Purim is behind you and Pesach is in front of you! I haven’t been in touch for the longest time because I am busy keeping my head above water. Baruch Hashem I am busy!!!!
Years ago, I lived on a tiny Moshav in the north; my kids were babies and toddlers. They lived in babyland, and kept themselves occupied with their constant game of Search and Destroy. I found myself with empty hours. Some of them were spent walking through the Land, with a baby on my back and another strapped to my chest with an army pack, and a Big Girl holding each hand. The pace was very slow, and offered me the opportunity to really see the leaves as well as the trees. Other hours were spent at home, with my washing machine providing the only sound. I made a resolution. If Hashem would offer me a full menu of people to observe, hear, learn from, and give to, I would take them. I wanted the stress of making Shabbos for a full table, with adults, old people, people in need, people who are unusual, and people who are distressingly normal and regular. I would never complain about being busy. I learned that I love being awake and doing. Did I keep my side of it? More than I imagined, but less than I should have.
At times, however, I realize that the price isn’t cheap. I don’t always manage to keep the people I treasure the most in my life. I miss you (all of you -y'all as they would say in the South). When I write to y'all I see you in my mind’s eye, not necessarily as you are today. Some of you are grandmothers but I knew you when you were 19 and 19 you remain. Some of you are new, and in the process of figuring yourselves out. I don’t know if I will recognize you when you evolve into the Person You Want to Be.
I do manage to make time for Pesach.
Pesach is busy, and pre-Pesach us busier, I am fully aware that much of what I do is unnecessary. Every year I ask why I wash the walls, take down the paintings to wipe away a year’s worth of dust… Go through the pictures still again. The answer is that I want a new beginning, fresh, spic and span-New Start
Like our ancestors
Who turned their backs on everything that was choking them with familiar falsehoods?
Who threw away fantasy
All of this came to a head at Pesach, a time that in some ways is an unexpected crack in the wall of the familiar. Why in Nissan? Wouldn’t Tishrei be more natural?
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the creation of the world. The world came with an unwritten book of instructions. The name of the book is Nature. Its rules are pretty much inviolable. They reveal Hashem. To Avraham the revelation led to a passionate desire to find the Artist. It awakened his sense of being part of the picture, and he longed to find his place. He did so by learning to feel the connection to the Creator by being directly involved in showing love to His creations.
When Hashem turned us into a nation, at Pesach, He made His presence far more visible. The plagues were a resounding slap in the face to nature’s consistency. In order to be worthy of all of this revelation. If we weren’t really “there”, we would have been like deaf people at an opera watching the drama without understanding its meaning. If you were there, you would have found a way to show that we are willing to bring Hashem’s presence into the world. Maybe you would be like the wise son, who knew that there are pathways that lead you to where you want to go. Perhaps you would be like the simple son, who stood aside in wonder. Would you be like the wicked son, who engaged in meaningless wars of words to defend his passivity in the face of miracles. If you know him (or someone like him), keep him from trivializing what he saw. “Ground his teeth” by sharing your own experiences with him. Perhaps you would not even question the miracles that so easily become “normal” and let you close your heart to your souls
You would have been there when Hashem commanded us to keep Rosh Chodesh. This mitzvah tells you that it is up to you to discover the power of renewal.
You can do this in any life situation, in any place, and at any time in your life.
Begin by getting rid of the old assumptions; the chometz of your life. Move towards looking at the way Hashem reminds you of His presence by nature’s renewal. Here in Israel everything is green and very much alive. It seems that covid is taking less room and Hashem is giving us more inner and outer space to experience More.
Purim was a time of redefinition. Nothing played out according to plan. Here is another part of the story; Haman’s descendants converted and ended up teaching Torah in Bnei Brak!