In rabbinical school, common advice from mentors included, “Always have a piece of pocket Torah.” Meaning, wherever you find yourself, be ready to share a Torah lesson, story, teaching or message. In a world with so much beauty, tragedy, hope and loss, there should always be a piece of Torah to share. And yet, visually, I think of someone’s pockets. At points in our lives, our pockets feel inside out, empty cloth triangles, revealing an inability to feel joy. Hollow pockets.
Or maybe I heard my mentors’ advice incorrectly. Not that we must always be prepared to give a word of Torah; rather, we must prepare ourselves to be filled with Torah. That even in the darkest moments, there must be room within our soul for lifting, growing, yearning, loving. Hollow pockets awaiting. Hallowed pockets filled with sanctity.
The famous Purim phrase is “v’nahafoch hu.” Everything in the Purim story goes the opposite way. The hero becomes the villain. The villain becomes the hero. Life turns so quickly; within the crash it is difficult to imagine a world without scars. And yet, v’nahafoch hu. Empty pockets can quickly be filled if we are willing to look at the world and breathe in its wonder.
May you always have a piece of pocket Torah. A willingness to remember that even empty pockets fill up.
Let your pockets fill with hope. Let your pockets fill with love.
You can also find Rabbi Guzik’s “A Bisl Torah” on The Jewish Journal’s website; click here to view the article.