Love and Awe

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Tonight, ט״ז אייר תשע״ט, known in the default world as May 20 (after sunset), 2019, Ariel received smicha and was ordained as a rabbi, along with her 13 classmates. The moment they took their first step on the Earth as rabbis, 300 generations of our ancestors rejoiced in the World to Come at the great tikkun (repair) that had been made in This World.

To say I am “proud” of her would lack the appropriate degree of Love (אהבה) and Awe (יראה) commanded by this occasion. Better to say that I am honored by her. Ariel has completed the formal process of learning the history, language, texts, logic, law, and ritual transmitted from ancient times to the Jewish people of today by the rabbis who came before her. She is now empowered as an author of this wisdom tradition. This enhances the power she already possessed as a channel into other human beings for the Divine Presence. I am filled with אהבה and יראה for her earthly presence.

The path to the rabbinate has not been easy for Ariel and her cohort. At times it has been hard for them to make meaningful connections between the old ways — and the institutions formed by those ways — and the new world in which they walk. It is always a strange time to be a Jew in the world, and these people feel in their bones the particular strangenesses of their time. This is why I am so thrilled for Judaism and the world that these people are rabbis. Few of us are equipped for the strangeness of our times. Rabbis equip us.

From the inside, close to the books, I know it was sometimes hard to see the importance of the work. But I was there — close enough, not too close — to see the glow of the Holy Blessed One upon their faces as they learned, and I assure you, the world is gaining 14 leaders blessed with Wisdom (חכמה) and Understanding (בינה), who will bless us all in turn.

My wife is a rabbi. Ariel, you did it! You made it to the beginning! Your choice to follow the path you were chosen to take was the wisest you have made. (Marrying you was the wisest I’ve made.) Thank you for your Torah. Through you speaks the voice of the Ancient of Days.