1. Leviticus: Sh’mini

Keeping kosher.  Eating with intention.  Living with intention.

We had to build a kosher bubble the other day.  I’d been doing so well, and reading Sh’mini was such good re-inspiration for keeping kosher for Passover.  Then we went to lunch and I ordered a fried fish sandwich without even thinking about it.  No intention whatsoever.  When it arrived I looked at it and realized that there was nothing on the plate that I could eat.  So we decided we needed a Passover bubble to get me through this one meal.  Probably not approved by the rabbinate, but 3 children and 2 adults were able to maintain intention even as I screwed up my original intention.

People wonder what the point of kashrut is.  I never have a good answer.  I don’t keep a kosher home, but I do appreciate the ideal of kashrut.  Intention is too often non-existent in our world.  I bought Michael Pollan’s Food Rules recently.  Maybe eating to save the body and the planet is easier for some people to digest than eating kosher for the sake of living with intention. 

My son taught me about living with intention (and made me really proud of myself as a parent).  He has been saving for a DSi for a few months.  He decided yesterday that he is not going to buy a DSi.  He is going to buy a book about sewing.  He thinks it will be more fun.  He’s 11!!!!! 

We talk often about life and creativity and the effect of our actions on us and others.  When he plays computer games for a long period of time he gets grumpy.  So I mention this when I see it.  Most of the time it seems to go in one ear and out the other.  But I gently continue to notice.  And encourage all of the creative activities that he loves.  My intent is to channel his thinking to the creative rather than the passive.  Little by little, intention is rewarded.

He no longer wants to bring video games along when we go somewhere.  When he does play video games they more often involve building or creating, rather than search and destroy.  And yesterday was the crowning glory.  He thinks a DSi is boring compared to sewing.

So my advice….live with intention, raise children with intention, eat with intention, love with intention.  Rewards are often the intention itself, but sometimes the reward is even more tangible.

1. Leviticus: Tsav

More directions, but these are for Aaron and his progeny and their ordination and so forth.  Directions and rules.  What to do, but not why to do it.  Other than because we are commanded.

I follow some of the commandments.  Not all of them.  Recently a woman told me that west coast Judaism is watered down, not real like east coast Judaism.  She said that the Judaism she finds out here is not spiritual.  It is too focused on tikkun olam and politics.

It’s passover.  One of the commandments that I follow is to refrain from eating leaven during passover.  I started many years ago.  Long before I had my children.  Before I ever joined a synagogue.  My daughter, who is a Jew to her core, eats leaven during passover.  She says that not eating leaven does not make her more or less a Jew.  Her diet doesn’t bring her closer to her beliefs or distance her from them.  She says that she is not a slave and not eating bread does not connect her with the slaves of our history.  None of her Jewish friends are eating bread this week.

It feels good to me to not eat leaven during passover.  Jews all over the world are not eating leaven.  Maybe the connection I feel is to those Jews.  The Jews who are doing the same as me at the same time that I am doing it.  We are doing something for no reason other than because we are supposed to do it.  There is no obvious purpose.  There is no obvious result or expected outcome.  It’s easy to do things that have an obvious purpose.  We drive on the right side of the road because if we drove wherever we wanted, we’d all end up in accidents.  So to stay safe we have rules that we follow.  But following a commandment that does not lead to an obvious result is not as easy and (for me) creates a connection to everyone else who is following the same commandment.

And it feels good.  That is good for my spirit.  It is spiritual.  I am spiritual.  I am a west coast Jew.  We are spiritual….if that is what we choose.