Thursday, January 24, 2008

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Aliyah: Forest and Trees, Jerusalem and a Fish

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Sometimes, it's hard to connect. Am I looking at the forest, or lost in the trees? Here I am in Eretz HaKodesh, the Holy Land, Eretz Yisroel, the Land of Israel, the land G-d promised to Avraham, to Yitzchok, to Yaakov, and I'm worried about...schools, and fish...

Every step walked in Eretz Yisroel is a mitzvah. I returned a rental car near the Old City and began to walk. Now, I'm not much of a walker. I'm the kind of guy who jumped in the car to go across the street. Walking was strictly a Shabbos activity.

Now, there may be certain, umm, girth oriented negative effects of that lifestyle. But hey, time is money, who has time to actually, like, walk.

But today, in the Holy City, in the Holy Land, I began to...walk. Down the hill, up the hill, through Ben Yehuda (some weird undecipherable protest going by, they're actually holding the signs upside down and chanting something incomprehensible, guess it makes them feel better), up to the shuk. Huffing, puffing, no no, just pausing for the view.

Ahh, the shuk. My wife commented, lets stop and get some fish. No place in Israel to get fish like the shuk! Live, or fresh, or frozen, they've got it. Picked a nice big hunk of neelus (tilapiah, super jumbo size, in the US you get these little 1 person fillets, in Israel you get these huge 40 pound fish that come from Kenya, and you take a hunk) and some fresh salamon (salmon, Israeli pronunciation) from Norway. It was a nice, but pricey, purchase.

Heavier with fish and a few other shuk treats, we continued our journey on to the Central Bus Station. No no, it's not heavy, I'm in great shape, just pausing to take in the view of the Knesset.

Hop on a bus, take a ride home, it's actually nice to enjoy the view rather than be worried about the traffic.

We get off the bus, the fish is gone. Fish for Shabbos, fish for the week, two or three weeks of fish, it's just vanished. Had it when we got on, gone as we went to get off.

Gam zu le'tova, this too is for the best, zol zein a kapara, it should be accepted as a recompense for punishment.

So that's it. I'm worried about fish (where'd we leave that fish? Is it stinking up a corner somewhere, did someone take our package by accident, I mean, you can't go to the lost and found for a bag of fish?) and schools, getting my children in a good schooling situation. The latter is being surprisingly difficult, arriving in the middle of the school year is apparently bad practice.

And so, I miss the forest while I run around the trees.

(Original photo by Akiva: The synagogue stall in the Jerusalem shuk, at Minchah time.)

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