© 2020 Drew T. Noll

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Words Within



Well, I guess I need to start this one with… the other day at work, I got to thinking…

Naw, that’s just not gonna work. You see, this story starts a little further back then that.

We went to Ephrat for Shabbat a couple of weekends ago. Ephrat is in the stachime (west bank) well, it is really about 10 minutes from Jerusalem so not really in the big bad territories if you know what I mean. My sister in law lives there with her husband Norman and her two sons Ben and Baruch. Both boys are in the Israeli army now and were home on leave for the weekend. They were completely bushed and slept most of the time so that left Norm and I to run through the much needed rain to Shul, pray, and most importantly talk about the prospect of living from the Torah. It was great… so, what about the line, ‘the other day at work you ask’?

You see, when I was davening Shabbat morning, towards the end of services, I noticed something very eye-opening for me. The Rabbi was a typical looking guy (Rabbi) with a long grey beard, piercing eyes, and a gentle smile. He was reading from a sefer (book) that when he said the name of Yitzchak (Issac) he would laugh in a very imperceptible way. I asked Norm about it later and he said that he didn’t notice. Could it just have been me? You see, in Hebrew, Yitzchak means laugh. When I asked Norm about the idea of taking in a word to such a deep level that every nuance of it resonates with the soul of the speaker he said that this is possible. He said that there are some very deep souls that when they lain (read) from the Torah, they do it so slowly that every word is absorbed and lived in the moment it is spoken.

So, of course, this thought lead me to an even deeper thought. Hashem created the Universe with only words. Words are the essence of everything. the Sages tell us that even Adam was able to name all the animals because he saw their names when he looked at them. What if we were to break down every single thing into its component atoms (no pun intended)… would there be words, linked together into small, little meanings, which then linked together into larger ideas, and finally ending with what we see around us? As I thought about this, my head spun and my stomach began to hurt. But I didn’t care; I kept probing deeper into this intoxicating idea.

What is a word anyways? Is it just ink on paper? Or maybe it is light and darkness in a computer screen? Words are not something that we can readily identify. They are something that enables us to communicate, but really are never the same to each person. We attach our own experiences and ideas to each word we hear. The Torah is made of words but when they are linked together in other ways besides in the pashute (simple) way, ideas are born and are grown to amazing levels. The Sages tell us that we all come to our lives with our own Torah. Not something physical, but something within us. It is the way that we extrapolate our environments and processes it through our very special and unique filter, which enables us to really move in life.

All that aside, I keep thinking about the Rabbi at the Bema, reading from a sefer and laughing from the core of his being when saying the word Yitzchak. To be in a state where the world could be a mass of entangled light and darkness, forming not only words but ideas in every minutia of every nuance of energy, would be so overwhelming that I might ask to be put into some kind of a physical shell and given some peace from it all. On the other hand, if I had the ability and the power, I might like to see and to live in that space of light and words, if only for a moment. Maybe I need to start painting again…

Lahetraote kulam.