I don’t give up all too quickly.
I’m a firm believer in G-d, but I often struggle with Him.
I will continue to pray that my prayers be answered, and I look forward to knowing that they already have been.
I’ll just be over here taking deep breaths and eating chocolate.
Blog Post: 33/52
There are things I know
and so much I don’t.
I don’t know
why people kill people
or if we should have guns
I don’t know
how humans survive
the human condition.
I don’t know
why illness is prevalent
why hate is so strong
why people suffer.
I know that I want my children to
grow up with that knowledge,
for it makes one humble.
This poem is a journey through Shmoneh Esrei, the Amidah, in my daily morning prayer. It’s about connection, it’s about distraction, it’s about trying. Open up your siddur – follow along.
Three steps backward,
Three steps forward.
the same G-d that Avraham spoke to,
He’s listening to me.
The ones we don’t see.
for it to get to His throne?
Not even you.
It was just another day in heaven, and a collection of angels had joined G-d in the human production wing for their day’s work. G-d was carefully putting together the day’s newest soul to join the world and laying down the final touches that the soul would now need during its time on earth.
The angels worked quickly and silently, passing G-d each tool and gift He required.
“Can you pass me the Free Choice from that shelf?”
The angels responded with a deep silence.
None of them made any move towards the shelves.
G-d looked up, His displeasure clear on His expression, “is something wrong?”
The angels all looked uneasily at each other. Finally, one, who had a reputation for bravery in the face of holier beings, cleared her throat and stepped forward.
“My Majesty, forgive me for being so out of line, but we have been watching earth and we can’t help but weep at what we see. Would it be so terrible to remove Free Choice from the human species? They are constantly making the wrong choices. The world is falling apart at the seams,” she looked around at her fellow angels for support “and we remember, we were there when you sewed each stitch so carefully.”
G-d turned His face away, and when He looked back, the angels were shocked to see tears falling from their King, who usually reserved His tears for when He was in His most hidden chambers.
The angels eyed each other, suddenly awkward and uncomfortable.
“I’m so sorry, that was so uncalled for,” stammered the angel who had spoken up, now seriously considering disappearing.
“No,” G-d spoke finally, a voice heavy with emotion “you speak the truth.”
The angels let out the collective breath they had been holding, though still unsure of what to do.
They hovered quietly, waiting to see what G-d’s next instructions would be.
“I know that you find yourself disappointed with the human kind.” He started slowly.
They all nodded, slightly ashamed. They all remembered each tireless fight between the angels and G-d, always born out of this sensitive topic. G-d always took the side of His people.
With a sigh, G-d opened the door to the human production wing, and the angels knew He wanted them to follow. They swept along the halls, following their King to the other side of heaven, where the Earth Observation wing was.
As the door slid open, the angels inside gaped at who stood in the door. G-d rarely stepped foot inside this wing, being that He was all-knowing and all-seeing and did not require the extra assistance that the angels needed.
They immediately moved out of the way, allowing access to all of the controls. G-d waited until all the angels had gathered.
Angels in the middle of other ethereal tasks noticed the commotion as they moved past, and gathered at the edges of the wing as well.
“I will allow a short break in our tasks because I feel that this is of utmost importance to discuss before we can carry on,” G-d announced.
Curious, the angel’s inched closer.
“I have been alerted to the fact that there is some dislike for the continued use of Free Choice for the human species.”
The angels that had just been pushing to get closer cringed and moved back. They looked around accusingly, trying to spot the angel that had sprung the leak.
“Everyone in this universe is my creation. Including all of you. It would do you well to complete each of your tasks and leave earth and it’s people to Me. But, because you have been discussing this amongst yourselves, I find that I cannot go about creating more humans before I clear this up.”
With that, G-d turned to the controls and began moving things around. The angels watched, nervously, as scenes unfolded before them.
Quickly, scene after scene unfolded of members of the human species, men, women, and children, making choices with their Free Choice privilege.
They watched as a father sat in his New York office, making the decision to sacrifice a promotion to be able to spend more time with his family. They watched as a child, three dollars held tightly in her chubby fist, made the choice between a new toy and charity, gifting the three dollars to a homeless man on the street.
