Archive | September, 2012

Why Tea Is Magical

20 Sep

All you need is… tea.

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חג שמח!

16 Sep

Israel – where even the eggs wish you happy holidays… shana tova!
Pic via Yoni Cantor-Wiseman, FB 16/09/2012

Shana Tova

11 Sep

התעוררי התעוררי כי בא אורך קומי אורי עורי עורי שיר דברי כבוד ה עליך נגלה

 

The Hebrew month of Elul is in full swing, ‘the king is in the field’ and our souls are supposed to be limbering up for the New Year next week. This is the month we spend trying to come closer to G-d and those around us.  It’s supposed to be a time for reflection on the year gone by, on our actions and words and all that we have put ‘out there’.

I once learned that in Aramaic, ‘elul’ has a similar root to the word for ‘search’. This was always an idea I could tap into.  Every year, I dig deep as I sit in shul on Rosh Hashanah: what is it I want to communicate to God, as I sit here and pray? Gratitude? Frustration? Love? Acknowledgement? Anger? Fear? Bewilderment?  I feel grateful for the many blessings in my life.  The question is, grateful to who? 

It doesn’t inspire quite the same awe in me as it once did, this time of year. The ימים נוראים are only days away, and – dig as I deep – I’m not finding that surge, that jolt of spirituality that usually kicks me into gear at this time of year. 

This year, just concentrating on the words in my machzor will take an effort, but I’m willing to try and find that connection once again.  

One of the hardest things asked of us before Yom Kippur is to settle our differences with those around us, to ask forgiveness for those we may have insulted, harmed or wronged in the last year.  I always appreciated this idea, a time of Intentional Kindness.  Focusing on how I treat those around me, on how to be a better wife, friend, daughter, sister, cousin, neighbour and co-worker for a month is something I can connect to and find meaning in and might motivate me to really keep up those habits and changes all year.  

Therefore, if I have unintentionally offended or hurt you this year – well, I hope I’ve already apologised, but if not then I deeply apologise and ask for your forgiveness.  Wishing each and every one of you a sweet, fulfilling and happy new year.

Shana tova!

x

Squashed

1 Sep

Mishpachat Squash

Do you ever feel squashed? I mean, apart from the times your dog/little sister/older brother/husband/girlfriend bundles you and you can’t breathe. I mean by life. By routine and schedules and planning and saving. Squashed, like you’ve wiggled your way into a tunnel of blankets on a cold day and it’s cosy and safe, but then you wonder how you’d ever get out, knowing how cold it is out there. Maybe you’ll just stay here. It’s so nice and warm.

Sometimes it all seems so redundant. It’s nice and cosy in there, but you’re missing out on everything else! Unless you’re one of those snowboarding guys I met in Canada that time, chasing the snow the world-over, you probably also get up and go to work/studies every day, eat lunch around the same time every day, take coffee breaks, check work email from home, but save the ‘fun’ things for the weekend, like spending time with friends and family, and going on adventures.  A fortunate, semi-secure, comfortable but routine existence. Doesn’t it seem strange that this is how the world has been set-up, given that we have such a short time to live? 

This is probably how it’s going to be for a really long time to come. Knowing this is what makes me feel squashed!  We work and work and work to be able to enjoy ourselves once a year on a ‘break’. We ration our vacations and our ‘downtime’, because if we don’t work and save up and make lots of money, how will we do anything? But obviously when we’re so busy working and dedicating 10 hours a day to our jobs, there’s never actually time to do anything.

Just waiting to be taken on an adventure…

What’s the solution? There isn’t one. This is how society has been set up. We have to work, so we can afford to buy food from the supermarket, have a roof over our heads, pay our bills and occasionally do something fun. Of course, there’s always the possibility of packing it all in. Opting for a different kind of existence, learning to live with less. The thing is, it’s nice and warm in here. Maybe I’ll just stay.