snapshots i didn’t take on Shabbat at my synagogue

We refrain from using mechanical and electronic tools on Shabbat (unless set up in advance to go on automatically…We don’t sit in the dark, unless we want to.). It’s refreshing and challenging, always.

And since I have become more and more aware of what [I think] would make a good photo composition, especially after being with the kiddies for a week and trying to grab as many photos as possible, it’s even more challenging to refrain.

Use the brain in new/old ways, kid. So what would I have snapped?

I saw the son, newly returned from Israel, who remarkably looks like his mother, with his longish hair and added height.

And I saw the fortunate, also having returned from sunny lands, with their healthy radiant cheeks, shivering a little in our still-cold space.

And the somewhat clueless fathers holding their happy babies.

And I saw the girls turning into young ladies, huddled together, looking at each other for clues of what to do next.

And I know there were many more, but I’ve already let them go. Or I just don’t remember where I filed them.

And then there are the conversations I had that also get changed with the fuzziness of time. Like the one with the couple about what I learned this Pesach. As I said I am paying more and more attention to the phrase “I am like 70 years old”, now that I have entered my 7th decade, the wife betrays her professional training with a look of horror. “Yes, I am!” “But you look so good!” “And then the husband adds in “um, she said 7th decade, not 70 years old.”

Yeah, that explains that. I don’t look that good for 60, but maybe for 70.

So what did I say, after the recovery?

As I get older, I understand the preciousness of time more and more. I understand the yo-yo-ing of using time wisely and then wanting to waste it, as if to say I don’t need to worry about it. So why would someone with a more advanced awareness of time be interested in this answer?

אָמַר לָהֶם רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה, הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְּבֶן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה, וְלֹא זָכִיתִי שֶׁתֵּאָמֵר יְצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם בַּלֵּילוֹת, עַד שֶׁדְּרָשָׁהּ בֶּן זוֹמָא:  שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר “לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת-יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ” (דברים טז,ג)–“יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ”, הַיָּמִים; “כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ”, הַלֵּילוֹת.  וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים “יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ”, הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה; “כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ”, לְהָבִיא אֶת יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ.

Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah said: “I am like a seventy-year old man and I have not
succeeded in understanding why the Exodus from Egypt should be mentioned at
night, until Ben Zoma explained it by quoting: “In order that you may remember
the day you left Egypt all the days of your life.” The Torah adds the world all to the
phrase the days of your life to indicate that the nights are meant as well. The sages
declare that “the days of your life” means the present world and “all ” includes the
messianic era.

So do you see why someone approaching that time of life would be attracted to the idea that life is much fuller than we were trained to think? Why sleep is a nuisance? Why the world to come is so enticing?

And then today, I saw this, from the The Week’s offering of the last review of Roger Ebert, who must have understood this as well:

A more conventional film would have assigned a plot to these characters and made their motivations more clear. Malick, who is surely one of the most romantic and spiritual of filmmakers, appears almost naked here before his audience, a man not able to conceal the depth of his vision.

“Well,” I asked myself, “why not?” Why must a film explain everything? Why must every motivation be spelled out? Aren’t many films fundamentally the same film, with only the specifics changed? Aren’t many of them telling the same story? Seeking perfection, we see what our dreams and hopes might look like. We realize they come as a gift through no power of our own, and if we lose them, isn’t that almost worse than never having had them in the first place?

There will be many who find “To the Wonder” elusive and too effervescent. They’ll be dissatisfied by a film that would rather evoke than supply. I understand that, and I think Terrence Malick does, too. But here he has attempted to reach more deeply than that: to reach beneath the surface, and find the soul in need. [Chicago Sun-Times]


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