They watched a mother gently discipline her child, despite how easy it would be to give in to his whims.
They watched as humans of all kinds across the earth continuously made the right choices, and as each time, that small part of the world was lit up with a joy and light so deep and warm, the angels could feel it all the way back up in heaven.
After a few minutes, G-d turned back to the angels, who stood, all smiling, much more relaxed. A chorus of “we are so sorry, of course, You’re right.” came from the crowd.
One voice stood out.
The angels all stared at the angel who dared to differ.
The angel strode forward, her fellow angels recognizing her as the one who had spoken up in the first place.
They all eyed G-d, unsure of His reaction. He moved back, allowing her access to the controls.
She moved some things around and suddenly the room was filled with horrible images of mass murder, greed, and human cruelty.
The angels gasped, cowering.
“How can this be ignored?” the angel turned to her friends “We were only shown the images of the humans making the right choices – but what about when they make the wrong decisions? How can we allow them to destroy the gift they have been given? They are mindless idiots, making foolish, cruel decisions!”
“Stop!” roared G-d.
The angels stared at G-d, begging for an explanation. An answer. He only responded with deep, broken sobs.
Through His tears, G-d maneuvered the scenes again and the angels watched as two scenes unfolded before them.
They were the same scenes, but it was immediately obvious to the angels that in one scene, the human had Free Choice, and in the other, he did not.
In the scene lacking Free Choice, the human did not spend time wondering what to do. He did not even eye the wrong choice, or give it a moments thought. He efficiently and painlessly did the right thing and quickly moved on. Sparks flew, and the world warmed slightly from the good deed.
The angels sighed in contentment as they watched. What a beautiful, safe world it would be when Free Choice was no longer an option.
The room full of angels moved their attention to the scene with the human gifted with Free Choice. They watched as the human sat, making the decision. He made lists, and wandered far, seeking the counsel of others. Tears were shed, and a deep pain was felt in the midst of the indecision. The struggle seemed to be tearing the human apart.
“See!” cried out the courageous angel “Look at the pain of the human, a pain that would not exist without Free Choice.”
“Quiet!” roared G-d, anger flashing in His eyes.
The angels watched, breath held, as the human contemplated, and thought, and grew as he made the decision.
Finally, the human made the right choice.
The observation room exploded with applause, great big smiles spreading across the angels.
They watched as the world was engulfed in a spiritual fire that reached all four corners of the world, embracing all of mankind and refining the earth as a whole.
The room was silent again, for even the once courageous angel felt foolish now.
The difference between the two scenes was laughable.
G-d looked closely at each angel “Do you see now?”
They all nodded, quite humbled.
“There will be pain. There will be hurt. They will make the wrong choices. I created them – I knew that they would mess up.” Each angel felt as if G-d was speaking to them alone as He looked around the room “But how can we have a world in which no true decisions must be made? I can create a world as holy and pure as I want, but as soon as I wrote humankind into the script, I gave them the power to create a world that is holier and more beautiful than I ever could do alone. Yes, the path is filled with blood and tears. It hurts terribly each time they choose evil over good.”
Some of the more sensitive angels began to cry.
“Remember,” G-d said gently “they are doing the work that none of us could do. And as painful as it is for us, the pain for them is double. They are bringing the world to its ultimate completion.”
The angels wiped their tears, thoroughly chastised and humbled.
“Now, back to work!” G-d instructed, sending angels flying back to their stations.
As they filed back into the human production wing, the angels dared not speak. G-d took His place again at the table.
“Now, let us try this again. Can I have the Free Choice?”
The angels all clamored to be the one to pass it over. After much ado, it finally made its way to G-d.
He smiled kindly and placed it inside the soul.
He then gently wrapped the soul in its protective garments that would keep it intact for its tumultuous journey on earth. He placed it carefully in the arms of the angel handpicked to accompany the soul.
G-d leaned forward, and lay a soft kiss on the soul and whispered:
“My pure, darling soul…make the right choices.”
Blog Post: 5/52
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash