Sunday, December 03, 2006

414. Snore, part 2


The next part of class was study in hevruta (learning pairs) with whomever was sitting to the right. With some horror, I realized that the snoring woman, once she woke up, would be my partner. We were given a text by Rami Shapiro; each of us would comment on it for five minutes as the other listened without interruption, an exercise in being present as much as in exegesis. I began, and she paid rapt attention. Then it was her turn. She didn't talk about the text, although did speak in English, so theoretically I should have understood. I did not. I recall something about the difference between Jews and Christians and why Muslims don't eat meat, but basically she made no sense at all. Time seemed to slow down like in the Star Trek episode, and her voice droned on and on like a car alarm at dawn with no one yet awake to shut it off.

I tried to be mindful and meditative, to live in the moment and remember that all life was a miracle, but just wanted to punch her in the mouth.

I don't know this woman at all; I'm sure she's a good person. I guess I'm not. On the bright side, yesterday at services the rabbi spoke of Jacob's transformation from a wimpy guy who hated the outdoors into a man of strength and deep emotion just like his brother. So when he said to Isaac, "It's me, Esau!" he wasn't lying. He had matured enough to recognize and assert that other, earthier side of himself. (Which, added the rabbi, was why he and Esau would be able to reconcile in next week's parasha.) Maybe God will consider my evil intentions as a marker of growth and continuing character development, rather than adding to my column of lashon hara demerits. Yeah, right.


Rachel said...

Oh, this story makes me chuckle. I am often caught between the side of me which wants to see everything as a miracle, and the side of me which doesn't suffer fools gladly. *grin*

Lovely drash on Jacob and Esau, btw. I like that a lot.

alto artist said...

The rabbi gave a brilliant (as usual) d'var Torah about this, citing multiple appearances of the words "in the field" as a marker of Jacob's development and quoting the Mei Hashiloah and the Netziv. (If only the snoring woman had spoken at this level, alas, I would still be a good person...)

Mata H said...

I am smiling here -- it is almost iconic --"The Snoring Woman" -- a symbol of all that gets us off our tracks. I imagine a conversation in which someone says "I would have finished XXX, but I had to deal with The Snoring Woman." and the response is "Ah, yes, I understand those occasions quite well."

So maybe she was actually a visiting archetype :-)