These and Those

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

Ayeka: Getting Personal with G-d

Posted on December 3, 2012 by Stuart Matan Lithwick

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Over the past month, I have been a part of the Ayeka class, being run by David Bogomolny at Pardes. It’s funny. When I first arrived at Pardes, I had no idea of the meaning of the word, “Ayeka”. I had no idea of its significance in the Tanach and in everyday life. However, through my Chumash classes, and the work that I have done so far with David, I have gained much more insight into what this 1-word question really represents.

When Adam eats fruit from the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden, an action that has been strictly prohibited by G-d, G-d poses this one-word question to Adam. Ayeka? Where are you? G-d does not understand how or why Adam would disobey. It seems to me that though Ayeka, G-d seeks to strengthen his/her relationship with Adam.

My wife, Annie Matan Gilbert, had previously participated in Ayeka when she was studying at Pardes three years ago. She chose to not provide much description of what exactly the program was, to ensure that it would still be new for me, but assured me that it was something that I had to be a part of. From my experience so far in Ayeka, it has lived up to this recommendation.

Ayeka, for me, has been about strengthening my connection with G-d on a personal level, something that I have never really engaged in before coming to Pardes. The experience has at times been really tough, simply because I have, through most my life, brought G-d into my life only through communal prayer. Having a one-on-one conversation with G-d is an experience that you do not quickly forget. That being said, it has been an invaluable experience, one that has been made much easier through support by other Ayeka participants.

I am excited to see where we go in the second half of the course, and explore how to further bring G-d into my life.

Best wishes,

Stuart Matan Lithwick.