Friday, August 24, 2012

Shabbat Shalom

Three weeks ago today I took this picture of the Kotel at 9:24 A.M. It was my third visit since I'd arrived two days earlier on Wednesday, yet it was the first day I brought my camera.  I wish I could walk there right now.  Since I've come back I've been trying to wrap my mind around the idea that G-d is everywhere.  That being the case I should be able to sit in holiness and be here in America. Yet I find it much harder.  Even the holy places here feel less holy than the holy places in Israel.

There's a statement in Brachot that says that if you dream that you are unclothed in Israel it is a bad dream but in Babylon that constitutes a good dream.  Rashi explains that the essence of Israel is holiness and purity, so to dream you are naked there means to be bare of goodness.  However, the essence of chutz la'aretz is a negative one, one from which it is best to be unattached.

I came across the picture above just now and it spoke to me.  In the past I have been advised against trying to convince some of those who don't "get" me of who I am.  I've been wisely advised against expecting certain people to change their perspectives.  In 1980 I learned an Arabic saying from my Rebbe Rav Nachman Kahane and it's stayed with me: "The dogs bark but the caravan goes on.  May it be G-d's will.  And may it be our will.

This afternoon I had a heart to heart talk with a dear friend who just suffered a tragic loss. In such situations one tries to listen as best as possible and yet feels that you can never listen well enough.  May my friend and his wife, and everyone, find some comfort in Shabbos. Blessed is the true judge.

I was hoping to finish The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye before Shabbos.  I have 14 pages, two chapters, left.  It's almost done - but I read slowly, I'll probably read the last of it on Shabbos.  I discovered it via a review right before I left for Israel.  I looked at enough of the review to get the idea that this novel was up my alley.  Reading it has paralleled a pilgrimage of my own.

I started reading it as my plane ascended the sky.  I was unfamiliar enough with it to be surprised by what happened right at the start.  I continued to read this lovely book throughout my Israel journey; a little in one cousin's basement, a little more in the her sister's upstairs guestroom, a bit on the long bus ride to and from Tzefat, some on my last hours in Israel in the Azrieli Center during my last hours in Israel for now, and as I flew back to New York Harold's hike across England took some twins and turns as it began winding down. This is a gorgeous book that I'll carry parts of into my like.  To me it's been a wow.

Shabbos is on her way.  I'm almost dressed.  Almost out the door. It's time to push the orange publish button and wish the world a Shabbat of Shalom.


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