Rachel is Prizmah's Director of Educational Innovation. Learn more about her here.

“Holy Fiction”: Opportunities to Connect

A few days ago, I went for a walk, just to get out of the house, and noticed that the trees in my neighborhood are blooming. How crazy that the earth is still acting like things are normal. My husband and I remembered the blessing we say when one sees blossoming fruit trees for the first time during the month of Nissan: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם. Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure.

Is nothing really lacking? Don't we often say the blessing of borei nefashot after we eat, where we thank G-d for the things that are “chaser” or missing (“borei nefashot rabot vechesronam”)? How can we thank G-d for both the lack and that we have it all? 

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm has an amazing explanation: he calls this blessing of the spring, permission to create a “holy fiction.” For just a moment, almost like we are squinting and tilting our heads to the side, in that one moment in time, when we witness the amazing miracle of rebirth in the trees, our breath is taken away, and in that one moment, we create the “holy fiction” that everything really is perfect. The brachah gives us permission to see the holy and good even amidst the imperfections of the world, and certainly in the very imperfect time in which we find ourselves today.

I find myself coming back to the wisdom of Dr. Lamm again and again this season. I am inspired daily, even hourly, by the amazing dedication and love being poured into our students and schools by the educational leaders we are blessed to have. In any given moment, I find myself smiling and thanking G-d for sending the right people to us at this time, and in that way, and in so many ways, I find that I am surrounded by the Holy Fiction of the perfection of many, many mini-moments of glorious GOOD happening all around us. 

We enter in the season of our Redemption, with humility and prayer for health and safety for the world, and with the fervent prayer and wish that we are an even better community through this process and that we have grown from these moments of Holy Fiction to become even more who we are meant to become.

Torah thoughts to go: check out “pocket” divrei Torah here and please add your own!