Kinah 13 – Script or Writer

Jul 15th, 2013 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Relationships
Remember what Chardin told us at the Salon: “Gentlemen, gentlemen, be lenient. Look through all the paintings here and find the worst, and know that two thousand poor devils have bitten their brushes to pieces in despair of ever doing as badly. You all call Parrocel a dauber, and so he is, if you compare him with Verner, but he’s a rare talent compared with the multitude of those who’ve abandoned the career they entered with him.

Le Moyne used to say that it took thirty years’ practice to be able to turn one’s original sketch into a painting, and Le Moyne was no fool. If you’ll listen to what I say, perhaps you’ll learn to be indulgent.” [Denis Diderot, The Salons]

In this Tisha b’Av Kinah – Lamentation, (The Oakling and the Oak, Just So, Clarity, & Kah), we ask God, “Where is the promise You made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” I can hear the unspoken challenge to the question: “Who are you to compare yourselves to the Patriarchs? Are you not the ones who forfeit the connection to their merit? (See, “Kinah 26: Growing Old.”)

In “The Oakling and the Oak,” we began discussing the challenge of living with great parents, and the dangers of comparing ourselves to them, and in “Kinah 4 – Salieri & Mozart,” and, “The Hovering Life,” we wondered about the impact of the competition between Samaria and Jerusalem had on both populations. Diderot’s report reminds us to be patient when judging good artists who fail to match the great ones. How are we to ask where is Your promise to the Patriarchs in our lives? Where was it at each stage of our suffering? Are we, as Chardin advises, asking God to indulge us and be lenient? Or, are we really asking for the same promise made to Abraham?

In “Kinah 7 – Above The Stars” we explained the essence of God’s promise to Abraham as, “Hashem will acknowledge Abraham’s descendants’ accomplishments and give them the means to raise themselves up above the stars and create their own reality.” The words, “Koah y’hiyeh zaracha,” “so shall your children be,” means, “They will be Koh, just like you, and have the ability to rise above their destiny and create new destinies for themselves.” We are asking, “Where is that promise?” Perhaps, we are not asking God, but ourselves, “Are we even striving to live above the stars, creating new destinies?”

This Kinah – Lamentation is the reverse image of Kinah 3, which describes people limited by an imposed destiny – people who cease to use their Free Choice – a natural consequence of experiencing the destruction and suffering the exile.

Are we following a prewritten script, or, are we scriptwriters? Are we stuck where we were in Kinah 3, or have we accepted the challenge of living as Koh, as Abrahams who write their own script and change the world?

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