Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Video of Train Running Through A Tornado and G-d loves us through the details

What About Having to Face Daily Challenges?

A middle aged man who had a consistently sad look on his face attended a class on happiness. He challenged the Rabbi who spoke about being grateful for the good in our lives, "That's fine and well for younger people who have hope for a good life of abundance and accomplishment. They have a lot to look forward to. They have their health and have the energy to accomplish. But what about someone whose life is closer to the end than to the beginning? What about a person who faces daily challenges?"
"How have you developed as a person from the difficulties that you've experience in life? How have you developed into a more mature person and a deeper thinker because of your challenges? How have you gained from what you've experienced that you wouldn't have gained if you were to have an easy life of leisure?"
The person went on to say that his intellectual understanding of the purpose of life is much more profound and comprehensive than if he would have had an easy life. He has gained much wisdom from his life experiences. He has realized strongly that our purpose in life is not just to live a superficial life of pleasure. Life has a spiritual dimension that is really the purpose of our lives.
"Are you grateful for having gained this wisdom and depth?"
"I certainly am," he replied.
"That is what is meant by being grateful for challenges. It's not that you wanted to suffer. But that you are grateful for what you've gained spiritually and intellectually."
"This does make sense to me," the man acknowledged.

Speaking of challenges enjoy the challenge this train faces and finding spirituality in G-d's love for us through the details.

Love Yehuda Lave

Train Running Through A Tornado
Here is something you do not see too often.

Trains nowadays mount cameras in their cabs, facing forward and backward, the same way police cars do.
This video is a rearview camera.  This is video of a train that ran through a tornado.

First there is the normal rearview from the last of three engines, with the trees looking normal.
  Then you begin to see rain, and then, halfway through the video the trees begin to sway violently . . . and then the "fun" begins.
Click on this:


God Is in the Details

Why do Jews obsess about details, and why do we need so many mitzvot anyway?

by Miriam Kosman

So much of Judaism and the philosophy of the mitzvot (commandments) sounds wonderful, but when you try to take it home, a thousand little threads of details threaten to choke you. Why are Jews always obsessing about details? And why do we need so many mitzvot?
The mitzvot are not just about earning a good place Up There. They are not just about being good or holy. They are not even just about having a meaningful life in this world. God tells us clearly why He took us out of Egypt and brought us to Mt. Sinai: “You have seen what I did to Egypt and that I carried you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me. And… you will be a treasure to Me from among all the peoples” (Exodus 19:4-5).
God took us out of Egypt in order to bring us to Him – to be close to Him. He took us out because He wanted us to enter into a relationship of love with Him.
God took us out of Egypt to enter into a relationship of love with Him.
Maimonides compares the love of God to the all-consuming love of a love-sick man for his beloved. “He thinks of her constantly: when he rests and when he gets up, when he eats and when he drinks. More than this should be the love of man for his Creator.”
The love Maimonides described is so all encompassing that one wonders what the words “more than this” add? How can one possibly love more than what is described?
There is an intrinsic problem with human love. Life goes on, and sitting around gazing forever into one another’s eyes is not an option. The love-sick man goes to work and comes home. And despite the fact that he is busy with a million things, he still thinks about his beloved.
But what if all the things a person had to do – the laundry and the child care, the business and the shopping – were not in contradiction to the relationship but an expression of it? What if we went to work not despite our love but because of it? A relationship with God means that every aspect of life is about this relationship: the work and the play, the running and the doing. Every single action carries within it the potential to be an expression of our Godly nature and of this all-encompassing bond.
Yet, though our souls may want closeness with God, our physical selves want to run in the other direction. How can we lowly, petty, selfish human beings possibly forge a relationship with the Source of All Good? Maimonides tells us that the many details are there only in order to refine us. It is the details that take us through a process that is meant to turn us into a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation."
Ideas fade; inspiration dissipates. It is the details that harness the ephemeral concepts to reality. More, it is the details which harness us to the ideal. Every small action shaves away at our base nature and clarifies the soul hiding underneath. Slowly, but surely, the details cast us in the mold of God's nation.

I Care, Therefore I Love

In fact, it is the details that engage the whole of us in the relationship. In the beautiful classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the little prince stands before a garden of roses and tells the roses the difference between them and his own beloved rose:
“You are beautiful, but you are empty. One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you – the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone, she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses; because it is she that I have watered, because it is she that I have put under a glass globe, because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars…Because she is my rose.”
In an interesting dynamic, it is the details of the caring that create the love. Once committed to the relationship, the endless details are not irrelevant, irritating nitpicking that complicates our lives. They are the threads that bind us together.
Judith Viorst, the famous children’s writer, is quoted as saying that marriage is a useful institution, because “when you fall out of love… [marriage] keeps you together until maybe you fall in love again.”
The commitment to the intricacies of Judaism keeps us connected even when we feel distant from Him.
Like the commitment of marriage, the commitment to the intricacies of Judaism keeps us connected even when, with the ebb and flow of life, we feel distant from Him. With that commitment, there is always something to go back to.

Does It Work?

A relative of mine was in the airport when someone asked him why Jews wear that “beanie” on their heads. He explained that wearing something on one’s head creates awareness that there is Someone above us and that that awareness, in turn, influences our actions. The man chewed this over for a minute, then asked, “Does it work?”
Well does it? Does this framework of details really engage us in a close, passionate relationship with God? Does it really change us?
The reality is that, as dynamic human beings, our feelings of connection fluctuate. Sometimes God feels like a solid Presence in our lives, and sometimes we wonder where He is. Sometimes our Judaism feels relevant and purposeful – sometimes we would rather slither out from under that thousands-of- years-old burden and forget the whole thing.
But when God gave us 613 commandments, He was asking us to move into a relationship with Him and to become the kind of people that He can have a relationship with. He doesn’t want us only on Sundays. He doesn’t want us only when we are in the mood. He took us out of Egypt and brought us to Sinai because He wants us with Him always, in a relationship of love, where our closeness to Him is reflected in all of our actions

Perhaps the answer to the man in the airport is yes, it does work. Despite the ups and downs, it is the unrelenting totality of the framework that never lets us stray too far. It is bringing the beautiful ideals right down into the nitty-gritty of our lives that bring those ideals to life.
On Pesach Passover we celebrate the invitation that a slave nation received, when God reached out and invited us into a committed relationship. The thousands of details that surround so many of our actions become the threads that do not choke but rather bind us to God in everlasting love.

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