Okay, I get it now.
Orient (n.)c.1300, “the East” (originally usually meaning what is now called the Mid-East), from O.Fr. orient (11c.), from L. orientem (nom. oriens) “the rising sun, the east, part of the sky where the sun rises,” originally “rising” (adj.), prp. of oriri “to rise” (see orchestra).
Travelling makes one so dis-oriented in general. On Monday, our DIL couldn’t find her rings, so there was a moment of sincere anxiety.
“Do you have any pockets?”
Problem solved sooo easily. Ironically, this was just after she had told us about how her grandmother, who was visiting from Miami, didn’t want to get out of bed because oh she was disoriented being out of her own world. And of course, that’s what happens when you’re old.
Next was ISHI’s turn. He forgot his carry-on case in the little one’s stroller. Thank G-d for cellphones and slow loading of kids into the car. They rendezvoused and delivered the case.
Next was my turn. The next morning, I couldn’t find my wedding ring. I had taken it off to wash my hands and I put my earrings on, but where was the ring? We turned the room upside down and I started a quiet panic. A friend of mine loses her wedding ring so often that she just buys a bunch so that she can always have one. I wasn’t willing to do that.
Of course, ISHI found it. It was under my big bag that I was readying for the day.
We were going to play tourist. Since we were staying a hopskipandajump from the Empire State Building, and neither of us had been there in let’s say 50 years, why not take advantage?
And so after the day before, when we were looking up and looking all around, Tuesday we spent looking down. I’ll throw just a few photos in, but I’ll save a few for later.
and maybe this one, too.
I really wanted to talk about why travel disorients you and why we need to be oriented. Now, we Jews always use Jerusalem as our center of orientation; I wrote about it here almost a year ago, in case you want to revisit. And let’s throw in Yehudah HaLevi’s beautiful poem that we read every Tisha B’Av:
My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West;
How can I taste what I eat and how could it be pleasing to me?
How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet
Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?
It would be easy for me to leave all the bounty of Spain —
As it is precious for me to behold the dust of the desolate sanctuary.
So then our youngest son writes this and it says it all:
After several months, our lift from Israel finally arrived. Now although it is somewhat exciting to see all these material objects, I can’t say I really missed them. Our kids weren’t going barefoot through the streets of Melbourne and our hands are adequately and organically moisturized. It’s amazing how much STUFF just accumulates. I mean, it is definitely nice to have my seforim, but I’ve managed with Bar-Ilan and the local Chabad library. And yes, there were lots of mementos that we were without, but new memories are being formed.
What really caught me off guard was how emotional I felt looking at the dirt still caked in the treads of our stroller and on the bottoms of our shoes. It’s just dirt, but it is one of the most precious things in the world.
Though I may be down under, my heart is still on aliyah.
May this be a Chodesh of goodness and redemption for all.
So when ISHI forgot his carry-on bag again Tuesday at the coffee shop and then his coffee mug when picking up the car today, should we have been surprised?