Thursday, December 08, 2011


I don't think I'm very prone to them, but every now and then I get hit my an experience that really gets to me. Perhaps because I live here, or perhaps because it is a font of experiences, these usually have something to do with being in Israel.

A few months back, I visited Hebron for the first time, for a conference. (I've been to next-door Kiryat Arba a few times, but not Hebron.) The conference was right next door to the Cave of Machpela, which, of course, I'd never seen before. From a physical point of view, it's an amazing structure on its own, built by Herod. But then, after the conference, we had a few minutes before the buses left, so I headed up to the Me'arah. It was closed, and as a kohein I wouldn't have gone in anyway, but the experience of just standing right in front of it suddenly hit me with a wave of emotion. I'm there! The burial place of the forefathers of our nation! I'm in Israel! Wow. I go to the Kotel all the time and have been up to the Har HaBayit quite a few times, but never felt anything like that. Why? Not 100% sure.

Last Motzai Shabbat, I davened Maariv in the Great Synagogue. Afterward, we said Kiddush Levana, and did that little dance afterwards. Now, I've done that every month for decades. And yet, here, again, I suddenly felt the place and the experience enter me. Again, don't ask me why, but there I was, in Yerushalayim, singing and dancing,

Last night, I led Maariv after the latest rehearsal for HMS Pinafore. (Do come! It's going to be a great show.) Our rehearsal space is in Talpiot, in south Jerusalem, and it randomly occurred to me that we were facing more north than east, something you never think about outside of Israel (mostly). It didn't really hit me, though, until Mincha of today, in the office of a major international accounting firm located across the hall from where I work. There, too, I considered how we should be facing southeast instead of straight east...and the idea that I'm close enough to the Makom HaMikdash for this to matter suddenly hit me. Amazing, isn't it?

1 comment:

Liz said...


Never been there myself, but really nice to hear you experienced it this way. SO amazing