Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Are You Your Name - Parashat Shemot









Each of Us Has A Name by Zelda (transl. by Marcia Falk)
Each of us has a name
given by God
and given by our parents
Each of us has a name
given by our stature and our smile
and given by what we wear
Each of us has a name
given by the mountains
and given by our walls
Each of us has a name
given by the stars
and given by our neighbors
Each of us has a name
given by our sins
and given by our longing
Each of us has a name
given by our enemies
and given by our love
Each of us has a name
given by our celebrations
and given by our work
Each of us has a name
given by the seasons
and given by our blindness
Each of us has a name
given by the sea
and given by our death. 


Two hundred years have passed, and we are now in the Book of Shemot...the Book of Names.
Many of us have names that bind us to the memory and legacy of our ancestors. Our names speak of values, strengths, beauty, scholars, the Matriarchs & Patriarchs. Our names connect us to our past, and also to who we have become. The 'true' name of a person, Martin Buber said, is the essence of the person, distilled from his real being, so that his is present in it once again.

For God's name, we use Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddai, El Elyon, Hamakom, Avinu Malkenu, Shechinah...all reflecting different qualities of the Divine Essence.
 In the Torah, we've already seen that Abram became Abraham, Sarai become Sarah and Jacob became Israel. Think about yourself. How many 'names' do you have? Are you living up to your name?

As we get our houses in order at the beginning of this new year, we should all try to make our names a source of pride for our families and an inspirations for generations to come.

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