SIL should finally be coming home tomorrow. She had a liver biopsy and it doesn't look like the cancer spread. They've cancelled any further chemo (thank you Lord!) so maybe she can come home and start healing.
Work has been interesting but I'm keeping it from getting important to me. I love the work I do, enjoy most of my job and most of my co-workers and the rest of it I don't have to hold onto. So it's good.
And the writing... is awesome. I wrote two pieces today that mean I'll have quite a lot of rewriting later because it changed the nature of earlier conversations. But that's okay.
It's interesting to write about religion when one isn't that well versed in it. I'm learning a lot about Judaism and Christianity and I find it fascinating. In my next life I want to be a Rabbi.
"Can you have good without evil?"Rhonda Stein looked up from her desk, surprise on her face. It was rare that the Reb interrupted her when she was working at her computer; he was like the specter of the synagogue, seen and rarely heard. Never had he asked her a question of religious importance."I think maybe Mother Teresa was an example of good without evil," Rhonda said thoughtfully, "but then again, we don't know if she was pulling the wings off flies in her spare time.""Why don't Jews believe in the devil?""Some do." Rhonda leaned forward onto her elbows and peered over the rim of her computer glasses at the Reb. "Of course there are those who are into the Kabbalah so they have the mysticism teachings But there are those that believe in the devil as Ha-, the challenger.""To make the choice to sin a serious one.""Yes. Which really stinks if you think about it. That God has an angel on his staff whose job it is to tempt them into bad choices. Temptation isn't a problem if it isn't on the table, you know?"He smiled and Rhonda thought how nice it is to see the Reb alive. He'd been so emotionally deadened since Rose passed."And you? Do you believe in the devil?""That's a brilliant question Reb. I'm not always convinced that God exists so imagining the devil is even trickier.""So you don't?""No, I don't." She sat back and looked at him, his sleeve cuff was fraying slightly, his glasses were smudged. He was a man who needed a wife and didn't even know how lost he was without one."My husband wanted me to convert to Christianity," Rhonda said. "I know, I should have married a nice Jewish boy. I heard it from my parents plenty. But the heart wants what it wants. And my heart wanted Paul. Still does, even after eighteen years of marriage."The Reb sat at the folding chair next to the desk. "I didn't even know you were married to a goyim."She shrugged. "It stopped being a big deal since we didn't choose to have children. Without worry of how the kids will be raised, there was no reason to care about religious differences. Anyway, he stopped asking me to convert when I started asking him to. The problem was that Judaism is just more appealing if you break it down. We believe in personal responsibility. We believe in social responsibility. We like learning and logic. And we don't have a convenient 'the devil made me do it' in our religion. You make a bad choice and it's on you. You want absolution? Get your ass into gear and earn it yourself. Pardon my French.""I believe the French is derriere."She grinned but he seemed to be a million miles away."Why the questions Reb? Has the devil been knocking on your door?"He started, a quick intake of breath and sudden flush to his cheeks. 'What the hell is going on with the Rabbi?' Rhonda suddenly wondered."I've been wondering," he said finally, "about the goodness in bad people. Or the rightness in wrong choices. If we believe in haSatan then we believe that goodness can be swayed and in essence, that God is sending a challenger, perhaps even should be swayed. God encourages evil, He wants us to make the choices that go against His teaching.""That's an interpretation," Rhonda answered, "but in that would it be that He wants you to learn or that He wants people to fail?""And then what would Satan be?" the Reb asked. "Still an angel of the Lord doing His bidding or a force or evil, trying to ruin the goodness He gives us?""Why are you thinking about Satan? Is someone in trouble Reb? Is there anything anyone can do to help?""No, no." He shook his head and slowly got on his feet. "It's just large thoughts for my small brain. Trying to understand the world and realizing how it’s much too large for any man to understand." Rhonda knew their conversation was coming to an end. She still had more data to enter, payments to process but something about the Rabbi's questions stirred."Maybe the point of the Devil," Rhonda said, "is to help us love God even more. We know that sin and evil is common, bad choices are as natural as breathing. But God still loves us. He always loves us. And in God's love we know that the devil can deceive us but can never trick us into believing he has us in his heart."He leaned over and touched her hand, resting on the computer keyboard. "Thank you Shayna."