I have a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Culture. I wrote my dissertation on a short biblical passage about adultery, and then traced its history of interpretation. But perhaps more than that, I used it as a way to explore the way that ancient people used metaphor and imagery to wrestle with complicated topics. Maybe their worries about marital infidelity were also a way to reconcile and understand a religion that was reinventing itself in the midst of a rapidly changing landscape. We humans seem constituted to use stories to teach us about the world— we can barely help it.
Over the past couple of decades, I’ve been privileged to teach at a wide range of schools and institutions. I’ve taught courses at Stanford University, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and Kehillah Jewish High School. I’ve also taught sections or guest-lectured at UCLA, Jewish Community High School of the Bay, Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, and volunteered in public school and homeschool classrooms and communities. Seeing a student light up with a new insight is one of the most rewarding experiences on the planet.
Anything that happens is probably worth thinking about more deeply. Some of the more powerful journeys I’ve been on include rescuing my marriage from a lifetime sentence of misery, parenting kids in trouble, experimenting with plant and energy medicines, and reclaiming my health through weight loss and fitness. If I had to write my entire life philosophy on a billboard, it might say, “Relentless Appetite for Self Improvement.” I don’t think I’ll ever stop striving to be a better human on the planet, and I’m willing to try just about anything, even meditation. (To be fair, I’ve tried this too. I’m at attempt #57 or so, but it still hasn’t stuck.)
If I had been asked to say what the book was about, I would have said that it was about how real love doesn’t look shiny and sparkly and how vulnerability is different than perfection. But this time I found a deeper argument about the limits of metaphor.