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Oct 20, 2010

With All There Is, Why Settle for Just a Piece of Sky

I’m a sap. I’m a dreamer and an idealist and a big juicy sap which, if you ask Rich, is evidenced by my love of Yentl.

I believe that a dream of what a person wants for their life can set them free and inspire and motivate them to do the work to make that dream come true. Nothing more complicated than a dream can do that.

But I also believe that a person’s dreams can be squashed by other people who, for whatever reason, tether and break that person instead of supporting them and their goals and dreams.

Watching Yentl always reminds me of that and of what I want for my kids – to dream, to want, to learn, to appreciate, to risk, to love, to understand the importance of education. I want them to know that not so long ago, many people not only didn’t have the opportunity to learn, but many people weren’t allowed to learn. I want them to remember that and to not take their freedoms for granted. And to know that where their dreams leave off, education and knowledge can take them the rest of the way, can fulfill those dreams and allow them to soar to any height they can imagine.

Yentl is an only child of a widowed Rabbi who secretly teaches Talmud to Yentl, because girls were not allowed to attend school in those days. Yentl’s passion is learning and it’s the one thing at which she excels. But, when her father dies, she is alone and not allowed to continue her secret education. So she decides to leave the village disguised as a boy to get admitted to a school far away so she can continue studying the texts, traditions, subtleties and complexities of Jewish law.

It’s a tragic and funny and deeply inspirational movie. I pray that my children can see through my lame-o sappiness and appreciate the profound meaning behind it, especially in these words Yentl sings at the beginning of the movie.

Where Is It Written
(Prayer: God, our merciful father, I'm wrapped in a robe of light, clothed in your glory that spreads its wings over my soul. May I be worthy. Amen.)

There's not a morning I begin without a thousand questions running through my mind, that I don't try to find the reason and the logic in the world that God designed. The reason why a bird was given wings if not to fly and praise the sky with every song it sings. What's right or wrong? Where do I belong within the scheme of things?

And why have eyes that see and arms that reach unless you're meant to know there's something more, if not to hunger for the meaning of it all. Then tell me what a soul is for? Why have the wings unless you're meant to fly? And tell me please, why have a mind if not to question why?

And tell me where- where is it written what it is I'm meant to be? That I can't dare to have the chance to pick the fruit of every tree, or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility? Just tell me where, tell me where?

If I were only meant to tend the nest then why does my imagination sail across the mountains and the seas, beyond the make-believe of every fairy tale? Why have the thirst if not to drink the wine? And what a waste to have a taste of things that can't be mine.

And tell me where- where is it written what it is I'm meant to be? That I can't dare to find the meanings in the mornings that I see. Or have my share of every sweet-imagined possibility? Just tell me where - where is it written? Tell me where- or if it's written anywhere.

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