“Don’t just be religious, be G!dly!”
(Rav Ari Shvat)
One of my favorite lessons I learned in seminary exist in these few words. The gravity of being G!dly deeply pulls me into my core and begs me to answer this question; how can I be G!dly?
Standing outside of the Warsaw cemetery, my Rabbi said something time could never evolve for me. Before we entered, he announced, “G!d isn’t bound by time, G!d exists in the past, present and future.”
G!d was in 1939 and G!d was in 1948 and G!d is in 2020.
I recently have been very fixated on this concept of time. More specifically, the lack thereof within G!d’s realm of reality. We use the past, present and future always, but by doing so we consequentially limit the reality of time for ourselves.
I feel that human nature inhibits us from expanding our reality from the micro to macro; we disappoint ourselves into believing that the everything is in present.
I believe that a form of emulating G!d is to partially redeem ourselves from the notion of time. There must be a “G!dly” understanding and clarity that the reality of pain and suffering exists simultaneously as rejoice and redemption exist equally.
I truthfully can only actively understand this reality when I think of the land of Israel. Through all of her mystical history and miraculous discoveries. The moment I had on a bus driving through the Negev, taking pictures on my i-phone of shepherds so pure they were biblical. A living and breathing Torah is the land of Israel. The embedded antiquity compliments the thriving modernity so tightly sewn it’s divine.
Israel, to me, manifests holiness through her eternity, a trait of G!d that only trust and faith can invite and accept. I find myself more often now trying to emulate the expanded time frame of G!d, allowing myself to accept that the pain I feel and felt, at some point in the present or future, is replaced by joyous redemption.
In seminary, it was very popular to have a “Kumzitz”. A gathering of neshamot (souls) searching and singing together, each voice carrying a different weight, a unique prayer. There was nothing more overwhelming for me to experience than hearing my own pleas through song coated in pain and longing, to then be sung with the same song yet replaced by glazed gratitude and celebration. This realization that my Geulah (redemption) exists at the same time as my Galut, (exile) the most freeing breath of clarity, the most G!dly I think I can be.
I also believe that this new lens on time grants abundant gratitude, I recently learned with my friend in Chavruta, (learning partner) the power of prayer not through pain, but through gratitude. Praying with gratitude, despite the dire depravity of the circumstance, in my opinion shows G!d–and arguably more important; it shows ourselves that we believe (or at least try to) that our scale of time reaches beyond the “here and now”. We accept a miraculous reality that our suffering has evolved into celebration.
Devora Sisso, an inspirational speaker and empowering Jew once said, “Emunah is the reality that Hashem sees for you. The reality that is good and the reality that is coming”. Aligning our view of time with G!d to me, parallels and actively demonstrates our constant prayer align our will to the will of G!d.
With these ideas lingering in my mind, I pray deeply for those still facing their present hurting, but I also celebrate with them knowing their redemption has come.
I miss the eternity of Israel and I cannot wait to return, but a part of me knows, that in a sense, I never left.