Friday, August 13, 2010

Driving Forces

I recently subscribed to Jewels of Elul, a daily e-mail offering teachings and spiritual tidbits for every day of Elul (the Hebrew month which started on Monday night, and which leads up to the High Holy Days). If you’re looking for a nice way to inject a little bit of High Holy Day prep into your routine, it’s a nice little resource.*

* Today’s Jewel is a quote from…Lady Gaga. Not my usual source of learning or religious inspiration, but I’ll try to keep an open mind.

The Jewel also includes a question of the day. Today’s question is:

If you had to name the # 1 motivating force driving your life forward, what would it be?

Hmm. Interesting one. I quickly decided that I have two answers…which, of course, isn’t right. I’m supposed to name one. But, I’m not sure how to pick. On the one hand, I’d say that “truth” is, and has long been, a driving force in my life – certainly, it’s the driving force in my religious life, and in my personal philosophy.

But, in many ways I am more driven by my family than by anything in my religious life. And, without some serious mental gymnastics, I can’t really claim that “truth” is a dominant part of that part of my life. Love, I’d have to say, unsurprisingly, is much more of a driving force with them.

I know that the “rules” say that I’m supposed to pick 1, but I’m not going to.* I’ll leave it, for now, with the observation that this is one of the biggest differences between how I approach religion and how I approach family. And that both are incredibly integral to my life.

*I always hate false dilemmas, even if they’re just a thought experiment. “If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?” What, exactly, is that supposed to tell me about myself, anyway?

How about you? What is the biggest driving force in your life?

Shabbat Shalom.

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