A baby naming from this past weekend. The mother and father were explaining the names they have chosen for their beautiful new daughter, while trying to watch their 2 year old at the same time. The mom handed me the baby, spontaneously. Someone at the naming snapped this shot and emailed it to me.
Einstein famously said “if a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as it always seems to be. I know that my desk will never be one that is entirely clear. After all, where else would I put that article I’ve been meaning to look at for the last two years? At the same time, when I get crazy busy my desk gets messier and messier. Here it is after a busy week and a half stretch.
We are having a 70s themed Purim this year at the shul, and I spent part of the day hunting for some quality 70s duds. Here you see them – should certainly fit in with the evening! Along with a beard shaving, leaving just my mustache, I’ll be more 70s than I’ve been since – well, the 70s!
There is an old rabbinic tradition that Purim and Yom Kippur are opposite sides of the same coin. On Purim we feast, on Yom Kippur we fast. On Purim we laugh, on Yom Kippur we cry. And on Purim we dress up as who we are not, while on Yom Kippur we try to uncover who we truly are.
The truth is we need both. Days for serious reflection, for spiritual searching and growth of soul. But also days to just let go, to forget about it all, to look at life and all of its absurdity, and to laugh.
One thing is for sure. The outfit in this picture should work pretty well for Purim. For Yom Kippur? Not so much. Happy Purim!!
Each morning I walk our pooch around 6:15. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we leave the house, and he gently ambles around in the yard before walking around the neighborhood. On these days his routine never varies.
But Shabbat is different. When we leave the house on Saturday morning he runs as quickly as I will let him to a path that runs from our neighborhood to the local high school. He pulls me down the path, and on that one day he walks in an adjacent neighborhood and through the high school fields. For years I wondered – how did he know it was Shabbat? He only makes for that path on Saturday mornings.
My friend Steve Kravet helped me figure out how Brady knows that Shabbat is a day apart. He said that there must be something I do differently on Shabbat morning, something that is not done on any other morning of the week. Our dog recognizes this, knows it is a different day, and makes for the high school.
After thinking it over for a while, I realized what it is. It is not something I do on Shabbat, but instead something I don’t do on Saturday mornings that I do every other day of the week, right before walking Brady – make coffee!
Because of the prohibition of cooking on Shabbat, I don’t make coffee Saturday morning. At some point Brady realized that on the day I don’t make coffee he gets to go on a longer, more interesting walk. Maybe we can call it Brady’s Shabbat walk. And all because he ‘observed’ that Shabbat is a different day than any other day of the week.
I had a burial service today at Arlington National Cemetery. There are power spots in the world, where the very feeling of a place is in someway enhanced, where the energy is palpable. Arlington is such a place. There is a natural reverence for the sacred, for sacrifice, for freedom, and for America that is impossible to miss while there.
It also struck me today during the military honors of the service that what we want more than anything else from our mourning rituals is dignity. Comfort is important to us as well, but it is a much more illusive and personal experience. Dignity, however, is something we can create and control, and it enables us to honor the memory of those we lose even as we grieve, uncomforted.