Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb


Back in September, I began to do things to enhance my religious life. Today is a very big day in it.

One of the things I began was reading a seder of Mishnah. The Mishnah is the codification of the Jewish Oral Torah, which was passed on from teacher to student for two thousand years, until it became necessary to write it down (various conquerers thought it would be a good thing to kill scholars, which weakened the chain.) It covers pretty much every area of living, from personal lives to criminal law. The whole body is divided into six sections or "seders" (orders). The one I'm learning is Kodashim (holiness), which deals with the Temple service and, incidentally, things like kashrut.

I'm trying to read a chapter a night. I don't always succeed, but I'm trying. And before anyone gets too impressed, I'm using an English translation of the Kahati (a major commentator on the Mishnah.) I maybe glance at the Hebrew sometimes.

Last night, I finished the third book in the seder, which completes the first volume in the series I'm reading. I have two more volumes to go. When I finish, we'll have some sort of celebration. We're thinking about sponsoring a kiddush in our synagogue.

The other thing I've been doing is reading a mussar work. Yes, that's right - Improving Literature about Proper Behavior. I read a chapter on my way to work - also in English. I only do it on the days I work, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and if the chapter is very long, I'll read it in more or less five page sections per day. Then I'll pull out my latest paperback or fanfic printout or just plot my latest story until the final stop.

I finished the book this morning. I start a new one next Monday. I'm not sure it's done much for me, but the concepts are in my head, and we'll see where that takes me.

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