ANECDOTE of the DAY
I spoke with a certain Rabbi every morning for over a year and a half.
We were at a Starbucks along with a table filled with all sorts of fellows. They were mostly immigrants. Interesting people, one and all.
This Rabbi was a particularly interesting guy.
Conversations were never about religion. It was usually politics and world events.
One time, however, the subject of God and His penchant for slaying people was passed around. Each person had an opinion.
The Rabbi, in a very matter of fact tone, said something which almost made a lot of sense--compared with the other's opinions.
He told us:
"When I was a boy, I used to go over to my grandfather's art studio. He was a painter. His work was wonderful. He let me watch as long as I wanted. Sometimes he'd let me ask questions; sometimes he just wanted to work in silence. Anyway, he had a stack of older canvas paintings he had done in the corner. None of them was framed. I watched him pick one of them up and start a new painting right over the surface of the previous one! Since the previous image was quite wonderful to my eyes--I protested."
"Why are you ruining it--I like it very much?"
He stopped in mid stroke and turned to look at me with a surprised, unhappy expression on his face. I realized I should have stayed quiet.
He regarded me for a long, long minute. Then, he took a deep breath and laid his brush down on the easel and walked over to where I stood and crouched down until his eyes were at the same level as mine.
He looked directly at me and said with a kind voice:
"Amateur painters keep everything they paint because they imagine what they are doing is always worth saving. Only the creator knows that; only he has the right to decide."
Now then, when I became a Rabbi, I remembered my grandfather's words and I sometimes think I know what he meant; sometimes not--but, it's useful, I think, to apply those words to God."
I repeat this story--not because it solves anything--but because from a certain point of view--it gives me a way of seeing a difficult question from a different light.
Now, you as well.