|1. Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses regarding the Cushite woman he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.||א. וַתְּדַבֵּר מִרְיָם וְאַהֲרֹן בְּמֹשֶׁה עַל אֹדוֹת הָאִשָּׁה הַכֻּשִׁית אֲשֶׁר לָקָח כִּי אִשָּׁה כֻשִׁית לָקָח:|
|2. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only to Moses? Hasn’t He spoken to us too?” And the Lord heard.||ב. וַיֹּאמְרוּ הֲרַק אַךְ בְּמֹשֶׁה דִּבֶּר יְ־הֹוָ־ה הֲלֹא גַּם בָּנוּ דִבֵּר וַיִּשְׁמַע יְ־הֹוָ־ה:|
In this week´s portion of the torah, G-d punishes Miriam for undermining the chosen nature of Moses. I was thinking about how we tend to miss one another´s beauty when we move directly to a comparison. As opposed to observing who the other is, we often consider who the other is in comparison to ourselves. What the Torah lets us see here is the fullness that we can observe in another person when we see them as a part of something holy.
In the New Yorker, Jhumpa Lahiri tells us the story of how she became a writer. Her parents discouraged her from writing because of the possible instability of the career. Like the Torah discusses, she is the being compared to another more ´successful´son or daughter, which prevents them (and her) from seeing her awe inspiring talent. I wonder in how many ways we have boxed ourselves into identities because of other´s lack of confidence in us or jealousy.
My sister had piano lessons when she was in elementary school. It turns out she rarely practiced and gave it up after a while. I don’t know whether she actually said she was done, or if my parents decided she was done. But some years later, I – her much younger sister – asked for piano lessons. I was put off repeatedly. A year later I was still asking. Finally, I am sure just to get me to be quiet, my parents arranged for me to take lessons with the 15 year old daughter of their best friends. But I kept asking for a real piano teacher. Finally, finally, I started lessons with a teacher and newly acquired used piano. I took lessons for ten years. My teacher told me, when I was 18 and leaving for college, that my father had taken my new piano teacher aside all those years ago at the beginning and told her not to expect much, that he figured I would last maybe six weeks. Their manner of considering my request came resulted from comparing me to my sister. It took great tenacity on my part — and at that age I didn’t realize that was what I was exhibiting — to convince them I was in fact somebody else. Thanks for your thoughts.
Thanks for sharing that Wendy, you’ve inspired!