Monday, November 21, 2005

Where on Earth is Olam HaBa (the World to Come)?

Spent yesterday afternoon with Yael and another friend (Hebrew name to be determined) watching A Life Apart, a documentary about Hasidism in America.

Then went to a fundraising event for the synagogue I attend the most frequently. The speaker was Rabbi Mordechai Becher, an Australian who spent quite a while in Israel at Ohr Sameach and now lives in NewJersey. He was a wonderful speaker -- funny but with lots of meat, too. His topic was the Torah view of the world to come (with the title I used on this entry). He pointed out that the Torah (in its strictest sense of the five books of Moses) doesn't mention Heaven or Hell. He worked his way through several subtopics (including what he calls bageling, when one Jew says something in Hebrew or Yiddish or otherwise culturally Jewish to feel out whether someone else is also Jewish), but ended with the idea that this world is in many ways a spiritual womb, that how we develop here determines how we fare later -- both in this world and the world to come. Who we are and how we act today determine who we are tomorrow. (OK, so I'm summarizing a hour long lecture into one paragraph, and obviously missing a few intermediate points.......)

One of his better lines (along with noting that Jews are often a gastrocentric people) was that a Jewish version of Heaven would be 72 caterers, rather than the 72 virgins of Islamic fame.

I bought the rabbi's new book, having enjoyed a previous one he co-authored. It looks really good (after skimming it for 10 minutes.)

I figure one reason I'm an editor rather than an author is that I can't imagine the mental/emotional energy it must take to do book signings. The lecture/talk I could manage but not all the small talk/chatting.

The event was at an estate on the Main Line -- very fancy -- and the food was very good (and very plentiful!).

Work today has been busy - eating lunch at my desk as I type this. Did get the end of last week's Amazon order: this and this. Of course, having been in a couple bookstores (both Borders and B&N!) yesterday around other activities means that the wish list is even longer now ;-)

One nice result of having stopped at B&N is that I found holiday cards for a card exchange for an email list I'm on...... and the cards were on sale. They just say Happy Holidays with a cute photo of a cat who has built a snowcat. Suitable for all recipients ;-) {or at least anyone I'm likely to send a card to........}.

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