The articles in this blog represent my own belief, thoughts and walk with Adonai and the things He teaches me. Do not copy or publish any of my articles without my permission.

Thank you for your understanding,
Bat Melech בת מלך

Saturday, March 25, 2017

To my readers...



Writing publicly exposes one to all kinds of people, with all kinds of backgrounds and all sorts of interpretations. And, yes, I was aware of this when I started this blog a few years back. 
This platform wasn’t the first I’ve used. Way back when, there was this service called Yahoo! 360 and I was writing there almost daily, for about 3 years, but due to the fact that my main audience was Jewish readers I wasn’t that exposed to the ‘creativity’ some minds display when commenting or posing what they deem ‘hard questions’ meant to make me tremble in awe and contemplate my lack of an answer. 

Thanks to this beautiful feature that Blogger came up with, I am able to moderate the comments I get and decide if it’s worth publishing or not. Now, I do get quite a fair amount of insults or corrections from people that fancy themselves scholars or people that just simply don’t like my face, or my name, or my claims, and that’s their right as readers. I appreciate all of you that take time to read my thoughts. 

To those complaining why their comments don’t get published, the answer if threefold. Number one: I am vain enough to not want people that read my blog (family and friends included) to see me insulted for what I believe. Number two: Because said family or friends would end up defending me in comments of their own, and people would answer back, and you get the point. Plus I am biased enough to side with the ones I love. Number three: Because regardless of how amazing you think your questions are, they’re plain ridiculous to me and I don’t have the time or the energy to sit and answer every single thought that chances suicide when crossing your mind. 

You might think me unkind, bordering on proud for the way I handle things, and I could spend my life trying to convince you otherwise, but like I said, I don’t have the energy.

I don’t discourage comments on my posts, on the contrary, please feel free to share your opinion with me or the readers of this blog, but do try to remember this is not Barnyard and you don’t have to call me by every animal name that pops into your mind. Oh, and for the love of all that is pure and holy, even though it is a struggle, do try to make sense, and by that I mean don’t ask me stupid questions. 

What, you might wonder, makes a question stupid? Well my dear reader, in true Jewish fashion I will give you a moshel (parable) to help you understand.

Once, a young Jewish man approached a famous New York rabbi and said that he wanted to study the Talmud.
— ’Do you speak Aramaic’? The rabbi asked.
— ’No, I don’t.’
— ’How about Hebrew’?
— ’No’.
— ’Did you, at least, study the Torah as a child’?
— ’No, rabbi, I didn’t. You have nothing to worry about. I graduated from UC Berkeley and recently defended a thesis on the philosophy of Socrates. Now, I decided to fill in some blank spots, and for that purpose, I want to study the Talmud.’
— ’You are not ready to study the Talmud’, the rabbi said. ’I will give you a test first, if you insist. If you pass the test, I will teach you more.’
The young man agreed, and the rabbi continued:
— ’Two men are climbing out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’
The young man was absolutely confused by the question, and asked:
— ’Is this question supposed to test my logic’?
The rabbi nodded.
— ’Clearly, the first one to wash his face will be the man with a dirty face.’
— ’Wrong! Think logically. The “dirty man“ will look at his companion with a clean face and will assume that his face is also clean. The ”clean man" will look at the man with a dirty face and assume that his face is also dirty. In other words, the man with a clean face will wash his face.’
— ’What a tricky question!’ the young man noted. ’Alright, rabbi, give me another one.’
— ’As you say, young man. Two men are coming out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’
— ’Wait, we already found out that the man with a clean face will wash his face.’
— ’That is not correct. Both men will wash their faces. The “clean man“ will look at the man with a dirty face. He will assume that his face is also dirty. So, the man with a clean face will wash his face first. Then, the ”dirty man" will notice that the man with a clean face washed his face, and will also wash his.’
— ’Oh...I didn’t even think about that. I can’t believe I made another mistake! Rabbi, please give me another question.’
— ’Alright. Two men are coming out of a chimney. One’s face is clean, the other’s is dirty. Which man will wash his face?’
— ’Well... We just talked about it; both men will wash their faces.’
— ’You’re wrong yet again! Neither of the two men will wash his face. Think logically. The “dirty man“ will look at the man with a clean face. He will assume that his face is clean and won’t wash it. The ”clean man " will see that the “dirty man” is not washing his face and won’t wash it either.’
That answer upset the young man.
— ’Please rabbi, have some faith in me! I know that I’m clever enough to study the Talmud. Ask me something else’!
— ’Alright. Two men are coming out of a chimney...’
— ’Neither of them will wash his face’!
— ’You’re wrong, again. Have you realized that understanding Socrates is not enough for you to study the Talmud? Explain to me how two people are coming out of the chimney, and one man is dirty and another one is not? Don’t you see? This question is nonsense! If you spend you whole life asking the wrong questions, your answers will lead you nowhere.’


