(New to shabbos blessings? Learn more here. And don’t forget that I’m trying to get 8 more for the 8 nights of Hanukkah! Happy to accept via comment/facebook/email/text/smoke signal)
I gotta say, these days I’m grateful for my (self-imposed) weekly post. Life gets so busy and having time to write can definitely be a challenge. Still, I haven’t missed a Friday yet and I hope to keep that up! And hopefully to get a chance to actually finish one of the 4 or 5 posts I’ve started and had to abandon over the last few weeks.
Of course, a lot of what’s been keeping me busy is really fun stuff. Last night, I went with a bunch of folks to see Rogue One (no, people who know me well, I don’t know how I managed to wait a week after opening day either).
It was my first time at an Israeli movie theater, and I had a blast. Not least because watching a movie about x-wings in 3D IMAX is guaranteed to be fun.
In the meantime, Hanukkah is coming. Soon! Like, tomorrow night soon! Like, Christmas Eve/Hanukkah Night 1 extravaganza! Here, one gets a little more attention than the other. Since the movie theaters are not decked out with Christmas trees, they get dreidels instead. Very exciting stuff. And outside, we get giant menorahs.
But don’t worry, Christmas! I did find a Christmas tree…at the YMCA.
But most of the decorations up these days look a bit more like this:
Totally pretty, right? Just not what this American-raised kid is used to in mid-December. I’m really excited for Hanukkah here. We’ve got awesome lights and giant menorahs and fun selection of sufganiyot.
This coming week, on Wednesday night, my parents are arriving from California. My dad hasn’t been here since high school, and it will be my mom’s first trip. I’m so excited to show them around and spend time together. It’s crazy to think that this part of my time in Israel is already here. It felt quite far off when I got on the plane in September. Now, I’ve got less than a month left living in Jerusalem.
This week’s blessing relates to time. It comes from one of my first friends in college, a neighbor of mine my first year with whom I shared many a choir tour, music class, and meal at Cafe Mac. I was so delighted to see what she shared, because I find Kahlil Gibran’s writing to be deliciously vibrant and soul-filled. She shared his poem, “On Time:”
You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.
You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.
Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?
And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?
And is not time even as love is, undivided and spaceless?
But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,
And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.
That which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.
The words give me chills. I think back to a class most of my friends and I took in college, basically a “Physics for Poets” course. On the last day of the class, our professor, an old Korean man who was on his “last semester before retirement” for at least 5 years, gave a lecture in which he reminded each of us that we were made of star stuff. When I feel the world seeming too closed off or too pained or too terrible, I try to remember that. The makings of everything that once was are in everything that is. We are all tied to one another. As we look forward to throwing more light into the world beginning tomorrow night, I hope we can illuminate the star stuff within each of us.
Today, I’ve got an hour or so before heading off to synagogue where I’ll be helping to do some musical shabbat leading with classmates from Ziegler. For now, I’m admiring the little baby hanukkiah that I bought at the crazy-packed-with-shabbat-shoppers-and-birthright-kids shuk this morning. Come at me, Hanukkah!