Posts Tagged 'Libi'

All of Them: Hearing the Question, Adaptive Change, and Parshat Chukat

In Chukat, this week’s Torah portion, we read about the continued travails of the Israelites in the desert. Here we learn the people were kvetching and Moshe struck the rock to get water.  There we read:

The community was without water, and they joined against Moshe and Aaron. The people quarreled with Moshe, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished at the instance of the Lord! Why have you brought the Lord’s congregation into this wilderness for us and our beasts to die there? Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain or figs or vines or pomegranates? There is not even water to drink!” ( Numbers 20:2- 5)

Moshe’s response to their myriad of questions was to come with Aaron to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and they fell on their faces. God instructs him to go and speak to the rock to get water for the people. Instead of speaking to the rock he admonished the people and stuck the rock.  The water poured out and God punished Moshe. There we read,“Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.” ( Numbers 20:12) He spent his life to get his people to the Promised Land and just like that he could not join them. The punishment seems to far outweigh the crime. What did Moshe do that was so wrong?

From their herd mentality to only thinking about food and water, throughout the book of Numbers we see the Israelites acting like children. On the simple level in our case they were complaining for water. One of Moshe’s missteps is that he reacts to their childish kvetching instead of actually answering their questions. Yes he does get them water, but their questions linger.

I was thinking about this recently when a friend recounted a story about  Libi, our three-year-old who is about to turn four this week. My friend asked Libi, “How many legs does an octopus have?” As it was shared with me, Libi looks at my friend with indignation as if it was a stupid question and said, “All of them”. All too often we get swept up into the questions that we think people are saying without just dealing with the simple level of the actual questions they ask.

Why did God need them to go into the wilderness and almost die? Why was it important for them to leave Egypt to subside without “grain or figs or vines or pomegranates”? There is some depth to their questions. Why do we suffer? How do we make meaning when things do not go as planned? Surely they were thirsty, and they were also asking questions which could not be quenched by water.

The notion of ever getting to a Promised Land without suffering or issues of theodicy might always be beyond our reach. Moshe gave them a technical solution to what was clearly an adaptive problem.  In words of Martin Linsky, “An adaptive change that is beneficial to the organization as a whole may clearly and tangibly hurt some of those who had benefited from the world being left behind. “(Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading) The Israelites needed an adaptive change which would help them as an organization, but sadly to achieve this Moshe needed to be left behind. 

-It is crazy to imagine fOuRLOW turning four. Happy Birthday Libi. Thank you for reminding us to not lose the question in the process.

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Rose Bud and Thorn

Every week at our Friday night Shabbat dinner table we go around the whole family sharing our “rose, bud, and thorn” from the week.  This was a tough week with a lot of thorns. It started with a family visit to my mother in Philadelphia. She has been sick so it was important for all of us to spend time with her. While there it was clear that Libi had come down with something. On Monday we came back from Philly to find out that Jessica our Au Pair who had gone home to Mexico for vacation was not allowed back into the country despite all of the work in advance to ensure that this would not be an issue. Libi was still sick so Adina stayed home with her on Tuesday. In the morning she called the doctor to get them to take a look at Libi. I got an emergency call from Adina after the doctor’s appointment that I needed to come back to be with the other children because she needed to take Libi to the hospital. I dropped everything and ran home. It was gross and raining. Right when I got home Adina ran out with Libi. Soon after I realized that the roof was leaking and I just had to laugh.

Adina spent the night in the emergency room with Libi. I came to relieve Adina Wednesday morning. In the afternoon I got a call from Yadid. He convinced the office to let him call because he wanted to know how his sister was doing. Wow that was so sweet. But then he pressed me and asked, ” Abba I am glad that she is doing better, did she get better around 9 this morning?” When I asked why he explained that spent 30 minutes prayer for her health that morning. Wow- Yadid is a Tzadik. We must be doing something right with our children. This is clearly my rose from the week.

I just got home 20 minutes ago with Libi from the hospital. Her full recovery is my bud for the coming week. Having a full week has reminded me to appreciate the entire flower of life. Shabbat Shalom

 

 

Libi Frydman Orlow

Adina and I had been discussing and deliberating having a fourth for a few years. The events in Israel this past summer shifted the conversation and nine months later, Adina and I are humbled by and in awe of the birth of our fourth child, Libi Frydman Orlow. She is a miracle just like the rest of the fOuRLOWs and we are confident that our Libi is every bit as amazing as her sister and two brothers. Seeing that she was born out of our concern for Israel and the future of the Jewish people we found it fitting to name her Libi ( pronounced Lee Bee) after the first line of  Rabbi Yehudah HaLevi‘s Songs for Zion, he wrote, “My heart in the East and I at the farthest West.” Later on in the poem he writes:

Zion, do you ask if the captives are at peace— the few that are left?

I cry out like the jackals when I think of their grief;

but, dreaming of the end of their captivity,

I am like a harp for your songs.

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Adina and I dream of the end of our captivity and the sustained safety of the Jewish people. We sincerely hope that our Libi will be an instrument of our national song. We are excited to see the impact she makes on the world.


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