One of my learning curves has been my growing awareness of the need for closure. Not for nothing has there been a tradition of holding a siyum, a completion ceremony, for every finished unit of learning. Completing a part is not the same as completing a whole. Each stage needs to be acknowledged, reviewed, and incorporated into the next.
On completing Genesis, I felt the sense of wholeness-that the book had a unity from beginning to end, that my understanding at the closing was far more complex and deep than the sum of the different chapters. Thoughts were spinning in my head:
- Make a drawing/painting/artwork about the book as a whole.
- Write up a siyum, bringing together the various patterns and insights
Each idea seemed right; each seemed enticing. Seemed time-consuming.
On the other side was the imperative: Don’t stop. Keep up with the momentum. If you’ve completed Genesis, start Exodus—today!
So I did, pushing the big ideas to the side, for later, and jumping into the next book.
There were advantages to this: I started right away, without the three day break I've had with the closing of Exodus. But there were also disadvantages. My head was still in Genesis. I resented the change of ambiance and tone. I kept looking for the archetypal primordial personalities of Genesis in the teeming masses of Exodus.
And on the other side: when I finally got into Exodus, the need to create a closing for Genesis faded. “Later” never came. I have yet to type up my thoughts on Genesis; the closing collage I planned is still sitting on my desk.
So this time I would like to try something else.
If there is something I have learned in the course of this project is “perfect is the enemy of done.” I do want to create a closing piece, but I also want to keep up the Bibliodraw momentum. So I’m going to try a compromise. A quick Siyum, summarizing my sense of the book as a whole. A concentrate of my main insights, to be expanded upon when time and space provide. And a closure, which will hopefully release me to move on to Levitucus without feeling torn.
So here it comes… an unedited, freewrite Goodbye to Exodus