What does your Judaism look like?
This has been my theme – unspoken, unwritten – for contemplation over Rosh Hashanah and Shabbos Shuvah this year.
What does MY Judaism look like?
I sort of embrace the fact that I’m not a “planning” person. My life can look rather haphazard from the outside, not to mention from the inside. I never had a Ten Year Plan or even a Five Year Plan, and I was so proud of my sister Sara when I found out she’d made one.
Even if things veer off course, having a plan to begin with is very grounding, and who knows: you may actually succeed. Whereas if you don’t set out to do anything in particular, you may not accomplish anything in particular, either.
I always felt like I started my adult life with NO goals, and I often feel discouraged because I’m not getting anywhere.
But looking at my family this Yom Tov, I realized I had not only made goals, ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, but – to some small extent – have accomplished them.
They were Jewish goals, visualized but unspoken. Goals forged with every meal I shared with a frum family; with every class I went to; every new shul I visited; every passuk and Uncle Moishy song I learned; every rabbi I pestered.
This was where I wanted my family to be – this was what I wanted my Judaism to look like.
So how’d I do? Does my Judaism look like I thought it would?
I’m probably not as frum as I thought I wanted to be, and neither is my family. I joked over Yom Tov that YM’s emerging hashkafa is “somewhere between yeshivish and apikorsus.” He’s not the only one.
I have a different husband from the one I thought I’d have – a very different husband. One who is gentle, kind, constant, quiet (yes, all the opposite of me!). A true “ezer k’negdi” who is less well-versed in Torah but whose love for Am Yisrael is also rooted in Medinat Yisrael – the modern State of Israel – which may actually make possible my dream of aliyah.
I believe those images in my head, those visual goals, have indeed guided me to where I am today. My only goals were Jewish ones, so perhaps it makes sense that my only significant accomplishments have been Jewish ones as well.
Realizing this, I believe it’s time for new goals. Realizing that goals need not be written down to come true, I have to start looking around and visualizing, re-visualizing, where I want my family to be… so that someday, maybe twenty years from now, at least a part of it will have come true.
What will these goals be? I have no idea… but I feel, in these realizations, like I’ve been given a very powerful gift that I never knew I had. The power to make my own future come true.
May all our visions be steadfast and may the year we have just begun be one of growth and fulfillment for us all.
Happy fasting, everybody!!!