Friday, December 01, 2006


Clearly, we cannot know the whys and wherefores of that which transpires and, if we notice, as we advance on our path the experiences we have become more and more complex and confusing. As I grow older I understand less and less. It seems to me that this common experience is a process of aging that involves the surrendering of the will to conquer the world with our minds to HaShem. Eventually we will surrender everything to HaShem. First we must surrender our desire to know - which is really a desire to conquer.

I believe we are not intended to understand HaShem, not because HaShem could not make us understand if It willed that we would, but because we are being tested to see how we react to that which occurs which defies human understanding.

I believe that it is observed on high if we gaze upon the death and destruction of others and condemn those who suffered for some sin either of their own or, worse, others. I believe we are being observed to see if we are smug in believing that we are chosen. Do we interpret this as superiority or do we understand it as an imperative to serve humankind?

I believe that the Torah, as it presents itself to our every day, constricted consciousness, is a test. It is impossible to observe every mitzvah and to believe every tenet. I believe we are being observed to see what we adopt and what we reject, what we do and what we don't, what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about all of humanity.

HaShem, I believe, wants us to struggle and grapple with what is written in Torah, knowing that none of us accept and do it all. What do we cherish? What do we overlook? What do we stress? What do we minimize? All this, I believe, is telling about who we are and is being observed.

I believe that HaShem rejoices when we refuse to carry out the condemnations in Torah, which I believe are planted therein to see if we find that fruit sweet or bitter. I believe when we encounter the tests in Torah and we cry out to God: If that is what You expect of me, then send me to hell! I'll have no part of any World to Come if those are the conditions! - that God says בני נצחוני! –" My children have conquered me!" - in the sense that my children have seen past the words into My heart, they have passed the tests I set before them.

I believe that those who stress the strictures of Torah are not kind and good people, despite their having learned the clichés and giving lip service to love and devotion. I believe our attitudes and actions are being observed.

Shabbat Shalom,
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

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