Surprises on coming home

As I drove up to the house this afternoon, I discovered that Diane had decorated it for Halloween. It seems that a lot of kids only visit decorated houses, and we have a lot of candy to get rid of tomorrow!

And then when I came home after a committee meeting at Shir Hadash, Diane and Jeffrey were watching Godzilla, which TiVo had thoughtfully captured for us since it has Raymond Burr in it and we’ve been watching a lot of Perry Masons. TiVo makes it very easy to watch a lot of good TV. And bad movies.

Work, work, work….

That pretty much sums up today. I guess that’s just as well, since I spent it at work!

I see that Susan likes the same restaurants I like to visit when driving down to Southern California. Diane and Jeffrey don’t find Harris Ranch as appealing as I do, though.

I’ve moved the new computer into the prime location in the office, but I still have a lot of software to copy over. I can do e-mail, web stuff, and play music, but that’s about it so far.

Back to work!

Get lost!


Yes, of course it’s a favorite key combination, but it’s also the title of the play we saw yesterday at San Jose Rep. The subtitle is “A history play: 1998-2000”. I suspect that, for many people, it was a personal history.

The play is a comedy (though, at times, it hits below the belt) and I enjoyed it immensely. The cast got a standing ovation from about half the audience, so I was not alone in my assessment of the play.

The Merc hasn’t reviewed the play yet, but C|Net has an interview with the playwright which I found interesting. The playwright was in the audience yesterday, and I heard him talking to people after the play; he seemed to think it was going well, too.

The theatre wasn’t sold out; if you have a chance, I’d recommend seeing the play.

A drash on Parshat Lech Lecha

Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27); Diane was the Torah reader, and I gave a drash (interpretive reading) on the portion, which I thought I’d post here.

“Go forth from your native land and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…and you shall be a blessing.” That was God’s challenge to Abram. And Abram accepted the challenge.

But every day, we face a similar challenge. Every day, we must leave what we know and face the unknown – the future. Some days, the journey is easy. Other days, the journey is difficult. But when we set out, we never know what to expect – we only know that today will be different than it was yesterday.

God told Abram to go forth, and he did. But he did not go alone. He brought his wife, his nephew, and his household on the trip. Similarly, we don’t face the future alone – we go with our families, our neighbors, our country, and the rest of the world. Not everyone will help us on our journey, but we need to be mindful of our companions.

And, of course, God went with Abram. Does God go with us? Perhaps not in as direct a form as Abram saw and heard, but if we want God’s company, we can have it.

Abram faced obstacles on his journey, as do we. Since 9/11, some of those obstacles have seemed a lot bigger. Remember when the biggest worry about the mail was getting rid of the junk? Remember when CNN didn’t have a constant war ticker on the bottom of the screen? Remember when airport security was just an annoyance?

I know I spent the first month or so after 9/11 in a funk. I watched more TV news that month than I usually see in a year, and I checked news websites every few minutes while I was at work. And at the end of every day, I felt that I hadn’t done anything.

But a couple of weeks ago, things changed. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but somehow, I realized that I had a life to live. I started getting work done at work again. I started to read things other than the news. I even started watching TV for fun (mostly reruns, of course!).

I realized that the terrorists’ main objective wasn’t crashing four airplanes. It wasn’t knocking down the World Trade Center. It wasn’t even killing thousands of people. What they wanted to do was simple: they wanted to force people to stop living their normal lives. To stop looking forward to each day’s journey, but rather to fear it. And they had done it to me, at least for a while.

This week, I went forth. To Atlanta, for my first business trip since 9/11. I can’t say that I was really looking forward to the hassles – but by the time my first flight landed, I felt far better than I had for a long time – even though the airport was strangely empty and hushed, and even though the news on CNN was still bad. I was back on my journey.

Abram’s journey continues after the end of today’s parsha – we know of the challenges he has yet to face, and how he’ll respond. We know that God’s promise is fulfilled, and that Abram is the ancestor of a great nation. We don’t know what lies ahead of each of us on our journey, but at the end of every day, we can look back and see what progress we made. Did we learn? Did we grow? Did we contribute to tikkun olam? Were we a blessing?

Shabbat shalom.