Sunday, July 5, 2009

Signs of Home

Yom rishon, 13 Tamuz 5769.

How do I know I'm really Home?  I can find mezuzah covers on sale at the hardware store.

There are mikva'ot on the path to the Holy Temple, so travelers won't have to wait in long lines to immerse prior to entering areas of sanctity.  (I can see the signs going up along Derech HaAvot any day now:  "Dip on the way!  Beat the rush!") 

My bank offers deeper insights into existence, as if a Heavenly voice were speaking directly to each patron.  (The sign says "Your tomorrow begins already today.")  Somehow in Hebrew, the message is inescapable. 

Even "you snooze, you lose" looks better in the holy tongue.  Or as we used to say less colorfully:  "He who hesitates is lost."  I don't think the saying was intended to sell BMWs.  But you have to admit, it makes you think.

The people, of course, tell more about Home than the signs do.

A young soldier lays tefillin at a booth in the central bus station.
At Home, an ancient beggar gives heartfelt brachot for health, happiness, wealth, Torah-observant children, and no ayin hara.

The flags for national holidays have the Magen David on them, and are hung by immigrants from the four quarters of the Earth.

People who make us nervous usually end up on posters sporting the trademark symbol of Arafat, yemach shemo, the kaffiyeh

Even signs advertising upcoming summer fun for kids are more delightful to me in Hebrew.  ("Caution:  there is color here."  Sounds so much cooler than "Caution:  wet paint.")

At Home, friends surprise one another by coming from four different street corners for a group hug.

And guys who were neighbors half a world a way plan how they're going to go about becoming neighbors again.
At Home, national football players drop by my apartment to make themselves a bite of lunch...
...and then it turns out that I am actually related to most of them...
...and when they act like national football heroes everywhere, I just roll my eyes, and go back to what I was doing.
(Sam, I'm pretty sure they learned this from you.  You're grounded for a week.  That'll fix you.)

And when one is truly at Home, she gets the privilege, now and then, of glimpsing the future of her people -- and it looks beautiful and healthy and strong, and very sweet.  That gives me a sense of peace.

These youths from Bat Ayin -- who could have spent the day with friends at the beach -- were near the Kotel, raising money and awareness for the family of the sweet boy who was murdered by an Arab terrorist just a few months ago.  May Hashem avenge his blood.  And may we share b'sorot tovot.

This post was in honor of the hostess of this week's issue of Haveil Havalim #224, The Fourth of July Weekend Edition, which is on the rack at Toby's place, A Time of the Signs.
Mezuzah covers:  used to house the small pieces of Torah-inscribed parchment found on the doorposts of Jewish homes and businesses
Mikva'ot:  ritual baths, for spiritual purification
Derech HaAvot:  Path of the Patriarchs -- the actual road traveled by our forefathers on the three pilgrimage festivals to the Holy Temple
Brachot:  blessings
Ayin hara: "evil eye," by some treated as a superstition; by others who see the world more spiritually and less physically, understood to be bad fortune that can be brought down onto one's head by the jealousy of others
Yemach shemo:  May his name be erased
B'sorot tovot:  Good tidings, good news
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