Father Of Mine

The discussion was about Divine Intervention and whether it is an integral aspect of belief.

It was mostly intellectual with the bouts of emotions (that always seem to trickle through with me) getting properly addressed and shelved by the most significant influence in my life.

First, my mother left.

She tried to pipe in with emotions at the forefront.

It wasn’t the point so she lost interest.

Then my brother tried to lighten the mood with irrelevant quips.  He went back and forth from the computer screen, seemingly trying to take part, but on his terms which were to change the topic and make everyone laugh.

Soon it was just my father.

On my side of the world, the topic pulled my husband in and sat him next to me as we worked through a complex topic that needed less than a screen between us all.

My father closed with a comment that made my heart sing.

“And that’s all for this session of intellectual conversation between father and daughter.”

And I flew.

My husband and I talked about why our stimulating, interesting conversation bored or turned off other members of my family.  He wondered if they don’t know how to participate in open communication based solely on intellect.  I’m not sure that’s true.  I supposed that maybe they thought it was a fight.  Or that it was a session between teacher and student – that he was trying to guide me.

I thought it was incredible bonding and loving.

Maybe that’s because everything I always thought about my relationship with my father was based on a childish view on genders.

I was positive my father wished I were a boy.  My theory was that he enjoyed our learning sessions but was secretly upset that it meant nothing because I was unfortunate to be born a female.  I saw the look in his eyes when he practically begged his sons to learn and then they would drift off or get angry when they didn’t like the way he taught them.  Then he would reluctantly sit down with me.  I was so jealous of them.  I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want his attention.  I thought his brain focusing on me was the most amazing thing in the world and I craved that intellectual attention.

I still think it’s great.  And I still crave it.

But after this long over-due conversation I realize that all those years of resentment were based on nothing but my silly insecurities that held me back from a deeper relationship with my father.

I saw a look in his eyes that I recognized from my childhood, sitting at the dining room table trying not to jump in with an answer to his question before he completed his thoughts.

He enjoyed every minute of those learning sessions.

That look in his eyes that I took to mean disappointment that I wasn’t a son…I’m pretty damn sure it was a look of pride that it was his daughter who was capable, willing and craving to grow up to be the one he could stroll through the throes of intellectual connectivity with.

So until next time…

Your Daughter.

P.S.  Is this a good, non-sensational blog post? Wouldn’t want to disappoint you…:)

To Sleep Or Not To Sleep…That Is Not A Question

Shavuot.

That little holiday no one ever focuses on.  The one where we celebrate receiving the Torah.  The one where we eat cheesecake because someone thought it would be a nice cultural addition to a Jewish holiday.  The one where I’m supposed to keep the kids quiet all morning so my husband can sleep after an entire night learning.  The one I’m not supposed to resent because, as a woman, I should be happy accepting that I don’t NEED to learn or that I can get my portion of Torah through my husband’s learning or that I can learn plenty of things other than Gemorah…

Well, guess what?

Not working…non of that…

Want to know why?

Because my husband won’t be staying up all night.  Not this year.  Not after years and years of frustration and anger every Shavuot night.

Want to know why?

Because when he was a little boy and was supposed to be learning the Aleph-Bet in order to read all those big books he was eventually going to be learning all Shavuot night, he was getting hit.

That’s right.

Smacked around by the teacher because he got the word wrong…or got distracted…or made a joke…or because the teacher was mad at his wife or kids…

So now he can’t make much sense of the letters that were beaten into him and doesn’t want to stay up all night getting depressed.

And me?

I’m a woman…a second-class citizen according to the Torah and don’t you dare try to pacify me with your theories.  And yeah, when I was a kid my father was upset that his sons didn’t want to learn with him, even as I begged to be taught because learning with me was a favor to me while learning with the boys was a commandment.  It’s ok…I don’t want to learn now anyway…I just don’t want you to make me feel like I’m supposed to dance with joy that there’s a holiday to celebrate receiving something that sits on my shoulders like the yoke that it is…something that is not always wonderful and beautiful…something that sometimes makes me feel dirty…small…insignificant and sometimes very lonely.

I’m Jewish because I was born Jewish.

I’m religious because I can’t not be – and believe me, I tried…

I’ve been taught that when the Jews said “we will do, and we will hear” all our souls joined in, regardless of whether or not they were in bodily form.  Well, I’m not sure that’s true.  I don’t think I was there.  I don’t feel like I was there.  I’m pretty sure no one measured someone’s worth in pages then…or thought that it didn’t matter if you were a nice person or a total shmuck as long as you knew how to learn…or said that someone who learned a lot knew about science and math and philosophy…I’m pretty sure people just accepted something with a willingness to explore it and see how it would work for them.

So if I was there most of the people I hear talking were at a different event…not my Matan Torah…

I’m about to end my sarcastic, painful and resentful rant.

Just know this.

My husband is a good person, a learned person, a highly intelligent human being with a great grasp on reason.

I am his wife – his equal, his partner…

And we’re going to be sleeping this Shavuot night, probably full of cheesecake because a little culture doesn’t kill anyone, and we are not going to let all of this get us down.

So there!