Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Noah

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I went to a student’s bar mitzvah today.  Kids invite their teachers to their bar mitzvahs, out of respect for education.  I think it’s a nice tradition.  This student turned out to be Orthodox, so I was startled to find myself sitting in the women’s section, on the other side of a screen from the actual service, where I could hear but not see.

AND the men got the windows.  I don’t care much about the service, but I’m definitely bitter about the windows.  It was a very pretty fall day out the windows.  Ask a man; they could tell you how pretty the trees were.

My student’s portion of the Torah was the story of Noah and the flood.  He read it in Hebrew, of course, which I don’t speak, but that’s okay, because I know the story.  God realizes that the people of the world are wicked and evil, and decides to wipe out the whole world with a flood.  But he recognizes Noah as good, and decides to spare him and his family, on an ark with breeding stock for all the world’s animals.

It’s a story that makes a good children’s toy.  Pairs of giraffes, pairs of cows, pairs of elephants.  But rarely pairs of sloths.  I’ve become very interested in sloths lately.  They move slowly, live their whole lives in trees, and are very solitary, coming together only to mate.  If I believed it ‘spirit animals,’ I think mine would be a sloth.

As an invited guest, my place is to sit quietly and politely through two and a half hours of Hebrew chanting on the other side of the screen, congratulate my student on his rite of passage, eat some very strange food, and then go on with my day.  And that is what I did.  Here’s what I didn’t say:

“Let’s suppose that I am truly fed up with how my class is behaving.  They are very disruptive and rude, and rarely completely assignments.  It’s my professional opinion that, no matter how hard I work, I am not ever going to be able to teach them what they need to know to be high school graduates or happy, useful citizens.

“So I decide, in my authority as teacher, to kill the whole class.  I bring a semiautomatic gun to school, ready to kill the whole class.  But as I think about it, I remember that you are a pretty good student, well behaved, with good work habits.  So I tell you that I’ve decided to spare you, because you are the good one.  And then I kill every single one of your classmates.

“Would this make you worship me?  Honor me?  No, of course not.  It would make you hate me, because I would be a monster.  You would be the first person testifying against me at the trial which would end in my entirely justified death sentence.  And I would never, ever, ever do that, no matter how bad my class was.

“Shouldn’t a God worthy of worship be more moral than your junior high school English teacher?”

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Written by Contented Reader

October 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Opinions

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