I have spent my entire life as a practicing Jew. That sounds rather sterile to me, it doesn’t have the life and energy I want it to have. Lawyers have a practice, doctors have a practice and here I am the practicing Jew.
Out of those three my description of myself seems to be the best if for no other reason than there seems to be the least amount of risk associated with it. I don’t want my doctor to practice on me, I want him to be an expert. But that is a topic for a different day.
I want to focus on the topic of the post, creating a “Moment in time.” This is something that is incredibly important to me. We spend much of our lives running in circles, rushing from place to place. It can be harmful and hurtful to ourselves and those around us because when we do not create a “Moment in time” we eventually reach a place in which we are less thoughtful, less feeling and less aware of what is happening around us. “Moments in time” are those occasions in which we are able to push aside the concerns of daily life and focus on ourselves, friends, family and the inner spirituality that connects us.
I think that it is fair to say that we have all had some “Moments in time.” And by that I would say an experience in which it seemed like time stood still. A moment in which you almost feel like you are standing outside of your body and watching yourself. They can be very intense and very powerful.
Now that may sound like a lot of crap, but I believe it. One of the components of Judaism is laid out in the 10 Commandments, it is the one that says that we should honor the sabbath and keep it holy. I paraphrased there because this is not about the language of that commandment, it is something else. We call it Shabbat, or Shabbos and it is specifically designed to serve as a “Moment in time” It is a respite, a break and a chance to recharge our batteries.
Shabbos is a time that I always love, but it has also been a challenge to me. I am not Shomer Shabbos, although I have spent many Shabboses with friends who are and am familiar with what that entails. I have some theological issues with some of the prohibitions, but again I don’t want to get into that.
Every Shabbos without fail I bless my children. Their mother and I work very hard to make this a “Moment in time” within a “Moment in time.” If we do our job this will be something that they forever remember and something that they will want us to continue doing for the rest of their lives. We light candles, we say kiddush, we wash and we say motzi. The idea is to create something that is holy, a “Moment in time.” And regardless of whether we find the derech or continue to wander across it, we have this time to set aside the concerns of the week and to just be.
But I would like to add that I have many “Moments in time” some of which are mine and mine alone and others I’ll share with you here.
Jerusalem 1985- We walk across the rooftops of the Old City and daven at the Kotel. It is my first Shabbos in Israel.
Watching the sunset in Tzfat in 1995.
Maui 1996- I am snorkeling in clear water and watching schools of fish and sea turtles float by.
The births of my children.
The funeral of a dear friend. We are literally burying the casket because it is a final tribute to him. And in my grief I still find time to be thankful to have had such a friend.
Sunsets and sunrises in Yosemite, Algonquin Provincial Park, Lake Casitas, Oahu, Maui, Lion’s Canyon, Baja California.
The weddings of some dear friends and so many more.
Other “Moments in time” include realizing that I was in love or no longer in love. A “Moment in time” does not always have to be a happy experience, but it is preferable. And it should always be something that reminds you in no uncertain terms that you are alive.
I tell my children all the time to live their lives, you only get one time around so pick a pony and enjoy the ride.