Friday, October 27, 2017

The Game of Go

The purpose of this blog is to add a nugget of inspiration to the Friday night dinner table
Dedicated by Lily Kanter and Marc Sarosi to the memory of Yermiyahu Matan (Jeremy Dossetter), alav hashalom.

JeremyJeremy is the young man I wrote about last week who disappeared into the warm waters of Molokai.

Hundreds attended Shiva at his family's San Francisco home this week, all feeling the same thing — how can there be comfort for losing a son and brother?

Even more so when you can't have a funeral.

If you had met Jeremy, I know that you would have loved him.

I know that because everyone loved him. There was absolutely nothing about him not to like.

No trace of anger, impatience, laziness, jealousy, gluttony, greed, pride or vanity.

He was calm but passionate about life and everything he did. He seized the day.

One of his emerging passions was the weekly pursuit of Jewish wisdom.

He intuitively understood "Torah" by its full name, "Torat Chayim" - instructions for living. In every topic, in every discussion, he calmly probed until he found a life lesson.

So this week I was thinking back to those past few years studying with him, trying to recall what "Torah" Jeremy found most meaningful or uplifting.

What came to mind was a chapter he particularly enjoyed.

It was last January, as he was preparing to move to Hawaii. We happened to be learning this week's portion (Lech L'cha).

It begins:

Go for yourself from your land, from birthplace, from your family....

The protagonist (Abraham) is obviously on a quest or spiritual journey of self-discovery. What Jeremy found so moving is the tightening circles of leaving: land, then birthplace, then family.

His interpretation:

- It isn't enough to travel physically from your land, if your head is still in your hometown.
- It isn't enough to unchain your mind from your hometown, if your heart is still preoccupied with your family.
- Self-discovery sometimes requires leaving the familiar and comfortable, and venturing out into the world.

Before leaving to Hawaii, Jeremy embraced the idea that physical, mental and emotional distance would help him discover himself. To discover his true passions and ambitions.

He also knew that going doesn't mean you can't come back....

But maybe you won't.....

Question for your table: Even if you do, will you still be you?

May his memory be for a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom

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