So my Bar Ilan program ended. I can't beleive it. It came and went faster than any year I can remember-let alone any program I've ever experienced. In a flash - it was over. Yeah yeah I'm sad its over and everything-I made amazing friends, and amazing connections, and took in a whole new life that I really am in love with - and I found out that this process is actually an ongoing process. That there's no switch that I or you can turn on and off to change who you, the way you think, or the way you view the world... You have to constantly be working on yourself, with constant questioning, and not let life just pass you by.
I got kind of scared, knowing that it was ending; I created a foundation that I was getting very comfortable in. I wasn't sure if I could adapt in a different environment but I knew I had to make something work.
Summer is Israel was my conclusion-I would stay here for a short period of time in different environments figuring out if I could adapt, and act out the things I've learned to act out at Bar Ilan. So here I am writing my first blog from one of the first experiences I am delving into: Isralight Inward Bound http://www.isralightinwardbound.com/ .
The first thing we did on the program was unpacking our Jewish Baggage taught by Rabbi Mottle Wolfe. We went through a list of things we hated about Judaism. People said things like conformity, sexism, fear of G-d, Jewish guilt, shomer negiah, long holidays, etc. After that, we talked about the things we loved about Judaism. For example closeness, authenticity, mitzvot, questioning, creating your own path, etc. He explained that it's very easy to make these lists but you come to realize, that the lists cancel each other out. How can you hate shomer negiah if you love mitzvot? Or hate long holidays, but love shabbat? They are the same lists! We create a list of what seems hard to us, which is the hate list, and we create a list of things we aspire to always do, which is the love list. The love list will essentially be what we know could be-and how we view Judaism in our hearts.
Rabbi Mottle also brought up a point that Torah is not just truth. Lets say you are talking to matchmaker and she shows you a picture of a person that you are attracted to, their name,age, height, weight, profession, history, etc-all on paper. You seem ecstatic about this person since they seem perfect and the matchmaker says, OK so the wedding is in three hours! You will probably thing they're crazy! This is like the Torah, on paper it seems a certain way but you wont get to know what it actually is until you experience it. He explains that Torah is not truth, it is LIFE and life is experience. You're not marrying the person because of what they are on paper, your marrying them becuase of the experience with him.
So thats what started off the journey and we continued from there. Pirkei Avot has a line that says the wise man is the one who can see who is going to be born into this world. Our teacher asked us what we thought this meant and we concluded that it meant a person that sets intentions and has goals for himself-is ultimately going to be wise. I thought about this line over and over as the days passed by, and realized that this was the answer to one of my biggest questions! How am I going to continue this inspiring journey I've came across in Israel in America? I realized I have a vision of what how I see myself-my ultimate higher self-and this reoccurring image will keep my strength going! Life is going to happen in front of you whether you like it or not-to know your intentions is a key to a happy life.
Rabbi David Aron-inspiring speaker and author is also one of our teachers here at Inward Bound. His topic that he teaches us in Jewish philosophy and mysticism. I've learned so much from him and can only tell you to buy his books to even begin to grasp what he's taught us. But for now, I'll explain that I've learned that G-d is not some guy in the sky that put 613 commandments on our heads to make us suffer. That is actually idolatry-giving G-d a human form and acknowledging him that way; and if you don't have clarity on what what Hashem really is, than every problem will flow from there. Its really hard to put this in a paragraph, but Rabbi aron made it clear to us that we are all aspects of G-d. You can't see Hashem because he is the source of all seeing, you can't think of what thinking is, because Hashem is the source of all thinking-G-d is the source of all consciousness. "To think of G-d is not to find him as an object in our minds-but to find ourselves in his". You have to realize that we are one-part of the big one, Hashem.
Rabbi Aron Leibowitz, createor of the Shirta Devorah Seminary/Ashrei Yeshiva is also our teacher. A main concept we went over was Lech Licha-Go to you. I took this as the person I don't want to be speaking to the person that I see myself as in the future-telling her to go inside to who you really are-an aspect of G-d-and be G-d like, eventually having the same intentions of G-d, making what I pray for what G-d wants for me too.
Besides classes, we also have been touring around Jerusalem/Gush Etzion/ the north (tomorrow). We get such a different perspective on things-and its truly amazing.
I have pages and pages of notes on what I've taken in, and we still have about a week left! I'm so blessed to be here and hope that everyone gets a chance to experience what I've been experiencing as well. Go into yourself, who you really are, through Judaism, and you will be extremely surprised on what you can find..