Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Succot, 5773. Israel.

Sometimes a bowl of cereal at 4:30 am really hits the spot.
Looking out the kitchen window while cutting a corner open in a new bag of milk, I see a man walking in the foggy street. Without glasses, I wasn't sure what I was seeing, but as he got closer to passing my house, I saw.
A man, my neighbor, an elderly, sweet man, walking, quite unhurried, with his tallis (prayer shawl) drawn over his head and shoulders, like a wise elder, focused on spirit and soul, and God.

In his hand was the long, narrow plastic holder for the "four species", on his way to the vatikin* minyan on this, the first day of chol hamoed succot.

I am home.

* "vatikin" is a word which literally means "the ancient ones", or elders. A vatikin minyan is a prayer group which starts praying at the crack of dawn. I assume it used to be comprised primarily of elders of the community, but in modern times it is there for anyone who wished to pray the morning service at the crack of dawn. I personally know that sometimes men choose this minyan (prayer group) so that they can come home early to take over child care so their wives go out to pray in later services without having the kids with her. Or, some men just prefer to pray at the crack of dawn. It is a very beautiful time of the day; quiet, serene, holy.


  1. I love your observations and descriptions! That second paragraph is classic! (And welcome home again)

  2. welcome home - and have a wonderful chag

  3. What a wonderful image you have drawn in my imagination. Thank you!
    Jackie (and welcome home!!)

  4. moadim lsimcha! and welcome home! succot in Israel is beautiful! rochel.

  5. Welcome back to our Holy Land with all its uniqueness and ancient traditions that are so real and beautiful and vibrant today! My goodness, even the language! We live today while touching yesteryears

  6. welcome home! There's nothing like Sukkot in Eretz Yisrael. It's funny, I have a British friend who tells me sleeping in a Sukkah is a rarity in rainy England... it's obviously meant for a different place. Enjoy!

    I miss you so much already! Your family must be so thrilled to have you home.
    xxxooo dev