing this is because she just sent me a card. I've been having a difficult time with people at work, and she wanted to encourage me. She chose to do so by writing out the meanings of my names and telling me that she's "just learned that we are to walk in our name sake." Then she writes that my first name is victory and courage, and my middle name is noble and kind, and that I should just be who I am, and everything will be okay.
I don't think she even knows how Jewish that card is. I wouldn't have known until recently. This just might be easier and more organic than I thought.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
They then encountered a problem. After Hagar became pregnant, Sarai felt that Hagar no longer respected her.
This is where the lesson came in. Instead of teaching us the story, the Rabbi wanted us to discuss honor, and what it means to honor someone. And he wanted to talk about the opposite of honor, because that is what Hagar did to Sarai.
Firstly, the word for honor that was used in the Hebrew text, translated literally, means "to give weight to". The word used in this story was "to make lighter". There's a bit of room for interpretation as to what exactly that means. In fact, everybody who shared their ideas had a slightly different opinion.
The Rabbi also told us that he found it interesting that the Bible says to "love your neighbors", but does not say the same about your parents. We are supposed to "honor" them, with honor being from the same Hebrew root.
I think this means that God knows that you will have disagreements with your parents (or your masters, if you're a maid), and they will do things and say things that will make you not love them (hopefully only temporarily). Even so, you must be able to respect them because of their positions.
This got us into talking a bit about politics, because similar logic should apply to political leaders. The Rabbi asked, if George W. Bush were to walk through the door, would you shake his hand? He argued that most people would, although most present disagreed. The Rabbi asked about other figures. That brought us from Sarai to Sarah Palin. Most of us would shake hers.
EDIT: For those who are sent her by Google and want to know Sarah Palin's religion, she says she's Protestant.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
This is not a book assigned by my Rabbi, but it is a book about a Jewish theme. It's a work of historical fiction; an attempt to flesh out a marginalized character. As such, I do not know how very accurate it is, other than that I could find no obvious inconsistency with the Biblical accounts.
That said, I really liked this Zipporah.. She was wise, passionate and firey, just as I would expect the wife of a great, though insecure, man to be. The author emphasized that Moses was not raised Jewish by having Zipporah act as his teacher. She served to boost his confidence in the face of the difficult task God put in front of him. This, I liked and felt might well have been authentic.
The author contended that Moses had only one wife, and that the reference to the Cushite wife of Moses was literal. Since we know from the Bible that Jethro was Zipporah's father, and that he was a Hebrew, the author wrote that Zipporah was rescued and adopted by Jethro. This makes Zipporah a convert, and I kind of like that (being a convert myself).
There were also some things that I didn't believe.. The author solved the problem of Moses not choosing one of his sons to be the next leader by killing them off in the chaos that followed Moses' discovery of the Golden Calf. I just felt like that would have been included in the Biblical account of that story. I had the same issue with the murder of Zipporah. It seemed too sensational and contrived, and also like something that would have been recorded.
As I continue my studies, I may form a different opinion, but for now, I liked it.