Before I started writing blogs for Medium, I had no idea what I was going to write about, but I knew two things I was NOT going to write about: politics and self-pity.
When it comes to political opinions, they are like assholes — everyone has one. It’s not my job to get you to change your mind. Read up, make an informed decision, go with your conscience, talk with your friends and family, do what you have to do. As an immigrant, all I know is that voting is a privilege, one I don’t take for granted.
Yesterday I sat down and wrote a long and winding blog that was both political and maudlinly self-pitying. I knew that this blog would never see the light of day, and I really let myself go — crying into the already sopping wet Kleenex. After it was done, I blew my nose (into a fresh tissue), took a deep breath and felt better. How do I know what I think and feel unless I write it out? How can I get rid of cobwebs and sweep the mind clean unless I write it out?
Now, without self-pity, and without getting into politics, with a clean and fresh slate, I can say what I really need to say: I know this world is tough for women, for the powerless, for victims and the disenfranchised. It always has been.
There was a story I heard, about God being put on trial during the Holocaust. But I forgot the ending, and part of the verdict. So, I looked it up, and found I wholeheartedly agreed with the verdict.
Elie Weisel once said, “I was there when God was put on trial.” This was in Auschwitz, when rabbis decided to put God on trial. Like all rabbis, they discussed, and argued, and debated, and pondered, offering point and counter-point. And, in the end, as they should have, they found Him guilty. As to the penalty phase of the trial, “…at the end of the trial, they used the word ‘chayav,’ rather than ‘guilty.’ It means, “‘He owes us something.’ Then we went to pray.”
But there was another story that I had heard. The story of the rabbis from about a hundred or more years ago, who decided to put God on trial. They fasted for three days, and they read the Torah, and the commentaries, and the Writings, and the Prophets, and after three days they found God guilty of His treatment of widows, guilty of His treatment of orphans and guilty of Him breaking the covenant between Him and His people, Israel, us, the Jews.
Well, good on us. Now what? Another story, this one much, much more apocryphal. The story goes that when God created man, before He finished, He withdrew, so that we are not complete. Whatever we are born with, that’s God’s gifts to us. Whatever we do with those gifts, that’s our gift to God in return.
I may be a non-believer, but wouldn’t it make sense to strive for betterment, and beyond that, to strive to become one with something greater than just you. I do find that there is a sort of a synergism with the Universe, or God or whatever you want to call it. There is a word “ruach,” which is the closest we have to “Spirit” or “Spiritual energy” in Judaism. Using “ruach’ is what we, writers, get to do every time we write.
We few, we lucky few… Who’s got the time for self-pity? Go and give your gifts to God, whether He deserves it or not.