These and Those

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

2:24 בראשית by Joel Dinin

Posted on November 2, 2010 by Eryn

Tags: , , , ,

2:24 בראשית

’על–כן, יעזב–איש, את–אביו, ואת–אמו; ודבק באשתו, והיו לבשר אחד’

“For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and he will cling to his wife and they will be for one flesh.”

How does one acquire a friend? Two boys may enjoy playing sports together.
The basketball court becomes their sacred place.
With each dribble they speak out loud, waiting for the other to respond.
They communicate by passing the ball and each sunken basket becomes a moment of accomplishment,
a moment of pleasure that is shared.
Two lovers greet each other with a kiss,
their hearts flutter, their pulses race, and a tingle runs through their spines.
They don’t say a word but truly they’ve said all they need to.
They listen to heart beats and respond with coos and sighs.
A dog nuzzles his shaggy hide into a nook in his master’s arms and goes to sleep.
He trusts, with utter loyalty, that no harm will befall him, and he enjoys the warmth.
He offers the protection of loud barking and slobbery kisses.
A teacher smiles, almost welling with tears as a student comes to realize exactly the point of it all, and the teacher is dumbfounded, unable to respond except for words of praise, sometimes lost on the student, but never on the teacher.
How many ways can the soul find comfort?
Must the soul’s natural disposition be discomfited?
Moshe the son of Maimon, a Rabbi of some repute, knew that men firstly seek warmth, shelter, companionship.
But he challenged man to seek further.
Next, if time and tide allow it, trust becomes implicit.
More than simple trust.
To know that you can say anything that is in your heart and that he will listen without question, without judgement, without harm.
Not even to respond, but to become a part of you that never leaves.
To trust that you need not perfect every word.
A simple “Good Morning” can be a mumble and not magnificent.
That your face doesn’t always need to be made up.
Your shape changes, but his image of you does not.
That your slightest imperfections are his to bare as well.
And he bares them with pride.
But for this young man, Moshe, this love has no movement.
It is, when achieved, an immovable foundation.
But once firmly planted it has no place to grow.
It stagnates and he seeks to plant roots elsewhere.
There must be something yielded by the branches.
For this tree to thrive it must bear fruit.
That is why bearing fruit is nothing less than a command.
Every tree forms differently.
A tree by a brick wall will grow crooked, grotesque.
But grotesque does not mean ugly.
Grotesque means that the sweetest essence is contained in a part where one least expects it.
A tree with little sun will grow tall to reach for warmth.
Too much sun and it hides.
The tree, firmly planted, is breathtaking.
She is strong, she is immovable.
She is proud and she will not bend.
But she can not deny she needs the rain.
Can not deny that with no nests in her branches she is lonely.
Each tree is perfect, ancient, a miracle.
A sapling will one day become a great redwood.
But who will look upon her.
She is firm, and she must bear against the wind.
But once she is sure of her standing she asks,
“Why do I stand?”
And she must seek her own answer.
She has time, she is a tree.
But before long her buds will bloom and her fruit will ripen.
Men will come to pluck of her bounty and bask in her shade.
But only one man will dare climb to her bough.
He will prune her, he will protect her.
He will eat of her fruit to gain strength and he will plant her seeds so that a forest can grow.
Moshe wishes for many forests to grow.
Forests that give us shade, give us air, give us life and home.

The tree is perfect, entirely.
And when she is ready he will be there.