Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mimi, get real.

By Mimi Hecht

[These Shavuot thoughts were adapted from an article I wrote in 2008]

Honestly, was my soul really at Mount Sinai? 

To say that my soul was present at the giving of the Torah is a preposterous claim. It’s a really nice-sounding idea, certainly poetic. But let’s get real. Doesn’t it just sound like something said to soothe a nation that feels distant from the most pivotal and defining moment of our nation?

It’s like saying, “Oh, don’t worry, you were there, too.”

I guess I just don’t see the relevance. Why is this remotely important? Surely I can believe in and relate to something that occurred without having to think that my soul was there. I mean, that’s what every other story is like, no?

Apparently, understanding that my soul experienced the giving of the Torah is supposed to have an affect on my daily life. I never allow myself to be antagonistic or skeptical for too long. So, I'm trying to look deeper. To see what this all means. To me.

If I'm honest, I cant deny that every now and then, my body is home to a soul that experienced something grand.

Even just acknowledging that is somewhat painful. It’s like there’s something…

[ Sigh ]

It’s like there’s something truer than the air I'm breathing but I just can’t grasp it.

Yes, it’s like a …like a distant memory.

My soul is constantly telling me that it has experienced something huge and momentous and defining and true. And my whole life, and more and more recently, I am trying to hear it out. There’s no denying that my soul has been through something that I need to catch up with. I am lucky to hear its whispers every now and then. It’s my soul’s voice that tells me, “Mimi, you’ve seen more. You know more. You can be more.”

If I were to accept that my soul really was at Mt. Sinai, it would explain a lot.

It would explain all those moments that no one knows about, those moments where I cry because I want to get back to where things were, to the way things should be. Those moments when someone says something so true, and my body becomes a cave, hiding a tornado of yearnings ready to take flight…but often never do. It would explain all those times that I feel a giant flutter when I am put in a tight space, when I'm threatened and forced with strength. 
It’s like something inside of me is set afire and I’m like, “Oh, gosh, what am I going to do with this burning soul of mine? Whatever will I do?”

Even just thinking about it now, it’s becoming clear. My whole life, my soul has been telling me, “Mimi, you were there. Truuuust me.”

And for the most part, I have. Various decisions on a winding path have led me to pursue truths that I, deep down, consider to be most aligned with what my soul might have experienced thousand of years ago, at the foot of a humble mountain. So, I can’t keep denying the facts. Perhaps my inability to wholeheartedly believe that my soul was at Sinai is really just proof that my soul and I need serious relationship counseling.

If my soul saw the giving of the Torah, I really give it credit. Living in my body, it’s confronted 26 years of what must be terrible toil, persecution and unbearable numbness. And through it all, it still always comes up for air, kicking and pounding and screaming and saying, “Mimi, please look at me. Let me tell you what I saw.”

And as hard as it may be to catch up, I take solace in knowing that my soul lives to have unity with me. And I want to try harder. I really do. I can’t keep victimizing my soul. She deserves better.

So, yes, let’s get real, Mimi.

This Shavuos, I thank my soul for showing up 3,324 years ago. I’m really happy it was there. Because if it wasn’t, who knows where I’d be. This Shavuos, I ask G-d  to help me respond to the voice inside. To help all my senses understand and become one with the voice within that, thousands of years ago, said “I will do, and I will listen.”

And now for some Shavuot-relevant lyrics from God by our "biblegum pop" duo Stereo Sinai!

6 LadyMama voices:

Fashion-isha said... [Reply to comment]

Perfect! I was starting to think that Shavuos (and all Jewish holidays for that matter) were about how many more side dishes, appetizers..whatever... you can make than your neighbors and how much more stressed out you are about the food. THANK YOU for clarifying.

Meems said... [Reply to comment]

As a convert to Judaism (37 yrs ago), it matters to me a lot to subscribe to the mystical idea of every soul that ever was or would be Jewish being present at Sinai.

Meems said... [Reply to comment]

As a convert to Judaism (37 yrs ago), the mystical idea that every soul that ever was or would be Jewish was present at Sinai is sort of important to me.

Shayna said... [Reply to comment]

another convert here (15 years next week iyH) ... its a pivotal concept... its the only way to explain why I felt I had to do something that was a irreversible and ginormous change- a change that wasnt logical (even the Judaism I was accepting said I didnt HAVE to do it, unlike other religions which proselytize) ... but I felt.that I couldnt live any more as someone I wasnt, that part of me was missing- the part that was THERE...its wild stuff... we should all appreciate our souls a little more... git yom tov all:-)

Meems said... [Reply to comment]

Mazal tov,Shayna. My JDate is Erev Khanike. The idea of standing at Sinai is a very powerful manifestation of Anachnu Echad. I love Shavuot; you don't have to fast, clean, or build anything.

Sina @ the kosher spoon said... [Reply to comment]

Nice Mimi. I love how you brought your personal experience into this and It's definitely something I relate to. Beautifully written. Chag sameach!