Sara Jacobovici – Beginning a New Year, when “I” becomes “We”
I hate starting any work with the word “I”, yet this story is about the process that “I” have been going through in my “I”dentity journey. Although my journey has been ongoing, it isn’t unusual during this season to take “account” of where I am along the way.
I am a metaphor junkie and I am a “certified” tree hugger*. So learning about the process of life in nature and using what I have learned as metaphors to connect with my individual life process is not a stretch. We are, after all, organic, biological units and I am, as is every life form on earth (above and below), made up of the same “stuff” and respond and adapt with the same mechanisms. Of course, my being human means that I have some different or additional aspects inherent to my species compared to others. Also, there are other life forms that have “abilities” which I do not have, but then we humans have ways available to create, adapt and copy. For example, scientists developed echo/sonar location from understanding how bats see in the dark.
The metaphor of the tree has always been a particularly important one for me throughout my life. So it has been wonderful to see it appear in all aspects of communication, in both the arts and sciences. How the tree appears “from the beginning” and throughout the Tanach is also a rich source of my learning and connecting with this life form.
Fast forward to my current community of social media; it’s great! I am having a lot of fun and am literally grateful for the opportunity to have access to the information “out there” and to the thoughts, ideas and knowledge of a diverse group of people across the world. Because of social media, however, my experience of time and space has been shifting. One example is how this relates to my experiences of synchronicity.
I don’t take things for granted and I am “open to signs” that connect and are meaningful. I see all this as part of the flow of nature.
So here I am on one of my social media groups spending the last few weeks reading and exchanging information about the nature of trees and the parallels with the nature of human beings at the same time as I am being introspective about my “where am I” process. Cyberspace sent me a couple of messages.
- On beBee Ali Anani writes:
“The trees have many stories to tell. Their conflicts, their strategies to cope with challenges, their self-healing, their pride, their longevity and long experiences and their coexistence provide golden opportunities to learn more from them. I look forward to your joining me on this challenging journey.”
- On my email, I receive this Rabbi Nachman quote:
“Know that there is a tree, and leaves grow upon it. Every single leaf takes one hundred years to develop. Presumably, during those hundred years the tree has to go through all kinds of ups and downs. But at the end of those hundred years, the tree bursts into bloom like a cannon going off. The parallel is obvious…”
The way I am connecting the dots is the following:
My “I” is anciently rooted but growing and thriving in my present ground. I don’t need to “let go” of my past in order to be in the present and look forward to the future. “I” exist in a relationship with myself, others and my world. Everything I do comes from and goes into this relationship.
On Shabbat we are instructed to “remember” this day and to make it holy. I always connected the memory part to the fact that after six days of creation Hashem ceases to create allowing “nature to take its course”. Hashem does not interfere, create or destroy what Hashem has already done in the previous days. This is what I try to do when I am conscious of Shabbat as a day when I need to cease to interfere and allow what is to be and what is not, not to be. It is humbling in the sense that “the world can go on without me” and frightening because I stop to look at what I did over the last six days and take account, take responsibility. In this way, it isn’t a coincidence that Yom Kippur is called the Shabbat of Shabbats in the Torah (Leviticus 16:31, 23:32).
Yom Kippur is the day when the “I” becomes the “we” (the word used in the services of Yom Kippur). It is almost as if the Yakov in me has been wrestling with the angel all year and hopefully has won and, on Yom Kippur, has become Israel.
Wishing us all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!