In writing, I always tell my students that it is contrast that makes something interesting--that a poem or story that has contradictions is one that hits home the most. What I mean is that, sometimes one thing is necessary to bring out the other. Shakespeare did it with Foils and what's good enough to work for him, is good enough to work for them. And it is these contrasts that also work well in food (think chocolate covered pretzels). Last night I had vanilla gelato with aged balsamic vinegar on top. But don't try this one at home kiddies. Apparently it is the rare and aged vinegar from Italy's belly that makes this one work. Though, you know me, I'm going to try it with ice cream and the cheap grocery stuff just to make sure the waiter at Dino is right on the money. And it is also the time of the year to be thinking of contrasts--it's human nature to contradict ourselves. The Jewish Holidays always have me questioning who it is I am and who is it I want to be. When we were younger, being right was pretty much black and white---but I think this is misconception. G-d gives us the examples in the Torah of people being righteous and unjust and the decisions they make are not simple. Next month I will be teaching a workshop at the Jewish Literary festival and so I have been reading up on the ancestors. Particularly Abraham and Sarah. They fumble--they haven't been able to conceive and so Sarah gives Hagar to her husband--perhaps too soon, as G-d will help her later on. The sages discuss her lack of faith, but how much do we leave in G-d's hands and how long before we roll up our sleeves and do the best we can? I think there is a another story here, one that we don't talk about and one that may have some more relevance to us now. Though I'm by far not a scholar in these matters, I propose we interact more with these texts, to roll up our own sleeves and engage in the study of something that matters.
And in these matters, I need some help---if anyone knows of any poems that deal with Biblical texts, please pass them on to me as I'm looking for some examples for this workshop.