Up the Joy

I believe dining tables are holy spaces. The blessed congregated around them seated like the angles in Heaven would, were they to have knee and hip joints to sit down.

I believe that jumping and clapping is an ecstatic experience of the Divine, and marching bands are emissaries of the World to Come.

I believe there is so much grief, and sadness, and rip-you-in-half woe in this world, that we must save our solemnity and mourning for when it is truly due.

I believe in second chances, “every day Creation is renewed” second chances, holidays of second chances, and the ability to grant them.

This Shabbat we read Bereishet, the first parsha from the book of Genesis. A reading I can recite from memory because there was a contest in 4th grade for who could commit it to memory first. There was a donut prize. I didn’t care about the donuts.

This week we celebrated Simchat Torah, rejoicing as we complete the reading of the Torah, the 5 Books of Moses, and then…started all over again. In one breath we read the end of the story, and in the next (after rolling the whole scroll backwards,) we start right back from the beginning. Like reading your favorite book cover to cover to cover without end. Like reading a book and being reminded by your tradition that the narrative doesn’t have to be linear.

Every year my mother cries when Moses is forbidden from entering into the Holy Land. Every year when I read Toldot, the parsha where Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew, I cook red lentil soup. The rhythm of our lives are tied up with the stories of the Torah.

So, after a holiday season telling me I’ve got one more shot, I’m back blogging. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Ariana Katz