Wednesday, November 04, 2009


One of my reasons for making Aliyah was the seasons. I could never reconcile myself with the fact than in Australia, when we went to synagogue and recited prayers for the beginning of a rainy season, it was the beginning of summer. At Pesach, we learned songs about spring time, just as autumn was beginning. It never made sense. I guess it must be something similar to the experience of being taught about a White Christmas while outside it's 45 degrees and everyone is heading to the beach.

However, I sort of thought that it never really made sense, our religion, being Jewish in the Southern Hemisphere. We have a harvest festival, our agricultural cycle, so much of the religion is based on seasons, and rituals which are dependant on time from the weekly Sabbath to the Sabbatical year, that I never really understood how everyone seemed so comfortable with the fact that our seasons down under never matched our religion. How they could pray with fervor for rain, when we all knew that outside this was not happening. I was told it was for Israel, we are praying for rain in Israel, we are celebrating the festival of the trees in Israel....this line was repeated and repeated to how could I not want to see how the seasons are in Israel???

The best place to experience the seasons in Israel is in the shuk. After becoming an experienced shuk shopper, you get to know the seasons...and now as the sky literally turned grey overnight, I know that soon I will be able to get some yummy strawberries for 5 shekel a kilo and savour them with some sinful nutella....I think I am starting to salivate like a pavlov dog...ooohhh...strawberries on easily my mind switches to food! It takes a finely tuned shuk shopper though to know that one week of the year when you can get limes...otherwise you're going to have to bring them back from overseas with you. None of this all year round availability of imported fruits and's all about the seasons...

It is at this appropriate time, that just a few weeks ago we celebrated sukkot, the festival of booths, where we give up our permanent houses for huts and brave the elements, to remind us of wandering in the desert, and what it's like to be outside. Sukkot (booths), pop up around the neighbourhood in Jerusalem everywhere that you could possibly stick one like on the side of building... (thanks Gary for the pic).

However, the most amazing part about Sukkot is that we read a section of the Tanach (Bible), Kohelet (Ecclesiastes)...and if we had not been paying attention to the seasons then it spells it out for us: Chapter 3

'To everything there is a Season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal, A time to break down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away.
A time to rend and a time to sew. a time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time for love and a time for hate. A time for war and a time for peace.'

Sometimes we need reminders that G-d is in charge, that there is something higher than us, higher than the weather that controls these things and brings them about when they are appropriate. You would never appreciate something or call it special if you had it all of the time.
Judaism is so steeped in time and seasons and its can't be ignored. You can;t even begin to possibly feel this in Australia and I would beg to argue that it definitely can't strengthen your faith, if what you are praying for is not being reflected around you. Judaism is a religion for the Northern Hemisphere.

I am always surprised when Summer ends. Like I thought that it would go on forever. My winter wardrobe has been swapped over...I saw the first doona is out of the cupboard. I have a bright eyed bushy tailed new flatmate who is looking at this new season with wonder and amazement...whereas cyncical old me is's winter again...and I wonder...
I wonder back to what it was like to experience my first Jerusalem winter when my fingers nearly froze off...I think that I read my cynicism as experience, whereas she reads it as lack of enthusiasm for Israel....but it's there, under the layers...expressed now a bit more complexly, it's been weathered a bit by some harsh conditions but it's definitely there...and I get a different highs now...I say shecheyanu on a cream-bo (a blessing which is recited on a special occasion, a cream bo is a biscuit marshmellow treat which is only sold in winter).

Timing is everything...timing is the only thing.
It may not have been right back then, and it may not be right now...but there is always a time to love someone...because even when you hate them, you wouldn't put in the effort if you didn't love them as well....

A special shout out to a new gorgeous beautiful baby Sarah are a gift from G-d at the perfect time and I hope that your parents receive much love from you, through many seasons....A small miracle to be thankful for...


Blogger Woke Up Alive Movie said...

Gila, I like your blog. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Kula, Hawaii

1:01 PM  

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