from Avot d'Rabbi Natan:
"Rabbi Akiva was 40 years old and he had not studied a thing. One time he stood by the mouth of the well. 'Who hollowed out this stone?' he wondered. He was told, 'It is the water which falls upon it every day, continually.' It was said to him, 'Akiva, have you not heard the text, "The waters wear away the stones? (Job 14.19)?"
Therefore Rabbi Akiva drew the inference with regard to himself: 'If what is soft wears down the hard, all the more shall the words of Torah, which are as hard as iron, hollow out my heart, which is flesh and blood!' Immediately he turned to the study of Torah."
So it goes, at least as far as my own mind is concerned.
This week I was inundated as usual with email listings from every "cool" Jewish initiative imaginable, including one which promised its readers to be a "multi-media magnet for the young, urban and influential." Well, there's your Waterloo, Andy, I told myself. You're certainly no longer that.
So in the spirit of the Omer I have dressed down the blog, renamed it, put up a picture I shot with my phone while out visiting my mom in April--that's a wave over rocks on the shore of Lake Michigan, at Lake Park beach in Whitefish Bay, a favored spot. There is something that has rushed over me these past several months--I'm not yet fully sure what it is. It could be the beginning of my second, three year contract at Beth Elohim; it could be Mom's cancer; it could be the usual wear and tear of age, which, with each passing moment at a certain point in time, becomes something one actually notices on a daily basis; or, it could be that gnawing sense of reality that despite the promised immediacy and relevancy of the "young, urban and influential" who one literally trips over on the sidewalk these days in Brooklyn, mostly because they're lost in the reverie of ephemeral conversations and twits on hand-held devices, promising nothing less than the total rehabilitation of society as we know it--that gnawing sense of reality that the world will only be fixed one moment at a time.
So I've settled in. To water. Which falls upon it: You, me, us, them, these, those. Every day.