Friday, October 9, 2015

Random Musing Before Shabbat–B’resheet 5776–Temptation

We had a lockdown at the school where I teach today. I am very proud of the school for putting the safety of the students as the paramount concern. We all did everything we were were instructed to do – oddly enough, at a staff meeting just yesterday. I must say that, due to the proximity of the incident to yesterday’s review of procedures, I was pretty receptive to a serpent whispering in my ear “it must be a drill.” I can’t be sure of my memory, but I actually recall that the announcement was for a lockdown drill, and not a lockdown. (That may have been the case, in an attempt to not panic anybody, but I’m still unsure.) As the time wore on, I began to wonder. My room is somewhat isolated and at the rear of the building, so unlike others closer to the core, I didn’t see the police cars and the armed police milling about or walking the hallways. Assuming someone had just forgotten to come to my room way at the back of the building, I tried to make contact with others using my phone. No responses. I peeked out into the hallway, No movement, and it appeared lights were out in the rooms whose outside windows I could see. I went back to dutifully following the instructions to not eat from that tree, er, I mean to wait for someone to physically come to the room.Then I heard footsteps on the roof. OK, now I was getting a little freaked out. I had resisted the serpent’s call – I had to eat from that tree. So I used my phone to Google the name of the school and the word lockdown. To my surprise, there were already two local news items noting that the school was on a lockdown. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was better knowing I was naked or not knowing if I was naked, er, I mean, if the lockdown was real or a drill, and I had just been forgotten.

We forget, sometimes, that, at least if we strictly adhere to what the text of the Torah says, G”d informed Adam before creating Eve that he could eat of any tree except from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. (G”d didn’t say anything about it being in the center of the garden.) It never says in the Torah that Adam told this to Eve, though I suppose it might be reasonably inferred from her initial response to the serpent’s question. So not only must we wonder how Eve knew, we must wonder how the serpent knew the rule, and that Eve knew it? Also, Eve seemed to know that the tree in question was in the center of the garden. If this was so important, why is it not mentioned earlier?

So my eyes were opened, and I knew that our lockdown was real. A precaution, to be sure, but an appropriate one under the circumstances. I know other teachers who did the same as I, trying to determine what was going on. I’m not sure how many knew what the situation truly was. I know many of them were able to see evidence outside their windows or rooms that this was something very real. I wasn’t one of them.

In addition, we all know that the media jump on stories like this and have few compunctions against leaping to conclusions, speculating,  or reporting unsubstantiated facts. This tree of knowledge was potentially flawed! Like that tree in the garden for Adam and Eve, this news media tree could have knowledge both good and bad. So I took what I read online with a grain of salt.

I could have violated the rules of the lockdown and opened my door and gone out in the hallway to take a peek. Had I done so, I might have noticed a police car in the driveway. I was trying so hard to “not eat from that tree” because the safety of all had to come before my discomfort.

I understand now, more than ever, how tempted Eve and Adam must have been, perhaps even without the serpent’s goading. I’ve often stated I feel it was bad parenting or a setup on G”d’s part, this instruction to eat anything you want – except that one thing. We know, as parents, this often backfires.

It was a real lockdown, but it was precautionary. You can read about it online: Police Investigate Source Of Call That Locked Down West Hartford School.

To this very moment, I don’t know if I did the right thing, checking for news on my phone during the lockout. I know I do have greater sympathy for Eve and Adam at this moment.

I think this experience brought our school closer together, made the staff stronger. What we can achieve together is and will continue to be amazing. Of course, that leaves me wondering, if we’re all now speaking the same language, if G”d will look askance at our tower, and confound our ability to work together so well. Sigh.

Shabbat Shalom,

©2015 by Adrian A. Durlester

Other Musings on this parasha:

B'reisheet 5775 - One Favorite Things (not a typo!)
B'reisheet 5774 - Toldot Adrian
B'reishit 5773 - Mixing Metaphors
B'reishit 5772 - The Unified Field Theorem of the Twelve Steps
B'reishit 5771 - B'reishit Bara Anashim
B'reishit 5770 - One G"d, But Two Trees?
B'reishit 5769 - Do Fences Really Make Good Neighbors
B'reishit 5767-Many Beginnings
Bereshit 5766-Kol D'mei Akhikha
Bereshit 5765 (5760)-Failing to Understand-A Learning Experience
Bereshit 5764-Gd's Regrets
Bereshit 5762--The Essential Ingredient
Bereshit 5763--Striving to be Human
Bereshit 5761--Chava's Faith
Bereshit 5760-Failing to Understand

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