11 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 29, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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Banana What?    

Banana What?

Many people think the "Noahide" is type of leather. But, that's rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov places a big emphasis on...


I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that there is an experience that unites all B'nei Noach.  Regardless of age, race, socio-economic strata, gender, or nationality; Democrat, Republican, Cherokee, Israeli, former Christian, former Atheist.  It is the confused -- nay, incredulous -- face a person makes when hearing about B'nei Noach for the first time. 
"So what religion are you?"
"Well, OK, so you know what a Jew is right?" 
"Oh, so you're Jewish."
"No.  I believe in Judaism but.."
"So you're not a Jew."
"Right. See Jews have to follow 613 commandments and..."
"Yeah, I know, it's a lot.  And B'nei Noach follow only seven.  So.."
"Banana who?"
"No.  OK, so you know who Noah was, right?"
"The guy with the boat." 
"Yeah!  So there are some laws from the time of Noah, and...don't go!  I'm not crazy!"
When I first became a Bat Noach these reactions bothered me.  I'm not the kind of girl who appreciates being looked at like I'm a religious wacko.  I like my religion Orthodox and old school.  No make-it-up-as-we-go, new-fangled stuff.  When someone looks at me like I’m a member of a cult, not good.  Not confidence inspiring.  However, as wobbly as I was, I recovered from these awkward moments quickly.  Why?  Because Hashem reassured me with concrete, visceral results from my prayer- custom fit for my predicament.   
When I started talking to Hashem, I felt I had plugged in to a source of power that was alarming to me.  Previously, I thought religious people were talking to the sky or to something in their heads and that this somehow had a therapeutic effect.  I thought some of them were clearly bonkers.  And that most of them were a little bonkers.  What they believe in sounds like fiction, weird fiction.
But when I do what our rabbi says, even when I can not believe it will actually work, it works so thoroughly -- and often with such speed -- I know this “fiction” is true, like I know my mother loves me.  Example:  When my husband and I were doing in vitro fertilization -- I'm talking the kind that costs as much as a new car -- the doctors were throwing bills at us like confetti. 
"Ma’am, we've decided to give you an ultrasound today.  That'll be $464.  Cash.  Now.  And that's the discounted price so wipe that look off your face."  
We had tried for many years.  This was our chance.  Rabbi said to go for a walk and to tell God we need some help and that we need some money.  Truthfully, this seemed really tacky to me.  I mean money is dirty and God is clean and there are hungry people.  Surely a lightning bolt would fry me the second I opened my mouth to ask.  But I go and I explain the situation to Hashem, apologetically.    
The walk was uneventful.  Feeling slightly embarrassed, I closed the sliding door, at least feeling refreshed from the cool fall air, brushed the grass and the burrs off my jeans, meandered around the house for maybe ten minutes, and the phone rings. It's the mail order pharmaceutical company the doctor recommended to acquire the giant box (literally) of drugs that I would be administering from home.  The patient woman who'd been helping us decided to resubmit our drug order to the insurance company one more time, just for the heck of it.  This was a bill for an amount so large it'd pay for a few classes at an Ivy League school, for a procedure not covered in our state.  Period.  And guess what?  Despite the fact that the insurance company had just the day before categorically refused to pay for the drugs, they had agreed to cover our request.  She calculated how much money we saved on the first few items on the list and it was at two grand in a few seconds.  She was laughing and bubbly and was clearly loving the moment right there with me.   
Ten months later, a very chubby little boy was born.  And our lives went from black and white to color.
What tickles me most about how that specific event went down was how perfectly God knows me.  He knows that I can be quite shallow and that a sure-fire way to get my attention is to make money fall out of the sky so I can pay a bill.  There is nothing theoretical about a bill being paid.  And most importantly, there is nothing theoretical about the gorgeous toddler hanging out in our living room.  It all makes awkward religious discussions about bananas and Noah feel like nothing.  Knowing that Hashem will meet me right where I am -- with no pretense -- and that sometimes He even likes my plans is everything. 

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