Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The timeless elegance of pearls of time

Yom revi'i, 28 Kislev 5773, Chanukah.

Life is a series of moments, strung together like pearls.

Sometimes, we hardly notice them, until a great strand is piled up behind us.  At other times, we are "in the moment," aware of everything around us, and a minute has the magical feeling of lasting for many more seconds than sixty.

Today, I was shopping with someone I love, helping her to find her very first appliances for her very first home.  An excellent fellow with children in Russia and Spain but none in Israel was waiting on us (singing snatches of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" as he looked up details about stoves and refrigerators for us).

Champagne Girl and I were having so much fun shopping that we not only didn't lose track of time -- we became very aware of it.  She was chattering away with me and the salesman and with Yeshiva Bochur on her cell phone.  Suddenly we realized that, for the last time in this century, we could make note of one of those multiple number moments.

At exactly 12:12 on the 12th of December in the year 2012, cell phone cameras were recording Champagne Girl's and Rutimizrachi's Amazing Appliance Adventure.

Even Anatoly, our salesman, realized the importance of the moment, and shared it with us.  (After the photo shoot, he went around the store telling everyone about the moment they had just missed.  His enthusiasm was very sweet.  And his service was great.)  I gave him a bracha that his children in Spain and his children in Russia, and all of his grandchildren, should join him soon in our holy Homeland.

The main thing I appreciate about the silly little exercise of the 12-12-12-12-12 photo op is the importance of every. single. moment.

Living mindfully.  Making it count.

In case we get too caught up in the wrong perspective on this moment, my sister reminds us of the following on her Facebook status (which she apparently got from a site called

It is, indeed, 12.12.12 for the Gregorians, but it is also:

Julian (Old Style) 2012-11-30 (Thursday, November 30, 2012)
Islamic (Moslem) 1434-01-29 (Muharram 29, 1434)
Hebrew (Jewish) 5773-09-29 (Kislev 29, 5773)
Mayan Long Count
Mayan Haab 13-15 (15 Mac)
Mayan Tzolkin 12-9 (9 Eb)
Old Hindu Solar 5113-08-29 (Vris'chika 29, 5113)
Old Hindu Lunar 5113-08-30 (Karttika 30, 5113))
Coptic 1729-04-04 (Kiyahk 4, 1729)
Ethiopian 2005-04-04 (Takhs'as' 4, 2005)
Jalaali 1391-09-23 (Azar 23, 1391)
Japanese Traditional "Kyureki" with CE 2012-11-01 (Taian, Shimotsuki 1, 2012)

Back to reality: We are approaching the fifth night of Chanukah.  This has always been a special night for our family.  We adopted this Chassidic custom years ago of observing this night of the holiday with special significance... and it is gratifying to us that our children still see the fifth night as something special.  It is the only night of Chanukah that can never fall on a Shabbat -- and yet it has its own special holiness, a brave light in the darkness.  We Jews can take strength in that holiness.  No matter how dark it gets, our job in the world is to add to the light.
One of our special bubas lighting her first "very own" menorah
This is a time to remember, as our future mechutan wrote in a beautiful d'var Torah, that too much geshem (rain) in the form of gashmiut (materialism) can drown us.  This is a time that should remind us of the inherent superiority of ruchniut (spirituality) as a pursuit in our lives.  So, yeah -- we went fridge shopping today.  But what we actually did was to connect with each other in a loving and fun way, with attention to each other's needs; to infect another human being with the love of the moment; to begin the process of building a bayit ne'eman biYisrael (a faithful and faith-filled home in Israel)!

May all of our strung-together moments be individually cherished like prized and polished pearls.

"I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up in the morning not knowing what's gonna happen or, who I'm gonna meet, where I'm gonna wind up. Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it. You don't know what hand you're gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you... to make each day count." ~ Jack Dawson, on board the "Titanic"

This post dedicated to a friend of mine, Alon Yarom ben BatSheva, who could use your prayers as he wages a mighty battle.  May he have a complete and speedy recovery, among all of the holy cholim of Am Yisrael.
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