Friday, May 25, 2012

This is What it Feels Like...

You know how it is in the US as one of the major (non-Jewish) holidays approaches? You know how ALL you hear on the radio is the music, the talk of the sales, the ideas for cooking, etc.? You know how everyone at work is talking about nothing else?

You know how that used to make me feel?

Like an outsider. 

I used to think to myself, OK this is their country, it is basically about their religion, and we are here and we have a nice life, but we are not in our own country.  I'm happy for them that they are so excited. We have to live with the entire country revolving around those holidays.

And our holidays?

Well, we prepare we talk amongs ourselves, the radio and TV stations barely give it more than a passing mention, and we go to work where no one else is talking or thinking about our upcoming holiday and on erev yom tov we rush home and try to get ourselves mentally into it.

This, however, is what it feels like to approach a yom tov in Israel:

  • The radio announcers mention how many days it is until Shavuot
  • The DJs on the rock station have a morning debate about which blintz is best, and mention that everyone should remember that it is "z'man matan Torateinu" (yes, this is a real rock station)
  • The supermarket has fixings for blintzes and cheese cake as soon as you walk in, and Shavuot specials on every aisle ("Bargain!  For Shavuot!" signs are everywhere)
  • Flower stalls pop up all along roadsides, and most of the flowers are white, with stalks of wheat in them
  • You go to the mall on Erev Shabbos and they have a harpist and a flutist playing special music to welcome the chag
  • EVERYONE in the mall is buying flowers, cheesecakes, etc. at the little stands that go up every Friday right in the middle of the mall

In short, the preparation for a chag is country wide - by the time you get to the chag, you and everyone around you has been talking about it for days / weeks, and everyone is into it. 

You know how that makes me feel?

Like (I know, I know, I've said this before, stop rolling your eyes) I'm home, for the first time ever. 

I never understood what people meant by this.  It is not something one can easily describe, sort of a feeling of rightness like you've never felt before, and a feeling of such pride and love that sometimes the littlest thing can bring tears to your eyes.

Today I saw a chayal, his rifle slung over his shoulder, walking in the mall with an elderly woman holding onto his arm.  They were speaking softly to one another, smiling and laughing, and she looked so proud of him.  They had packages of flowers and cakes. 

That is Israel, where everyone you see is family, and everyone is home.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog. And don't forget, only 1 day of chag! The way G-d intended!