I understand that you have questions, clever ones at that, but I can assure you I am not the one you need to ask because I am learning just like everybody else. My understanding of things is constantly shifting and I like to think I’ve grown a bit since I have first began. I no longer agree with some of the things I have written in my beginnings but I don’t delete them because people should know that if it’s hard to agree even with your younger self how much harder it is to agree with someone else? 

This is part of my journey with Adonai. The fact that some of my thoughts end up in a blog is both a blessing and a pain, but I have known this all along and made my peace with it. I don’t expect sympathy or understanding, it is what it is. 

I like to write and I will continue to write for as long as Adonai allows me to and I am really grateful for each and every one of you that follows my posts. I don’t know if it helps anyone in any way, because most days I feel like I just incite people’s anger or snickering with my writing. I have days when I wish to stop. I’ve had them since I started this and I imagine I’ll question myself all the way to the end and that’s alright. I’m weird like that. 

There is a good news though and that is if anything I say offends you, or angers you or makes you feel so much better about yourself because you’re not as bad as me, then lo and behold, the big X in the far right corner of the page, click on it and you shall be free.

May Adonai bless you all!
Shalom!


Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prayer



Skeletons of past dreams stare me in the face.
I stare right back, my fears to chase,
Their mocking eyes are my disgrace
But I still know my place.

For I was born not once but twice,
My fate is not decided by some dice,
Regardless of how doubts my heart entice:
The King has looked me in the heart and paid the price.

You’re silent Adonai. My mocker’s loud
‘Where is your God?’, he taunts me proud
And I am mute, my head is bowed
Trying to remember everything I’ve vowed.

A coward under a sky made of steel
From thin air forgotten promises I unseal
Only to not lose hope or kneel
To smoke and mirrors that claim to be real.

Hear me HaShem, my faith is frail,
My prayers falter and my water’s stale,
I’m under siege, don’t let my enemy prevail,
Don’t let me fail You now… don’t let me fail…

If You but listen maybe I’ll walk a little further this time
And I won’t stop to make my non-sense rhyme.
If You but reach out, I know I’ll make the climb,
And tear down my regrets’ shrine.



Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה





Monday, March 13, 2017

Weirdo



“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Tehillim/ Psalms 139:13-16


I am weird. There is no way to sugarcoat it. I know it. People around me know it. Basically it’s not a secret. 
 I read a banner once that said “Sometimes I get so weird, I even freak myself out.” And I thought, ‘Yes! I’m not the only weirdo out there!’

Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t set out to be a weirdo. I just turned out to be one. Whether it’s because I was made that way or worked myself out into being one it’s anyone’s guess, but the fact remains, I am one.  And I’m OK with it. For the most part. I guess it becomes a problem when I’m in a group of people and they all seem to agree on some amazing truth or idea and I am always the one with the ‘yes, that’s true, BUT…’ And it’s amazing to see all eyes turn on you like ‘what is wrong with you?’ and instead of pointing out the obvious I choose to own it. I’m a weirdo. Get over it! 

For the longest time I tried to change. I thought, “I need to fix me. To make whatever makes me wrong, right.” So I began to search for people that I could look up to and imitate them. I tried to borrow things I admired about them and tried them on. That was a fiasco. I felt like David HaMelech when he tried on Shaul’s armor on. It didn’t fit. That just made me upset with HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, blessed is He). I was like, “Was it such a struggle to make me normal? I can’t walk like other people, or talk or reason. Basically I can’t do anything like other people. I try to be kind and it comes out offensive. I try to be good-natured and it comes out angry. I try to be loving and it comes out harsh. I try to smile and I look like I’m in pain. Seriously Adonai, what were You thinking?” And HaShem, blessed be His name forever, didn’t smite me on the spot for my audacity, but instead gave me time. Yes, time. Unimpressive as that might sound to untrained ears, it was time. And I chose to employ it but looking at all things I deemed weird. I thought, I will not look at people I think are weird because maybe they became that way because of their sins so maybe HaShem didn’t make them weird. So I looked at things in nature. And my goodness, there are a ton of weird creatures out there. You know for sure that Adonai has a great sense of humor just by looking at some of His creation. 

