These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Pardes, TOH'rah, and You :)

Posted on October 18, 2010 by Spirit Wolf

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Torah Torah Torah. The ‘TOH’ rah. Meesh (Hammer Kossoy) practically dances around the room (or at least in her seat) while saying these words, speaking of the magnificence of Torah, her whole being consumed with the brilliance of G-d’s revelation and the Rabbis’ inventive minds. I think she’s crazy.

During my time at Pardes, these first few months have brought with them many teachings, some wonderful new surprises, some harsh new realities. Long hours spent in chevruta, struggling over ancient texts that somehow still sing with new meaning. Even longer hours spent in class, attempting to understand this new meaning and realizing that the ‘new meaning’ my chevruta and I had found may not always be the appropriate one. Even so, there is no wrong answer in Torah and no question is a bad one. Outside of the Pardes beit midrash, life goes on, new friends made, old friends lost, an aching heart and soul left behind. But still, Torah and the world remain and G-d isn’t going anywhere.

My first experiences at Pardes have been a roller-coaster of emotions, to say the least. But somehow, in all the craziness of Israel and Torah and life, amazing things can happen. My first Jerusalem open mic night, my first aliyah, and a communal Shabbaton that left me feeling awed with the spirit of this unique community and the Torah it embodies. And one day, when I walked into class and heard Meesh’s “TOH’rah” chant once more, her eyes sparkling with excitement, it didn’t seem crazy this time. Not at all.