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Three Moments that Touched Me

Friday, 4 September, 2020 - 1:07 pm

Untitled design (5).pngUsually when you say hello to someone and they respond, you don’t get all excited and emotional. Yet as El Al pilot Tal Becker who flew the first direct flight from Israel to the UAE described, that is exactly what happened when instead of being ignored, he was spoken back to by Saudi Air Traffic Controllers.

In his words “It was a very special moment for me. Usually I pass next to Saudi Arabian airspace and I talk to someone on air traffic control to alert them and there is no reply. Now for the first time they replied.” It was emotional as he realized the beauty of the moment as former enemies communicated on a very basic yet so vital manner and that enabled him to fly an El Al plane over Saudi skies.

Without getting in to all the politics of this and other ramifications of this deal, I found it to be a beautiful moment of hope and inspiration for a brighter and better future.

On that note, I would like to share two more special moments that I experienced this week. The first was when I dropped my daughter Chana off at her school in New York. Chana is very close with about two dozen other girls who live in communities around the USA and other countries and they hadn’t seen each other in six months since they all scattered back to their homes due to the Coronavirus.

Being able to watch the emotional joy of friends seeing each other for the first time in so many months and witnessing the depth of the happiness that it meant to each one of them, was a profound experience that made me so grateful for the friends that they have in life and for the amazing power of human friendship.

Lastly, yesterday I went to Israel to attend a wedding, well not quite in person, but at least via Zoom, as Shayna and myself joined the beautiful wedding celebration of Heila Myara of Sudbury / Israel and Nadav. The ocean waves and the sand dunes provided a stunning natural backdrop for this beautiful ceremony which seemed to have none of the usual wedding frills and large halls, but did have raw and pure happiness and joy.

It was a short ceremony but the joy even through Zoom was palpable and real. It was a powerful reminder that what causes the happiness and deep joy, is not necessarily the large halls, the glitz and the drama, rather it is joy of the inherent blessings of two special individuals beginning a life together and building a Jewish home. The smiles and emotions on the parents faces as they wed their children, despite the Corona, and walked them down the aisle to begin their lives together, was magnificent and a testimony of what runs at the core of our souls and human relationships.

(They played Yishai Ribo’s “Halev Sheli” at the end of the Chuppah, how fitting!)

As I think of the common thread of these three experiences, I think that they all illustrate a deeper side of the human dimension and ones that truly represent the blessings of life and what we are all so grateful for.

All this brings us to the opening theme of this week’s portion which describes the Mitzvah of separating and bringing Bikkurim, “First Fruits” as a thanksgiving offering for the blessings that one had been endowed with. While the Mitzvah involved dedicating some of the first fruits that one had grown as a gift to G-d, overall it encapsulated the critical importance of doing something tangible to give thanks and acknowledge the blessings in life.

It also illustrated that a simple reflection wasn’t enough for this Mitzvah, instead it was about actually doing something to express the thanks and making it verbal too through a declaration. In a sense it tells us that acknowledging the blessings is perhaps as critical as the blessings themselves.

Interestingly the Talmud tells us that after making the Thanksgiving Declaration, the person bringing the fruits would be wished “May you be able to repeat bringing this blessing next year too”.

In other words, acknowledging and tuning in to the blessings of life, is truly a recipe of discovering and revealing even more blessings.

It is my hope and prayer that the final two weeks of the current Jewish year, be full of opportunities for us to identify and acknowledge the blessings of life. G-d willing this perspective will be the harbinger of a new year which will bring all the blessings and healing that the world needs.

Good Shabbos


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