These and Those

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

I’ll Try to be Brief

Posted on September 4, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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From my blog today:


Hello there! First blog post as a 22 year old – Sheheichanu moment?

I have so many things that I want to say and just don’t think that it is going to be possible right now. I started classes at Pardes this week and have been inspired from the first moment. I wish that I could share everything that I’ve learned this week, but then people would stop going to Pardes and just read my blog. I want to write a little more about this week, but I will have to leave you in suspense until after Rosh Hashana and Shabbat. For now, I will leave you with a little tidbit that I hope sticks with you over the next few days.

In one of my classes, I heard the story of Emanuel Bizgan and many children in his position. Emanuel is one of a new generation of orphans in Romania. These babies are abandoned in hospitals and are left in a special wing of the hospital because of laws related to immunization. (Please read the article that I’ve linked for more details.) The babies remain in the hospital until the age of 2 and are cared for by doctors and nurses until they can leave and go to children’s homes.

One would expect that the wing of the hospital would be extremely loud, full of cries and whines. But, as the reporter says, the wing is silent. The babies are all awake, but none of them are making a sound. When a baby cries, they expect someone to hear their pleas and come to help them. Unable to communicate their wants and needs in words, they expect whoever comes to help in whatever they see fit. Hopefully they will be able to figure out what it is that the baby wants and accurately administer it to the baby. These babies know how much effort it takes to cry and have learned that it simply isn’t worth it. The babies conditioned themselves to stop crying because nobody comes to answer their plea. In a wing with 23 babies and just 3 nurses, they just couldn’t keep up. As a result, the wing was silent.

Our tradition teaches that the shofar blasts are cries and whines to Hashem. The 100 blasts are wordless pleas because the hardest thing for us to do is formulate words for the things that we want. Similar to the babies, we are unable to string sentences together in order to request from Hashem the things that we want. Trembling before the King of The Universe, sitting in the chair of judgement, we are too afraid to request anything. Additionally, maybe we are unsure of what we want. Maybe we don’t know how to fix the issues that we see present in our lives, maybe we don’t know how to choose which side of the coin we want to land facing up.

However, unlike the babies, we know that our G-d is a G-d of mercy. A G-d that will answer our cries and grant us the things that are fit for us. If we view it like this, crying is a blessing. It’s something we are granted the ability to do when we have faith because we only do it when we believe that someone might hear us and help us. We have the great fortune to have a melech, a king, who is avinu, our father. A melech who has the power to rule over the entirety of the Universe, the control over everything in this world, who is also avinu and will remember each of us as His child and grant each of us a personalized, meaningful blessing.

As you go into Rosh Hashana, I wish you the courage to cry and plea with the everlasting belief that you will be heard, not abandoned, and that your pleas will be answered. Happy, happy, healthy and sweet New Year, wherever you are!