Ayekah? It means – where are you? Unexpectedly, the sparks fly.
The question keeps appearing in Radical Judaism like a rallying cry:
So, where (the heck) are you?
This is an echo of God calling out to a guilty Adam in the Garden of Eden. (The Divine Interrogator was far less concerned with the whereabouts of Eve though she is fingered as the instigator of humanity’s first naughty deeds.)
Hey you – yes, you – where do you stand?
And what are you actually doing about it?
What responsibility are you assuming?
Is your voice being heard? What action are you taking?
Art Green says this is the defining moment; ayekah is the essential question to which the Jewish conscience must reply.
Several in our me’AZ study group – mostly those with secular and left-leaning upbringings – find this a seemly and welcome wake up call. But, one woman has a different take. She protests that all this emphasis on personal responsibility weighs us down with a life-long burden of guilt. “We can never live up to it,” she laments and I, like her, a daughter of the orthodox, know all too well what she means.
I make a mental note to invite her along to my yoga and meditation classes. There, the kindly teachers are forever reminding us that “we are enough.” Growing up, that’s not a message we often heard. Frankly, I can’t imagine what life would have been like if we had.