Rabbi Lawrence Kushner was recently interviewed and discussed how, as a culture, we are rediscovering mysticism in our faith again. During the interview, he offered an insight into the power of our scriptures.
I was leading a tour of the sanctuary, the prayer hall, with the children of the congregation’s pre-school. And then I figured, as a pièce de résistance, I have them come up to the bin more, the little prayer stage in the front of the room, where there is an arc where we keep a scroll of the Torah, which was accessible through a floor to ceiling curtain. I got them up on the stage and I was about to open the arc when I saw the teacher tapping her wrist watch, which, as you may know, is an old Talmudic gesture which means “Your time is about up, Bucko.”
So, I said, “I’ll tell you what, boys and girls, we’ll come back when we get together in a couple weeks and I am going to open the curtain there and show you what is behind it. It is very special.”
So they all say “Shalom, Rabbi” and like little ducklings, they all followed the teacher back to the classroom.
The next day, the teacher shows up in my office with the following story. Apparently, the preceding days’ hastily concluded lesson has occasioned a fierce debate among the little people as to what was behind the curtain – they didn’t know.
The following four answers are given, which I think is pretty interesting.
One kid, obviously destined to become a professor of nihilistic philosophy at a great university, opined that behind the curtain was absolutely nothing.
Another kid, less imaginative, thought it had a Jewish holy thing in there.
A third, obviously a devotee of American game show television sub-culture, guessed that behind that curtain was a brand new car.
And the fourth kid said that you’re all wrong. Next week, when that Rabbi man comes and opens that curtain, behind it there will be a giant mirror.
… From a four-year-old! Somehow, that little soul knew, that through looking at the words of sacred scripture, he would encounter himself in a new and heightened and revealing way.
I have recently embraced telling the stories of the Old and New Testament recently. The stories of creation; Passover and Moses’s calling and escape from Egypt; Jesus’s healings; His parables, especially of the Lost Coin, Sheep, and Son; and of His Passion and Resurrection of our Lord.
As Lent morphs into Holy Week, these are the richest of times of our stories being told, recreated, and told anew. Seek to encounter yourself in a new and heightened and revealing way.