Even though October was supposed to be the busy month, November is shaking up to be even more crazy. Between wedding plans, signings, work travel, and three bar mitzvahs, I'm seriously scheduled.
Take a look!
Nov 6 (TONIGHT): New Voices Reading at the Dartmouth Bookstore, Hanover, NH. I'll be reading with ACE Bauer, Heather Tomlinson, Carrie Jones, Jo Knowles, and Greg Fishbone!
Nov 7: We do it again at THE FLYING PIG, Elizabeth Bluemle's amazing bookstore in Essex, VT!!! And she is bringing PIZZA!!!
NCTE goings on: I'll be signing at the ROARING BROOK PRESS booth at 3pm on Saturday, Nov 18. Prior to that, come hear an interesting lecture on Teaching with a Social Conscience.
And on Sunday, Nov 19, I'll be wearing all three of my hats: writer, sales person, and consumer, in a lecture, "It's not what your publisher can do for you, but what you can do for your publisher," at the JEWISH CHILDREN'S WRITERS BOOK CONFERENCE at the 92nd St Y! (If I didn't have a podium, I would have worn all my different SHOES....)
Dec 11-17: I'll be working the floor at the URJ Biennial in San Diego. I have free time on Friday night and Saturday, so if anyone out there would like to talk books, please let me know!
Know a great DJ in Portsmouth, NH? Please let me know.
This week, the official planning for the 4th (where does the time go) Novel Writing Retreat at Vermont College begins..
So mark your calendars: May 16-18.
Get FREE copies of HEAD CASE! Check out Book Chic on myspace or TeensReadToo for info!
And last: here is E's sermon! I think it is awesome. Enjoy the day!
Abraham’s binding of Isaac is one of the most confusing and discussed stories in the Torah. In the parsha, God tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his youngest son, to God. Abraham does not argue with God. He doesn’t complain one bit. He doesn’t ask God questions. Instead, Abraham simply follows God’s commands. He gets Isaac and takes him alone up the mountain. The only thing he says to God is Hineini—Here I am. Isaac asks where is the sacrifice. When Abraham says, “God will provide,” Isaac goes along. Without any argument, he follows his father up the mountain to be sacrificed to God.
It makes no sense. God had told Abraham that he would found a whole generation—how could you do this if your only child was dead? Abraham was already old—too old to have another son. What kind of father would kill his own son? What kind of son would walk up the hill knowing that he was going to be killed by his father?
It seems wrong, but no one says anything.
In the end, it works out. A messenger of God stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. A ram appears and Abraham sacrifices the animal instead of Isaac to God.
I think Abraham must have felt extremely sad and scared. He loved God, but he was Isaac’s father. He had already sent his other son, Ishmael, away. How could God ask him to do this? How could God have thought that Abraham would do it? God was not being fair. He was asking something completely unreasonable. It’s like they were both daring the other and neither one of them would back down.
Do you think God wanted Abraham to back down?
Do you think Abraham wanted God to back down?
Luckily for us, the angel stopped Abraham. I have a theory about this. I think Sarah was the Angel. Although we can’t know this for sure, I bet Abraham told his wife what he had been asked to do. Or maybe God talked to Sarah. We know that Sarah is dead when Abraham returns. I think she died during the Akeda and rescued her son.
Moms do a lot of things to help their children. Even in Harry Potter, Harry stays alive thanks to the magic of his mother’s love. The only way Sarah could convince Abraham not to be obedient was to become a messenger of God—an angel.
I think Abraham was a bit too obedient. It’s good to be obedient, but not obedient enough to kill someone. I think he took it too far, and that he was lucky that the Angel showed up. I think the Torah is telling us that it’s dangerous to always just say yes.
I try to live by the rules. I like rules, because without them, we would be disorganized. I would be disorganized. But sometimes, the rules are hard to follow. Sometimes, they need to be challenged. No one likes to admit they made a mistake, but sometimes we have to. I think this parsha shows that God is okay with that.
When you’re becoming a bar mitzvah, there are a lot of rules. There are a lot of things you have to practice. And you can’t always do what you want to do. But you get a lot of joy from being part of the community and getting the task done. When you get a bar mitzvah, you also earn the responsibility to ask questions.
I would like to thank:
My mom and dad
All my teachers
My sister, Michael and my entire family
Everyone who came to share this day with me.
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