Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Space Between (Lech Lecha)

From Casseopia:

I went to see a special screening of Wes Anderson’s newest film, “The Darjeeling Limited” a couple nights ago. You should go see the movie – it’s a great story about the search for spiritual connection. Wes Anderson was there, and so was one of his creative sidekicks, Jason Schwartzman (a Yid), for a Q&A session after the movie.

Both of these guys are geniuses in their own right, but Schwartzman gets honorable mention here for two reasons:
  1. His bangs take up so much forehead space they deserve their own area code
  2. He gives good advice.
This week’s Parsha, Lech Lecha, tells the story of the beginning of Abraham’s journey. Abraham (known as Avram at the beginning of the Parsha) is commanded to “Go!” God says, “Go from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house, [and go] to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) Abraham complies, with only the promise of becoming the father of a great nation leading the way. God doesn’t tell Abraham where he’s going, God doesn’t tell him how long he’ll be gone, just that he needs to go. Now.

As someone who has followed in the hallowed footsteps of our wandering ancestors, I try to collect as many nuggets of truth as I can. Like Abraham, I don’t always have time to prepare for life’s twists and turns and it’s nice to know that at least I’ll always have a collection of wise thoughts in the back of my mind. These tidbits of advice are portable and they have served me well as guidelines along my own journey.

So naturally, I asked Jason Schwartzman to share some wisdom with me. As a writer and an actor, I figured he’d done some pretty deep thinking about life. He told me about a family trip he took as a kid to Italy, and a tender moment he shared with his mom in the Sistine Chapel. She pointed up at the ceiling and said to him, “You know how the fingers in the painting don’t touch? You see how they’re painted so that they are almost touching? No matter what you do in life, you should always leave room for the space between the fingers.” Did she mean space for God? Space for each other? Space for Natalie Portman? (If you’re a dude and a fan, see the movie.)

I don’t think we need to know what the space is for, as long as it’s there. As young Jews, we deal with a lot of variables in our lives, and we face big questions about our futures and our past. This week’s Parsha teaches that in dealing with these big questions and even bigger changes, we should leave room in our lives for spirituality and new opportunities.

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1 comment:

Blackjack Player said...

What excellent interlocutors :)