Like all women, Miriam is a complex human being, whom I cannot fully understand.
Now we recognize that alcoholism, spousal abuse and AIDS (to name a few) are Jewish realities. We live with their presence in our lives. Whether it is a relative, co-worker or close friend who endures these trials, we have slowly begun to move from silent suffering to communal care.
My daughter is beginning to get her hands into everything. She began crawling at 10 months, but didn't quite understand the power of her freedom.
Just as the morning light begins to shine through my windows, my dreams become vivid movies. They combine images from the past, worries of the present, and a confusing dialogue that takes place in a strange but familiar parallel universe in time.
I always found it difficult to respond to the command of Sukkot "to be happy" on the heels of Yom Kippur.
As Jews, we are famous for repeating ourselves. Johnny, did you take out the garbage? Johnny, I wonder if the garbage is outside? Honey, did you give me the phone number of the place you're staying? Honey, I need the phone number of your hotel. Mom, please don't tell me to do my homework again. You just reminded me an hour ago.
Wow, that hit me. Of course it has a different heartbeat than I do, but how could it? I'm carrying this fetus inside of me; it's me. Or is it me?
Now that my daughter is 11-weeks-old, I am beginning to understand the true meaning of the word "sacrifice." At seven in the evening when I have finished working a long day and I would like to sit down for a meal with my husband, instead we take turns entertaining our daughter. That is sacrifice. At two in the morning in the midst of a dream which I would love to continue, instead, I muster up my strength to feed her. That is sacrifice.
A month ago, I gave birth to our first child, a little girl with a full head of dark hair and almond eyes. Since then I have spent countless hours struggling with the question: Whom do I serve?
There's a Yiddish saying that goes: "I've been poor and I've been rich. Believe me, rich is better!" In the Midrash we read: "Nothing in the universe is worse than poverty; it is the most terrible of sufferings." (Exodus Rabbah 31:14)
"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."-- Mark Twain
We laugh at this quote because we can sense its truth. Each of us passes through stages of life in relation to our parents. Whether they are alive or deceased; whether we live in close proximity to them or across the country; whether we are emotionally close to them or have grown distant -- an ebb and flow often characterizes our relationship to our parents. Parental separation is necessary, but painful. God knew this when, on the second day of creation, after the division of the waters above and below, God refrained from saying "and it was good." Our struggle to separate begins at the womb and continues way beyond the grave.
I forgot to blow the shofar this morning. No, it's not quite Rosh Hashanah and I haven't missed this year's round challah or apples dipped in honey.
All of us have observed an event or participated in a conversation only to come away with a perception of what happened that's completely different from the interpretations of others.