I met with the Rabbi today, for my consultation in lieu of classes. We talked about the progress I was making with the Hebrew. I think he thinks I'm learning quickly. He gave me a chance to ask any questions that I had, and I didn't have too many yet. There were some words in the book that I was working with that I didn't think I was reading correctly, so he helped me out. The words didn't sound like Hebrew in my mouth. One of my mistakes was that I had confused two letters. You're never going to say the word correctly if you have the wrong letters. So that was an easy fix, really. I didn't know how to pronounce a particular vowel combination, so he helped me with that. He also showed me an ending that was going to mess me up pretty good, because it involved a silent letter that wouldn't usually be silent.
Then we talked about why I'm interested in Judaism and its relationship to ecology. I think he was scared that I was going too new age with it. Its not that at all, really. I think that some of the people who write about that area are doing it with a new agey perspective, but those ideas aren't intriguing in a satisfying way. I mean, it's great to consider the patience of a rock, but ultimately, the imagery fails because patience requires free will or at least some kind of choice. The Rabbi suggested that I try looking at a few scholars he was aware of, and I promised that I would.
For me, the nexus of G-d and nature is valuable. I think that nature forces you to be in the moment. When you appreciate the beauty of the mountains around you, your mind is drawn to the Creator of those mountains; in that moment that takes your breath away, you find G-d. You need to have that same sense of awe when you light the shabbat candles. When you're hiking, you're looking out for bears that might eat you and roots you might trip on. You're not thinking about your laundry or your bills. This is the same mindset you should have when you pray or study Torah.
Since I know a lot more about nature than I do about G-d, it seems like a good way in. A way to teach my mind to focus on G-d and push the distractions to the side. Surely there have been writers, in the past 5000 or so years who have written things that can help me with that. I just wish that I had been better able to explain all of this to the Rabbi. I got about halfway there. When I leave his office, I always think of that genius thing I should have said, because I walk away thinking about the questions he asked and why I was unsatisfied with my own answers.