Sunday, October 7, 2007

It's what you cause.

The Rabbi in the synagogue I attended on Shemini Atzeret (not my regular Rabbi/synagogue) gave an uncharacteristically moving Yizkor speech. This Rabbi tends to give more intellectual, text-based shiurim.

The upshot of the drash was "it's not just what you do in this world, it's what you cause in this world." Meaning, it's not just one's actions that are important, but the ripples that come off of one's actions, the effects of your language and behavior, the influence on other people, that are just as important as what you do.

Why does it say in the Talmud that someone who says Amen to a blessing has done something greater than the one who spoke the blessing? You would think that the one who went to the trouble of actually making the blessing has done something greater, yes? No. Because anyone can express an idea, but when you "second" the idea by saying Amen, you have created a community of two that supports this idea. The Rabbi expounded on this notion...why creating and affirming community was so important.


If you are married and have kids, fulfilling these concepts is a no-brainer. What community is more vital to affirm than that of the Jewish family? What greater ripples can you create in this world than passing down Jewish values to your kids? What more important team can you develop that that of you and your spouse?

But how is this supposed to work if you have no spouse? If you have no children? Am I to be deprived of my community and my ripples?

It's not just what you do, it's what you cause. Oy. How am I supposed to find my place in this world and contribute to the klal if I am alone?

I feel so lost.