The Ampersand & the Colon: One & the Same.

Next week, I will be giving a brief D’var Torah (a talk of the weekly Torah portion) at a meeting. In a beautiful synchronicity (as my father calls it), this Torah portion, Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27, happens to be the same as my Bat Mitzvah. Kedoshim means holy ones and it begins: “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your G-d, am holy.”

In another beautiful synchronicity, a week later, my ex-husband and I go into mediation over some legal matters. Later that week I will marry my 10th couple and a couple weeks after that, my-ex husband is getting remarried.

On the same day that I wrote the wedding ceremony, ampersands galore, I edited an addendum to our divorce decree, colons galore. Under the illusion of binding and boundaries, lies the same foundation: a yearning for certainty, to know that we are safe and protected by something more powerful than we perceive ourselves to be.

Humans need security, predictability, rules and constructs; it assuages the ache of knowing that we actually don’t have control and that there are no boundaries. We are connected and bound by a cosmic ampersand, impenetrable, unbreakable. Love exists and remains whether acknowledged or not, despite every effort to shelter oneself or one another from that reality.

The beautiful synchronicity of the opportunity to recite the same holy words that I chanted as a naïve 12 year old is that now they are no longer words and I am no longer naïve. I am being called to live them: “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your G-d am holy.”

Within Kedoshim resides the commandment that the great sage Hillel remarked: “This is the entire Torah, the rest is commentary”  – “Love your fellow as yourself.”

“Love your fellow as yourself.”

What else is there in life? If one is willing to do this, then justice, peace and truth become a reality.  

In the 26 years since I became Bat Mitzvah, I have loved and been loved. I have tried to un-love those that I once loved and attempted to deny their existence. I have opened my heart and I’ve tried to build a fortress around it, too.

And here’s what I’ve learned in the process: Love is love. Holy is holy. Love is holy and holy is love. They are one and the same, and they aren’t going anywhere. Our humanness will leave the holy, but the holy cannot be removed from our humanness, not while we are alive.

We can try to separate ourselves, but no matter what we do, no matter how many colons we try to ink between us and G-d and us and others, we are still in this together.

G-d resides in each one of us as we are and as long as the world remains, our universal holiness does, too. Un-loving is not possible, so the holiest thing we can do is love each other in the way we are asking and needing to be loved, and sometimes, that means writing an ampersand or a colon between us.

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