Hello from Mitzpe Yericho (The Jericho Overlook), our new home in Israel!
After years of talking, planning, organizing, waiting, and anticipating, we finally arrived at our new apartment in Mitzpe Yericho this past Tuesday night. The movers came on Thursday with our lift of 183 boxes. Why do we have so much stuff?? I’m writing to you now surrounded by stacks of boxes and piles of things that are waiting to be unpacked and put away. As much as our things are in a topsy-turvy state, we are as well. I think that an interesting phenomenon in this week’s parsha sums up how we are feeling. In chapter 10, verses 35-36, we find two Hebrew letter Nuns bracketing the verses, which begin: “When the Ark would journey….” We say these words, or actually sing them, when the Torah is taken out of the Ark to be read for the Torah reading — in other words, when the Ark is journeying. The bracketing Nuns are enlarged, upside down, and backwards.
These two verses are also considered to be their own book of the Torah that will eventually be expanded within the brackets to include the story of the journey of the Jewish people, and each individual, throughout history until the time of Mashiach. This book of Torah will be long and will tell each of our stories. In looking at the upside down and backwards nuns, I feel like the letters are a perfect description of how we are feeling at this point with our move, and how the journey of the Jewish people has been throughout history. Whenever people move, change jobs, start new lives, launch new businesses, or go from the place they were to the place they are heading toward, it’s disconcerting, unnerving, and overwhelming. We feel a little upside down and backwards as we get used to being in a new community, living with new neighbors in an apartment building, figuring out where things are, and trying to discover how we are meant to grow in this new place.
We are also so grateful to have this opportunity to live in the Land of Israel and to be close to our kids and grandchildren as well as many friends. And what comes with this new journey is…a journey that requires patience, courage, and faith. It’s a source of comfort that the second of the two bracketed verses says, “And when it rested, he would say, ‘Reside tranquilly, O, Hashem, among the myriad thousands of Israel.” Going on a journey, by definition means letting go of what you knew and embracing what you don’t yet know. Whenever we meet people here, the most common blessing is, “yishuv tov” or “yishuv kal,” which means you should have a good or easy settling, the same root in the phrase, ‘reside tranquilly.’
I will not be teaching my parsha class this Wednesday as we are attending a get-together for new members of the community to get to know one another. I will keep you posted as the journey continues…
Love and L’hitraot,