This line from Ezekiel 36 was a big theme of my weekend; First I read it in Rabbi Naomi Levy’s “Einstein and the Rabbi,” then it was the Haftorah at services on Saturday morning. I recognize myself in this line; it is mimetic of the way grief transformed my life.

Rabbi Levy wrote of a congregant of hers who, while driving her car, lost her attention for a few seconds and killed a man. I lost my attention for a few seconds and a man killed my daughter. My heart turned to stone, ossified by a guilt I was certain never could be assuaged. But here it gets interesting. Rabbi Levy says the mystics identify the source of love not as the heart, but as the soul.

The heart’s job is to receive love, not give it. The pain of Eva’s loss turned my heart to stone. I could not receive love, yet I was not abandoned by those I love. It was their love that ultimately broke the stone.

As I get older, I’m ever more awed by Judaism’s vibrancy, the way so many life events are reflected in its traditions and practices. Judaism has a generous capacity to touch me over and over again whether by practice or by a seeming happenstance such as taking this particular book out of my reading stack on this particular weekend.

Turning a Heart of Stone into a Heart of Flesh