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Quote of the Day: Wisdom is at Your Fingertips
Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens that you should say, ‘Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it? No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
— Deut. 30:11-14
Recently I had the delightful experience of exchanging brief emails with Mollie Hemingway! I’m definitely a fan girl. I wrote to her because she said on her podcast, You’re Wrong, with David Harsanyi, that she had begun to read the Jewish Bible (Torah) from the very beginning, chapter by chapter, and is enjoying it immensely. (She had experienced the Old Testament in her Lutheran faith but not in this manner.)
So, I wanted to encourage her with one of my favorite quotes from the Torah (above), and she was nice enough to express her appreciation.
A reason I love this quotation is probably obvious: G-d wants us to know that the Bible is accessible and understandable to all of us. We can make all kinds of excuses for not reading it, but the possibility of learning from it is at our fingertips—we just have to give it a try. The Bible is not just written for scholars, lovers of myth, the intelligent. It is written for everyone, and to make available G-d’s teachings and expectations, in a way that can deepen our relationship with Him.
But I also believe that this thought process applies to other areas of our lives. How often do we allow ourselves to be overcome with fear of failure or irrational expectations. We might even be afraid of success! Maybe it’s writing a post for Ricochet that makes you uneasy, or learning how to cook, or trying a new hobby. So many times, when we have the opportunity to learn or stretch ourselves, we allow ourselves to be inhibited by fear. Yet when we finally take the leap (or maybe just start with baby steps), the rewards can be life-changing. We may discover a talent that we didn’t realize we had.
I remember when @iwe first asked me to help him edit his essays, which were to be used as the basis for a book. I thought he’d lost his mind: I knew very little about Judaism, never mind the Torah. I finally figured out that maybe he knew something about me that I didn’t know; in part, my lack of knowledge could actually be helpful in writing the book. So I convinced myself that if I approached the essays, one at a time, and didn’t allow myself to become overwhelmed, I just might be able to do it. Two books and several collaborative posts later, I got through it.
With great joy.Published in Group Writing
Amazing how that works.
Yes! Great post.
I will be teaching a class on Jeremiah starting Sunday. I am so looking forward to it. I’ve never even been in a Jeremiah class.
You should tell us about this first-time experience! Have fun with it!
There are people like that in Ricochet. For them, Ima just gonna leave this here.
(Prying that video from the satanic clutches of the YouTube search function is such an ordeal that I finally bookmarked it.)
Being a history nerd, I am. The history of Jeremiah’s time is so convoluted that it’s hard to keep track of. Jeremiah isn’t recorded in a sequential or chronological sequence, so I will be relying on timelines and visual aids to keep events and people straight.
Jeremiah touches on topics of interest such as Megiddo, which is widely misunderstood from a single reference in the NT. The infamous Nebuchadnezzar is very prominent. Every time he attacked Judah his army approached through the Megiddo pass. “There’s another army pouring out of Megiddo pass!” What a frightening thing to hear!
Jeremiah’s writings gave rise to the term “jeremiad”. Merriam Webster defines jeremiad as: a prolonged lamentation or complaint. This is a favorite pass time here on Richochet!
You’ve probably already thought of this, but trying to create a sense of Jeremiah–who he was as a man and prophet, would make him come alive.
That is a great video!! And humor is so powerful, too!
Jer_16:2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place.
Jer 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jer 9:2 Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men.
I wish you success in this.
I taught a series in Ezekiel last year. I haven’t done a detailed study of Jeremiah, though I think that they are quite similar. Dark, with a lot about the wrath and judgment of God.
Seems like a lack of knowledge was a good place to start.
You will on Sunday.
Thanks for the encouragement, especially to take it slow if needed. I’m working my way through the Bible and various great books, but I can only do so much each day!
This post is part of the Quote of the Day group writing project at Ricochet. Please join us and signup here for May!
“Should I say; I will not mention Him, and I will no longer speak in His name, it would be in my heart like a burning fire, confined in my bones, and I wearied to contain it but was unable.” Jeremiah 20:9
One of my favorite teachers jokes that the Bible sheds a lot of light on the Commentaries.