It’s pocket-sized. It’s in Aramaic, can’t read it. Still I carry it around.
Triscuits are unleavened. Right? Happy Good Friday and Hag Sameach. Light the candles (for Shabbat) at 7:23 if you’re in Houston.
I like to talk about adventure. In fact, this blog was started as a place for me to discuss my adventure to China. Adventure is my favorite. In fact, I’ve had a few different adventures in my life. South Korea, Yellowstone, China, England. Mississippi. No, wait, I didn’t choose that last one in the list. But let me set the record straight…I’m no adventurer. I don’t have grandiose ideas of climbing all 14ers in North America or any such thing. I’m more of the person who gets an idea and then follows that idea. For example, I decided I wanted to hike along the Great Wall of China. That’s all. And then life constructed itself in such a way that I was able to go teach in China for a year. And I went on numerous amazing hikes of the Great Wall. I saw unrestored parts that were crumbling and majestic in parts of China so remote there was not another soul between us and the horizon. There’s nothing in the world I would trade for that experience. That’s kinda how my adventure goes. With ideas.
And then this time last year, I got another idea. Numerous ones, actually. But the one I’m thinking of, again, is the Counting of the Omer and Shavout. If you know me, you know I’m not Jewish. If you read the title of this post you know I’m not Jewish. But some ideas strike my fancy. The Kabbalist interpretation of these 49 days between Passover and Shavout, for whatever reason, really struck my fancy. Became my hair-brained idea, this time last year. My little personal adventure of the interior, so to speak. The 49 days corresponding with the 7 Sephirot were one thing. And an interesting thing, yes. But the culmination is what really piqued my interest. According to the Zohar, if one stays awake studying the Torah on Shavout (as is the tradition for the festival amongst the Jewish) one is guaranteed to escape death for the following year. Seriously, escape death for a whole year? By reading books? I’m in.
“Dear Google, where can I stay up all night, in Houston, with some Jewish people and study the Torah all night long so I don’t fall asleep like they did back in the old days on Sinai?” typed I.
“Why here you go. Here’s a community of Jewish people in Houston who will have an all nighter on Shavout,” replied Google.
And so I went. Oh, and I called a couple other people who had been going to the same classes with me with similar hair-brains, it appeared.
Did I mention I’m not Jewish? And also, the fellow hair-brains who went with me, also, are not Jewish.
“Are you Jewish?” asked the Rabbi-in-charge’s wife. That was before hello. I wondered if I had made a mistake. Still I pressed on. She welcomed us. She was kind, just confused. Apparently, it’s not common for a gaggle of gentiles to join in this holiday celebration.
We took our seats. We listened to a couple of opening acts while we waited for the Minyan to arrive. The ten men came. The service began. I didn’t know the songs. I didn’t know the dances. I don’t read Hebrew. We did not belong. This was true adventure. The service ended. We had dinner. We stood around like the sophomores at the seniors’ party. I just wanted the Torah readings and lectures to begin. Men in hats with curls asked us questions. We weren’t supposed to be there. Oh, and that’s where I learned that the traditional Jewish community aren’t terribly excited about Kabbalah teachings to those outside the Jewish world. How did I learn that? I told the men in hats with curls that I was there because I had learned about Shavout at the Kabbalah book store. Oops. I wanted to leave. My hair-brained cohorts talked me out of it.
When the lectures and discussions started it got interesting. I liked talking about the Torah. The Rabbi is a redhead. I have an affinity with redheads. Solidarity. He had a great way of leading discussions which were both very accessible without being too “dummied down.” And also, I was surprised that I had remembered so much of the stories from when I took Survey of the Bible in college. I liked the Old Testament portion (minus the begets, of course).
So, Shavout is a month and a half away. Now is Passover. Or Good Friday. Or just another work day for some. But whichever it is, this meandering post from this Shiksa at Shavout is a hello. Happy Easter. Hag Sameach.
But so as not to leave you dangling, I did stay awake the entire Shavout and I did not die the entire year after.*
Until my next adventure,
*Note Bene: I also did not die the entire year before, either, and Shavout was not observed.