Saturday, June 11, 2005

96. In between

I knew no one who thought about God in this way. In fact, I had no idea what anyone thought about God; I didn't ask. I took great pains to avoid the issue. I never studied philosophy or theology, took part in 3AM discussions at college over pizza and beer about the meaning of life, or wondered why bad things happened to good people. They just did, whether I liked it or not. I got angry, momentarily; so this is what everyone meant, maybe even the Pope. Why didn't anyone tell me? Why didn't they do a better job of explaining? It would have been nice to know.

Years later I would learn that the Zohar, a Jewish mystical text, says that wherever God finds a minyan--a quorum, the ten people needed in order to have a prayer service-- God's presence is felt. "God appears most palpably in the spaces in between."* So it made sense that I would encounter these ideas in the company of others, and when I finally began to feel like I belonged among those others. Maybe God was standing next to us during the Amidah that morning--hey, pay attention. I'm here. I've always been here.

*From a d'var Torah by Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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