It stands to reason to conclude that if He created such diversity in fauna, flora and wild life in general, He also created humans diverse and some of them, let’s face it, just plain weird. 



 

 
Every now and then, just to make myself feel better I’ll read articles about strange creatures. Last week I was reading on Frozen Planet an article about the Woolly bear caterpillar. It’s got a fancy Ancient Greek name Gynaephora groenlandica, because of course if you give whatever species an Ancient Greek or Latin name, it immediately elevates the creature. 

Anyway, the Wooly bear caterpillar.

It’s always the first insect to appear after the snow retreats and the story of how it does so is truly astonishing. At the start of spring, the caterpillar eats as fast as it can, as indeed it must, for this far north, the season will be brief.
The days shorten only too soon, but the caterpillar has not yet got enough reserves to transform into a moth. It can’t leave the Arctic, for it can’t fly, so it settles down beneath a rock. The sun’s warmth rapidly dwindles. Beneath the rock, the caterpillar is out of the wind, but the cold penetrated deep into the ground. Soon, its heart stops beating. It ceases to breathe, and its body starts to freeze – first its gut, then its blood.
The following spring. After four months of darkness, the Arctic begins to thaw. And the caterpillar – rises from the dead. By the time the first shoots of willow appear in the early spring, the woolly bear is already eating. But no matter how fast the woolly bear eats, it will not have time to gather enough food this year, either, and the cold closes in once again.
Year after year, the caterpillar slows down in the autumn and then freezes solid. But eventually a very special spring arrives. This one will be its last. It’s now 14 years old – the world’s oldest caterpillar. Its remaining days now become frantic. It starts to weave a silk cocoon. Inside, its body is metamorphosing into one that can fly and search, abilities that will be crucial in the days ahead.
It’s waited over a decade for this spring and now, its time is near. All across the Arctic, moths are emerging. After completing their 14-year preparation, they now have just a few days to find a partner and mate.
No life illustrates more vividly the shortness of the Arctic spring or the struggle to survive in this most seasonal of places. – Borrowed fromThe Frozen Planet, written by David Attenborough

This caterpillar is unlike any others. It dies 7 to 14 times before it lives once. It knows it’s got wings somewhere inside itself, but regardless how hard it wishes or struggles it can’t make them appear. It can’t leave anywhere because it can’t fly away. So it dies every autumn and gets back to life every spring, hoping against all evidence of past experiences that this year might be the year it lives, only to die again. But one spring its hope is rewarded.
It might be dead for most of its life (yes, I am aware of the paradox) and utterly useless, but it’s got strength. Unbelievable strength. It has the ability to endure arctic cold. It’s got the ability to endure death time and time again. This caterpillar is amazing! Probably it feels every death as yet another failure. It doesn’t even know how amazing it is. Someone decided to take a look at it and record all its struggle and understand that it is amazing everything that this little creature endures and I can promise you, that one day someone will decide to take a look at everything that you endured or are enduring and think you're amazing.
If you judge this creature by its ability to fly when it is still just a caterpillar, you’ll be disappointed. If you judge it by its ability to travel great distances, you’ll be sorely unimpressed. It wasn’t made to travel great distances. It’s a little weirdo in a frozen place and it does the best it can to be what it’s supposed to be.
Adonai is wise. (I know you’re impressed by my exceptional observational skills. I’m trying, OK?)
I learn a lot about the way He is by looking at what He made. It’s like looking at a painting and getting a feeling about the artist.
He’s OK with creating things that are different. But He’s always just and merciful. He doesn’t place anything in an environment without equipping that creature with everything it needs to be what it has to be.
I might be weird. And my weirdness makes some laugh and others run for the hills, but that’s alright. HaShem knew what He did when He made me. So, I don’t need to look, or act, or think like everybody else. I am beautifully made the way I am. I don’t need to fix my weirdness, because there’s nothing to fix.
You might judge a bird by its ability to swim and you’ll notice its disappointing because it wasn’t made for that. You might judge me by whatever ability you think I should have and I can assure you I’ll disappoint you every time, because I wasn’t made for that.
I might admire people’s abilities in their environment and even learn from them, but I can’t be them. I am just me. And I am His. And I am weird. And that’s alright.

Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה