July 11, 2004

Feeling the Heat

Shabbat (Saturday) morning: I'm fixing an errant corner of the sheet that has popped off the end of the mattress when I realize the music of the fan has stopped, turn about to see that I have knocked the plug out of the wall.

I look at my husband and my husband looks at me. It is hot and dry where we are and I fan makes all the difference in the world. What is there to do? The room is already getting warm, and by the time afternoon hits one may as well turn the oven on and pop into that.

And in the afternoon we will want to nap.

Everything isn't lost of course; there is till a child's room or the living room, but I like my bed, my pillow, with the stack of books piled behind me; and I start to think about the earlier post I wrote and a comment I posted on another blog.

It would be so easy to just plug the fan in. My room would be nice and cool again, and hey, it really doesn't feel like work, and it would make the day of rest so much easier.

But I wouldn't do it.

Just like I won't take even a sip of water on a fast day, unless it was necessary for my health. Or eat milk right after meat or do many such things.

It all comes down to belief; that there is a reason for my being, and that reason is G-d, and there is a way of being, and that way was set down by G-d, and there is something my soul thirsts for, something my soul desires, more a sip of water when I'm thirsty or the cool breeze of a fan; the thirst, the desire, is to do the laws of the Torah, to follow the commands, even when I don't understand them all or my conscious mind, my body wants to do something else.

And that is why I feel unhappy with myself when these things matter to me more than the mitzvot (commandments) do; in a way, what has happened is I have disconnected myself from that very important aspect of myself, my soul. I am 46 years old and it bothers me that I am still at such a childlike level in life that all I can think of is what the body wants. I don't want to deny the needs and wants of my body, but I wish they were subordinate to the needs of the soul.

Yet on a fast days what goes round and round my head is how uncomfortable the body is, not how sad or repentent the sould is. I've subordinated the soul to the body. I think of "when will the fast end? How many more hours?" Not that Jerusalem was lost, that we no longer have the Temple built and are at constant war with our neighbors. Not, on Yom Kippur, about how I am being judged, how I am right before G-d. No, it is the body that gets most of my attention, and that is something I wish I could change in myself.

The body passes, the soul endures. I should be using my body for the sake of my soul.

I do try; but I haven't reached that place in life yet.

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