I am about to go to Texas and visit my son and future daughter-in-law, then hopefully go to Israel and study for several months. I will for sure see my younger son who is also studying in Jerusalem, but he’s got his experience and I’ll have mine. I can easily forget that as a mom…yet respecting his independence has a huge surprise benefit! I am planning a trip based on my interests as an adult, not just a mom!
Of course the Israel trip is up in the air. Only Israeli citizens are allowed into the country right now, but I am l planning as if I’m going. I.E. Getting my taxes done, house in order, dogs vaccinated, bills paid, etc.
I plan to study Judaism. Jew-day-ism. I’m not sure what these classes will be like, but I’m ready to immerse myself and find out. The programs I’ve chosen include chassidism teachings which I find joyful and inspiring, though I’ll study more traditional topics as well.
I have something important to tell you. My house is officially transactionally, functionally kosher! It happened last Monday, a week ago. I’d been building towards it seriously since Yom Kippur September 2020, slowly making changes. First I stopped mixing meat and dairy in my cooking. Then I started eating a lot of fish until I could find and buy kosher meat. Next I started buying kosher meat adding a small freezer to store it (it’s not easy to find kosher meat here!). I won’t keep going into the details, but last Monday, my wonderful Rabbi came over and took me over the finish-ish line! He kashered my pots and pans! I had already done my oven and other kitchen areas. I now am official!
I’d expect some big experience or felt change. It didn’t happen. Just seems normal.
But something interesting happened later that day.
I am VERY attached to my house. I selected this house before it was even for sale. I gave the owner my phone number in case his family ever decided to move. Two years later he called me. It is a nice house, not spectacular, I was just very drawn to it. I raised my kids here. And then, after my marriage split up, I redesigned the house as part of my working through a painful divorce. My house is my comfortable, peaceful place (along with our very happy trailer at the beach!).
I say all to this to explain that the thought of selling this house TEARS ME UP! I’ve even had multiple nightmares where I’ve sold the house, realized what a horrible mistake I’d made, and then grieved terribly in the dream. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!
The thought of leaving this house, not the neighborhood, not the town, but the house itself TEARS ME UP!
Right after my Rabbi left last Monday, I cleaned up a bit, got rid of some more dishes, pots, odds and ends that weren’t kosher, and looked around thinking, it’s the “Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. Who’d thunk kashering my home would bring me Ms. Kondo’s great De-cluttering success! I felt pretty darn good; I’d enjoy my home even more now with “less” junk.
Leaving to run an errand, I got into my car and looked at my pretty garden. Suddenly the thought popped into my head, “I could leave this house.” WHAT?! With no plans to sell or leave, at all…and yet, for the first time, I felt free in regards to my home.
It was weird. I had just made my home even more special, streamlined, less cluttered, had completed a six month to one year task…you’d think I’d feel even MORE attached. But no. The opposite. I could leave if I needed or wanted.
Not logical, it just unfolded and took me by surprise. I’d have thought my huge re-design would have had this effect. But instead it was a Rabbi dipping my pots, pans and utensils in boiling water!!
There is a Kabbalistic teaching (I think it’s “Kabbalistic”) that we are here to make this earth a dwelling place for the divine. “Bringing Heaven Down to Earth”. We do it in many ways such as doing acts of loving kindness, loving thy neighbor, AND through raising the holy sparks that are in every thing on earth, animate and inanimate. The teaching, if I understand, says that everything has a spark of the divine in it, and we can and are called to bring that spark out.
What occurred to me after the fact was that I did my job in this house. By kashering it, the holy sparks innate in the house have been released. I am free to go now.
I’ll probably stay here for a good while. Who knows, maybe for decades. Truly, I wouldn’t have guessed how good it would feel to know my meaning and my home come from inside me, from my actions, from my relationships, and that “home” travels wherever I go.
Of course, I can always kosherize the next place! That’d be the beach trailer. It’ll take a lot of scrubbing to clean out that old oven.
Hopefully Texas and Jerusalem will greet me before I take on scouring out that probably twenty or more year old stove.
More, always, to be revealed. I can’t even begin to imagine the adventures that await.
All my love, Vivi ©
Jerusalem Photo by Sander Crombach, Texas Photo by Enrique Macias, Bird Photo by Cole Keister, Kosher Pizza Photo by Nick Clement, Roof and Flower Photos by Vivi, Map Photo by Julentto Photography, Jerusalem Umbrella Photo by Daniel Newman