On the last evening of our little getaway last week, we went to visit an old friend in North Adams. Before we went to her loft, where she does her art, we went to Williamstown to walk around a bit. Here’s a photo in front of the art museum connected to the university; we had just missed seeing the inside, but seeing this would actually be more meaningful, after the fact.
When I opened my eyes.
When we met up with my old friend, who I haven’t seen in 37 years (!), I was listening to her, but thinking very loudly in my head about our choices that we’ve made. She had never wanted to have children; she thought that bringing children into this broken world was cruel and unjust. She never married, either, although she has had significant partners over the years. She was born Jewish, but embraced the study of yoga and has followed teachers around. She has done well in terms of being an artist/artisan, enough to have bought properties in different cities with the flexibility of travelling a lot to see friends all over and study in different locales.
Me? It’s pretty much all about the family, the community, the heritage. Pretty tame, pretty boring. At least I was thinking it was to her.
Maybe it came down to the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.
I do really really hope she is happy and content.
But for me? I was feeling very very grateful.
I’m re-posting from last year a bit about counting blessings, where I translate the prayer supplication following the lighting of the Shabbat candles:
May it be Your will, Lord my God and God of my fathers, to be gracious to me (and to ISHI, my sons, my daughters, my father, and my mother) and to all my family; grant us and all Israel good and long life; remember us for good and blessing; consider us for salvation and compassion; bless us with great blessings; make our household complete, and may You cause Your Divine Presence to dwell among us. Make me worthy to raise learned children and grandchildren, who are wise and understanding, who love and fear God, people of truth, holy and attached to God, enlightening the world with Torah and goodness and service of our Creator. Please hear our prayers, in the merit of our matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, and ensure that the glow of our lives will never be dimmed. Shine Your face upon us and we will be redeemed. Amen.
So this past Friday night, as I was lighting the candles once again, I once again was startled by the phrase
ותברכנו ברכות גדולות
You can see that I highlighted the phrase inside.
What in the world are great blessings?
In Hebrew, I think it should read רבות, many blessings.
So again, what are we asking?
And even more, when we wish each other a good new year, and we add all kinds of phrases, what are we asking and what are we doing?
We’re going off now to help our son and DIL move into their new apartment.
And after that, we’re going to the last wedding of the season.
That is enough of blessing for now.
I’ll continue with this soon and tell you the punch line.