Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Everything Else vs. Money

My second job is at a HEBREW rare books library. Meaning that the books there are (mostly) כלי קודש. It's wonderful.

I am able to open a ספר and see the writing of someone who labored tirelessly over holy words to understand them, and then marked down his own הארות for posterity. (Interesting, isn't it, how the word הארות comes from להאיר, literally "to enlighten"? :) )

I open for the first time in 50 years the cracked pages of an ancient מחזור with the names of those for whom the owner would say Yartzeit written on the inside flap.

With chilling comprehension, I see the stamp of the Nazi Archives, marking a book to go to the museum for "those lost people, the Jews, who used to blight the world." And yet many of the books have been returned to their rightful owners, who outlived the evil ones. Many of the owners, however, could not be found. The books were then shipped to libraries across the world, where they could be accessed by the descendants of their former owners.

I wish I knew more Yiddish, German, Italian, and how to read music (those are the languages I've come across so far-aside from Hebrew, 'course). I found a book about an inch thick, filled with handwritten notes to songs that won't be played. I wish I could write them down and play them at home, learn them, and teach them for others.

It's with these books that I'm working now. On my volunteer time. And I love it.
This is Reality. This is Truth. This is not comparable to someone's twisted idea of "art," this is the truth about life! I feel like I know so little, and yet CAN learn so much. Cause it's just...right.


leati said...

So eventually, which will win in the long run? The parnasa or the joy you get from going to work smiling?

ClooJew said...

What a wonderful post. To be able to feel that kind of connection is, lulei demistafina, special.

I once found, buried in the back of a shul, a published PhD dissertaion about the Jewish community of my father's hometown. When I mentioned the book to my dad he told me that the man had been my mohel!

TRW said...

That's incredibly awesome!! "There is no such thing as a coincedence" ;)
(And just another reason why history is so cool, ahemstxahem..)

Zoe Strickman said...

Phew! [...he wipes the beads of sweat from his forehead]. I've been reading your blog and enjoying your perspectives and your poetry and the feelings you communicate through your words.

...But for a second I thought you were 519, the shidduch from the UK and I froze thinking my identity would be compromised by writing you. I hate that. But when you said you can't read music I realized you weren't her so it's safe now.

I have a Megillat Ester scroll that I found when I was a child. If I remember correctly, it was in a thrift shop with my mom and there it was on the shelf... Someone had given away a perfectly beautiful scroll. We purchased it and I've had it since. It's not kosher anymore, but I plan on one day soon having it repaired so that I can use it. It's a beautiful scroll.

TRW said...

Dunno who 519 is...but I'm certainly not! (That I know of ;) )

The Megilas Esther scroll sounds incredible? Do you have any idea how old it is?

I once walked into a rare book store (yes, a common occasion in my life) and saw a whole bunch of sefarim-Michtav Me'eliyahu, a full set of the Zohar...I would have loved to buy them, just to get them out of this random store!! Unfortunately there was the whole money (or lack thereof) issue...

TRW said...

Edit: "incredible!!"