I received MANY emails and comments on my last posting about celebrating a One-Day Chag. Most of the comments/emails were in the form of telling me that a two-day Chag is great, and I shouldn't be so happy about one-day. Many writers felt that the implication was that I was slamming those who were in Galut and keeping two days. SO...let's be clear: MY note was about my feelings about keeping one-day and, therefore, experiencing an even closer and deeper connection to Israel and our absorption here. My comment in no way was reflecting on what people were doing in Chutz La'aretz. Please go back and re-read the last posting and no where will you find a negative comment about keeping two days in Chutz La'aretz. I hope that clears this up...
Now, onto Chol HaMoed and what has been going on here...BUSY!!
Sunday, Day #1 of Chol Hamoed...After a nice meal with our family and my in-laws at Village Green, we got together with Fred and Adina Aaron and family for a while. It was great to see them and others from Chicago on our outing and we were thrilled to have them visit us in MA. Towards the latter part of the day, we were to meet some friends in Ramot Gimel for an Open Sukka, but we were kind of early so we went first to Machane Yehuda (open market). As we had not eaten in a long time and were not going to for a while, we bought a couple of small items to tide us over. But, as some was Mezonot, I needed a Sukka in which to eat...no problem! In Yerushalayim, there is a plethora of Sukkot. But we stumbled on a Chabad Public Sukka and made fast friends with some guys learning in Yeshivot for the year. Some young children offered us water and were truly thrilled to welcome us to "their" Sukka. I love it! Then, it was off to the Sukka party and then back home for some much needed rest.
Today, Wednesday was incredible once again, as I made my way to J'lem early to go to the Kotel. There, I participated, along with about 50,000 other people, in the public Birkat Kohanim (priestly blessing). It was a VERY moving experience. I took many pictures and videos and hope to get my act together and post some of them soon. The last time I was at this event was when I was 13 years old. I guess I should attend once every 37 years or so!
This afternoon, Andy and I attended the Annual World Mizrachi Sukka gathering. To be honest, I thought it would be 50 people with light refreshments. Wow, was I wrong! About 400 people with a gorgeous meal in a beautiful Sukka was what greeted us. The food and live music were great and we truly had a wonderful time. One MAJOR purpose of this gathering was to act as a prelude to tomorrow's event...a Sefer Torah was finished today in the Sukka (actually, it was already finished, because it is Chol HaMoed and they would not be able to actually write the letters today. Instead, many of us, myself included, had the opportunity to go over some letters to "finish" the Torah.) Then, tomorrow, I will be joining approximately 500 people going to a Yishuv in the Negev called Bnei Netzarim-Halutza where this Torah will be given all the proper honors of a Hachnassat Sefer Torah. The beauty of this event is that this community is made up of people who had been thrown out/evicted from Gush Katif and whose lives had been uprooted and (in some cases) destroyed as a result of the events of Summer 2005. (The government STILL has not righted the wrongs of that summer, vis-a-vis those who were thrown out). I look forward to attending this occassion tomorrow. In the meantime, we are now off to ANOTHER open Sukka in our neighborhood.
Best wishes for a Moadim L'Simcha!