A few months ago I was invited to go on a trip to Rome and Israel. I was actually quite shocked to be extended an invitation given that the trip had nothing to do with cooking, food, nutrition or green living! I wondered: why me? You see this trip was put on by a museum set to open in Washington, D.C. in November 2017. The museum is called The Museum of the Bible and it has a very interesting mission: to present artifacts of the Bible and subsequent periods that tell a story to many different audiences without getting into any theology for any one denomination. Jews, Protestants and Catholics alike should be able to attend and learn and see some pretty rare and fascinating artifacts without worrying about how they should or should not believe. It’s a daunting task in my opinion and after the events of the past few days I find I am very much moved by this mission.
So again…why was I asked to attend this trip along with 25 other ‘influencers’? I still do not really know except I am Jewish and am a blogger. So I guess this makes me a Jewish influencer! But these types of posts I do on the weekly parasha from the Torah are fairly new and not at all related to my homemade recipes. If you are reading this now and have been following these posts I appreciate it (I sure would appreciate a comment or two every once in a while)!
You see a few months ago I wasn’t sure if I should even posts these spiritual type posts on Homemade Mommy. I was really just doing them for my own pleasure and learning. Starting a new blog didn’t make any sense to me though so being the easy and non complicated person that I am I just decided to go ahead and post these commentaries where I post everything else. But when I think back to why I started this blog in the first place it’s exactly the same reason. I had something new I was learning and I needed a place to park all of my new recipes and ideas! So it’s really the same thing…it’s me, Lindsey, but just a new topic.
That is where this week’s reading comes into play: I believe you aren’t living unless you are constantly learning and growing. Learning new things tends to change you which basically means we are constantly reinventing ourselves. And that is what Pekudei: the last parasha in Exodus: 38:21-40:37 is all about. In this reading we learn that Moses erected and dismantled the Tabernacle when all the pieces were done multiple times over the course of 7 days. He finally allowed it to stand fully put together on the 8th day. Why? Because it is the process we all go through in life. We are always learning. To step out and learn is to be free. Interestingly enough we learned about a witch on trial here in Rome on day 1 that confessed her sin after much torture as to what was the essence of her sin and she said too much knowledge! More details on that here from one of my fellow travel mates on this trip Jeff Chu. To learn from our failures and come out the other side with new wisdom. So failing is actually the root of growth. We should all be looking to fail many times over instead of always looking to succeed! If I had been afraid of failing, I do not think I would have chosen to blast my own personal spiritual study journey on my blog. I could choose to think you won’t want to see this. That this type of post is not welcome and that it isn’t a safe place to explore such topics…but I chose instead to just be myself.
I am certainly glad I didn’t go there because had I not put up those first few posts, I would not have caught the eye of the organizers of this trip. And had I not, I wouldn’t be here today learning even more that can help me on this journey. The contacts I am making this week boggles my mind. I could choose to feel I don’t belong. That everyone here is more of an expert than me. That is definitely true because I don’t consider myself an expert in anything but what I realize is this: everyone counts and everyone has a part to play. I was happy to answer many questions yesterday about Judaism to those who had them. Maybe my answers weren’t the same as the very accomplished Rabbi’s but it is my experience all the same and that counts for something!
Learning Requires Great Teachers
It was equally as special today to attend a Sephardic morning service here in Italy and see that the Jews here do it basically like we do everywhere else. I was able to follow along loosely to the service and even say some of the prayers (albeit I didn’t know their melody or cadence but they were in Hebrew!) along with them. In a city such as Rome this made me feel filled with gratitude to have reached this season. We remain Jewish to this day even with all of the persecution that happened here. We survived and it is only because of the rituals we have and the dedicated people who do it the same now as always. Even though anti-semitism is not dead, I am personally free to be as Jewish as I choose to be at this moment in time. But seeing those people today in Rome, it reminded me that my freedom should never be taken for granted.
Our daily practice of prayer and study of Torah (even in a lowly blog post by a non-rabbi such as myself!) counts and is our responsibility as Jews to the world. However, to do anything like this weekly, I only have our Sages and other more learned Rabbis who created their commentary to read to thank. Without them to look to and without my own Rabbi to study with I would be lost. We need to learn but we can’t learn alone. Ever. Who would we discuss anything with if we were all alone?
And that is what I find most interesting about Pekudei. On the surface you might think this particular story is about creating the physical Tabernacle as a dwelling place for G-d and maybe it was then…but in reality it is what created the basis for us to be able and open to creating a space for G-d to dwell within us. We are our own personal sanctuary when we pray and when we do the types of things G-d commands us to do. And when we keep G-d close we can live without fear.
Wrap up: Oils to add to your prayers
- Gratitude for Not Feeling Safe. The other side is Protected. Say “I am free to be me” while applying a drop of Gratitude to the lower abdomen.
- Roman Chamomile for feeling Unwelcome. The other side is Needed. Say “I am here for a purpose” while applying Roman Chamomile to the chest just above the sternum.