Monday, April 13, 2015

#BlogBOmer: Gevurah B'Gevurah

By the time I write this, I'll be caught up [I usually write my posts during the day of the Omer and so while technically it's the NEXT day of the Omer already; this goes out to Day #9: Gevurah B'Gevurah or Discipline & Restraint in the area of Discipline & Restraint. I've been thinking about people who are SUPER disciplined in their lives and so this one is inspired by and dedicated to my former and forever teacher: Jon K.

100% stolen from Facebook (Photo Cred: JOFA)
When I first started my time at Drisha Institute, I was asked to participate in a summer program to get myself better prepared for my year-long studies as a Yesodot [anyone remember this word? Yesod? Foundation!] student. From my first day wearing a sleeveless shirt [1. It was 100 degrees, 2. I never did it again], I realized that I was an odd-ball in the yeshiva: a Reform Jewish woman who had no real experience learning Jewish texts but who had a weird knack for language and a huge affinity for accepting challenges. 

Jon took this all in stride. As my Talmud teacher, he pushed me to work hard, appreciating my tables for decoding my tractate pages, color-coded notes, and lists of most-used Aramaic words. He was supportive of my inability to sit still during afternoon lectures and let me doodle or stand or leave and come back, as long as I was proving that my mind was still on the work. If we argued over perspectives or views, he explained patiently (and maybe laughed quietly when I stubbornly refused to give way). When it came to my second summer at Drisha, I studied hard.

Surprisingly I tested into an intermediate Drisha level and into Jon's full-time morning Talmud class. Morning classes were easier for me to sit through because they were split into three different timed sessions. Regardless, Jon pushed me again to work hard, to make sure that I earned my place in the intermediate level. He often quoted the ideal that we should repeat a tractate 101 times in order to make sure we really understood it. He challenged us to memorize Mishnah tractates (I sang mine to the tune of the Can-can). His discipline was one of love and caring (back to chesed) for us and for Torah...but also one of realizing the importance of the discipline in studying Torah, Talmud, and Halacha. 

While I may not have opened a Hebrew book in a minute or so, I hope Jon would be happy to know that my mishnayot and Talmuds came out to Oregon with me...and at some point, I will work again on remembering Aramaic, studying words, and decoding. Discipline doesn't have to be a negative word; it just means sticking to your commitments and putting your best efforts forward.

And as a farewell for this post to Jon--an appropriate:


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