Thursday, December 22, 2005

Laughing and laughing and laughing...

The joke's on me...(and, I suppose, on my dear husband).

babies seem to come in threes.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Vayetze and me

Last week's parsha seemed particularly, and peculiarly, appropriate. Vayetze includes the famous wife-swap where Jacob ends up in the tent not with lovely Rachel, but with fertile Leah. Within a week, he has them both, and eventually his own flocks, his freedom, a giant family, and a still-massive guilt complex about his own brother. But they have the neverending competition of sisters and co-wives, who-loves-who-more, who-has-more children, Sarah/Hagar, Rachel/Leah, Hannah/Penninah, it goes on and on.

Last week was also when I found out that my dear sister-in-law was pregnant (yay!) as was my oldest friend (yay!) and I, yet again, was not (not-so-yay). What a seesaw! In struggling with my disappointment and jealousy, I was also sincerely thrilled for them, walking around the house smiling at ideas for new baby quilts, crying at the thought that they were not for get the picture.

I am truly blessed. I have a loving, intelligent, funny, and devoted husband, I am healthy, I finally have a job I enjoy, at decent wages, and tons of family, friends, and wider community with whom to share my joys and my gifts. I have the opportunity, every day, to perform meaningful mitzvot and work on repairing the world and myself.

I am therefore disappointed in myself for the petty jealousy I feel when I look around and see everyone else my own age owning a beautiful and spacious house which we cannot afford (we still rent), or two cars, or having babies that are still not here for me... and yet the feelings keep coming up. What is there in me, I wonder, that is so competitive? Do I really need a big house to be happy, or to feel that I am not a failure? Are these first babies really going to steal all their grandparents' love and attention and leave none for my (I hope) later children?

These feelings gave me a totally new perspective on the biblical mother-figures. With only a few unlucky months behind me, I am far from the despair of our foremothers, the wives. With a loving husband and a host of constitutional rights behind me, I am far from the alienation of our foremothers, the concubines. And so, what a surprise to realize that although I had long imagined the rancor and distress in those stories, I had completely forgotten the joy there must be, when we learn another woman in the household/family is blessed. And there is joy! And there was joy! Leah bore the children, but Rachel carried them around in her arms so Leah could rest; she took them into the fields, and taught them to tell one lamb from another. Bilhah and Zilpah saw their sons running through the camp, following their older brothers and being caught up, laughing, by Jacob or Leah or Rachel or anyone else who happened by...these are happy dysfunctional family stories, just like ours.

I so long to be the kind of calm, earth-mother type who is happy with what G*d provides, trusting that all is right and will turn out according to some Divine plan. For the most part, I can get myself back into positive thinking quickly, if not always easily. But it would be lovely if those feelings just never came up to begin with.

Hello World!

So this is blogging!

As we approach another Chanukah, I thought it was time to add my own little candle to the void, guttering and pale as it is.

I hope this will be a place I can think out loud (with feedback?) about some of my not-so-orthodox views on lots of random things, from Torah, to my cat, to my art and my families (more connected than you might think).

Thanks for reading this, whoever you are!