I Missed Torah Study

I missed Torah study today.  Not just missed as in, didn’t go.  Missed as in, felt the absence of. 

This past fall I made a commitment to attend a year of Torah study classes, whenever possible.  Today isn’t the first time I wasn’t there.  I’ve stayed away when I was feeling tired or under the weather or was out-of-town.  At those times I’ve read Torah propped up in bed, sipping coffee, my cat Maude tucked in beside me.  At those times, I haven’t felt “that missing.”

Today I left the house at 5:45 a.m. to lead three Weight Watchers meetings.  I drove away at noon feeling a little sick, a little sad, and a little lonely.

Working for Weight Watchers is my joy and my genius, and members have long been “my congregation.”  However, when I moved to Seattle six months ago, I consciously decided not to take on any Saturday commitments — Weight Watchers or otherwise.  I wanted the opportunity to experience Torah study and synagogue services on a regular basis.

My bosses and other colleagues have often asked me to consider working on Saturdays. And I’ve continued to say no, until today.

I said yes, just this once — a single Saturday.

The meetings were lively and fun.  I connected easily to the members.  Several asked me when and where I usually work.  I felt flattered.  And yet, I felt the pull of my people.  My other people.

I have sometimes felt like a farce, like a liar, when I told my Weight Watchers colleagues I don’t work Saturdays because I am in synagogue.  A mean voice inside calls out, “Yeah? Since when?”

Since October to be exact.  Since my 42nd birthday, when I watched the Torah unfurl around me at Simchat Torah services, and committed myself to a year of Torah study.  Since I gave myself the gift of Saturdays– the gift of Shabbat.

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