Sarah Kay’s “B” and Kabbalah

B book


Partial Cover of Sarah Kay’s Book “B

By Yonatan Gordon

There is one point I left off yesterday’s post about Sarah Kay’s TED speech, “If I should have a daughter …” It’s actually the most marketed concept of her poem as it began her performance, and is the title of her 2011 book of poetry. The concept is what she calls “B.”

In her words:

If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom,” she’s gonna call me “Point B,” because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me.

What question we can ask on this? Sequentially speaking, shouldn’t the next generation be called “B” and not “A”? People today are into evolutionary thinking. The common perception is that somehow the future installment or edition of something is more enhanced and improved than the previous version. If you go to a software developer or evolutionary biologist what would they say? That we had A and now we evolved into B. While A was closer to the origin of the species (or the technology, etc…) now we are better off with B.

What does it mean to classify the next generation as the A to the prior generation’s B? As Sarah goes on to say it has to do with who we put at the center of our solar system– ourselves or our children.

To quote again:

And I’m going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

Forgetting about the painting on the hands imagery, what is the inner concept being presented in these opening verses?

First: There is something called wonder. Teach your child about the wondrous nature of creation. Kabbalah corresponds wonder to faith. So implicit to this discussion is the importance of instilling simple faith in God.

Second: Don’t think that you as the parent are at the center and your child orbiting on the periphery. Show them the vastness of creation by placing them at the center.

Already we can appreciate the relativistic nature of the “B” concept … a scientific relativism that was discussed at length in our recent entry Torah Journalism.

To sum up that discussion for our present purposes:

What does it mean to place one’s child at Point A? We already mentioned several benefits, but as explained in Torah Journalism, it means to wish that the center of the solar system (our children) should grow up to be holy. As the Holy Ruzhiner said, all depends on the service of the tzadikim (righteous persons). To place the child at the center takes selfless parents, but the foremost reason for why this is done is so that the child should grow up in holiness. A child that recognizes their true origin as a creation of God.

This is the inner reason why this video has attracted 6.6. million plus views  thus far. People are tired of evolutionary talk. This speech went counter to that. And received two standing ovations, millions of views, and an organization she called Project VOICE as a result.



3 thoughts on “Sarah Kay’s “B” and Kabbalah

  1. Not that I’m not fascinated by your commentary… I got out of it that she put herself at B due to the fact that in all such examples of travel, point A is always where you start and point B is always where you’re trying to get to… and point C is the distraction along the way 😉

    • Thank you for your comment! God willing tonight I’ll be able to write part three, which explains the other three primary concepts associated with the letter “B.” But related to your specific question, you are correct of course that in travel Point A is the starting point and Point B the destination. The counter-intuitive aspect of Kay’s poem is that the children are the starting point and not the parent. This jives very well with the way Jewish tradition views the world … hence the essay. 🙂

      What would we call a distraction in this model? For the evolutionist presumably it is the “distractions” of the old, out-dated generation. But in our approach, which is the inner intuition behind Kay’s approach, the “distraction” is the divide between generations. But teaching children to connect to a creationist view of the world, to connect them to their origins as a creation of God, also has the effect of connecting and tying generations together in a close bond of purpose. When A is taken in a temporal, sequential sense … then we may be led to think that B is better. But the A of Kay’s poem is a continual A that connects to the continual recreation of the world.

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