From the very beginning of my Succot break I found myself having an adventure, a Chavaya. Although I had been in Israel for Chagim last year, this is my first year as an ‘Israeli’ and so the experience is very different. This time I am on my own and finding my own way in life. Here is what I learnt and experienced over the past week.
I am currently living on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. I am only living here briefly for ulpan, therefore I made the decision to spend part of my Succot on the kibbutz.
On the kibbutz it was very quiet, however I was optimistic. I began to get ready for chag when I heard a sound of thunder. Being In Israel I was a little surprised, sure in England that would be a common sound to hear before Succot began, but in Israel? I looked out the window but saw no rain, so I thought to myself ‘perhaps it was just a car going over the rocky road’ which I had in fact just heard. So I continued o get ready. Chag came in and I began to walk with my friend to the Shul. We had just got out of the ulapn onto the road when the rain started to fall from the heavens. I ran inside quickly to grab my jacket, glad I had brought it along with me. It was raining incredibly strong, I almost felt like I was back in England. When we got to the shul it was beautiful, Children stood outside watching the rain with bright smiling faces. However all I could think was, ‘Are we still going to be able to sit in the succa tonight’. After shul we came out to see the weather was clear and succa was back on. Later when I got to Tzfat I learned that they to had a similar experience. The storm had blown some succas down but left them some time to fix it. I felt Hashem was revealing Himself in that moment, the rain could have stopped us but instead it ended at the exact moment we needed it to.
After chag was over I began to pack for my next destination. I had planned my trip so carefully, nothing could go wrong. The next day I set out for Tzfat. However I underestimated the timing of breakfast and other things. So when I left the kibbutz I had only 15 minutes to catch the bus I had planned for. Now this might not seem so bad, however to get to the bus stop there was only one thing to do… Hitchhike.
Before I continue I would like to say, it is fairly safe to grab a lift from our road on the kibbutz, there are three kibbuzim on the road and most cares are from there. Along with this we have been told which cars are good to take.
So the problem with the situation I was in, it can take 15 minutes or more to even get the ride, once you have it it doesn’t take long but you can be waiting a long time, especially with a suitcase. I was more than a little panicked. I was worried about missing my bus and getting late etc. I had just got out of the kibbutz when I saw the road was empty, no cars was going past in either direction, which only made things worse. So I decided that I couldn’t do this, and toke a minute to relax myself and look onto Hashem, ‘Man plans G-d laughs’ is a saying I heard many times, so I took a minute to realize I had to have faith. In that moment 2 cars came out of my kibbutz and one stopped in front of me, going to the place I needed to go. You could say that it was a coincidence, but I think different. There is no point worrying and panicking, if you have done your part then the only thing you can do is have faith in Hashem.
I got my bus to Tzfat and arrived in plenty of time. I was even able to go walk around the beautiful city before shabbat began. Shabbat in tzfat was an amazing experience. The succot were like nothing I had ever seen before. There were the slandered plastic covers with metal structure, and the wooden building. However, then there was a new kind of succa, with cloth. It was beautiful with there different colours and patterns. Chol hamoed I decided to go round to the artists. I had been to some previously and learned so much through their art. This time I went to a very talented pottery shop and heard not only his story but also his description of his work. It made me see art in a whole new light. If you have never experienced this type of art, I recommend going to Tzfat and asking the artists to describe to you their work.
The time came to finally say goodbye to Tzfat. We began to travel to a special festival in Modiin. This was another new experience. I had never been to one of these festivals before in Israel and was very excited. At the festival there were some very unique people. Including a stall that could tell you about yourself through handwriting and many other things like that. I learnt allot about myself through these.
My next adventure was to Ra’anana. It was a very standard shabbat with my Israel family. After shabbat I began again to pack ready to leave for my final journey back to the kibbutz. This journey was to be my biggest adventure. I got the bus back to my stop and began to prepare for the wait for my ride. However I managed to get one in seconds. At 1st I thought there was no room for me but the driver insisted there was. So I got in next to his 2 children. They were speaking English and we made small talk. He explained that they had a friend who was a lone soldier and asked if I was one, so I answered. When we were about to turn into the kibbutz he said to me ‘take my number and if you ever want to come to stay in Jerusalem you are welcome’ In a spur of the moment act, not wanting to spend shabbat on the kibbutz without my friends, I said ‘I was looking for somewhere for shabbat’ after a few seconds of thinking we turned around and headed back down the road. Now I want to say, I am very aware how dangerous this could have been… and I do not recommend it to anyone! I only did this because I was 99% sure that it would be safe and even then I was aware how stupid and naive it could have been.
We got to the home and he was incredibly kind, it was a small apartment where the children slept in one room and there was a mattress on the floor in the office. He cleared this mattress and gave up his bed so ‘I could have privacy’. I helped him to prepare the meal for lunch and when shabbat came in we went to shul. After shul we began to walk to his aunt where we were to have Friday night dinner. When I arrived I thought I had walked into a family gathering. Then one of my friends from the year before turned up. After being introduced to everyone I was glad to see one other person was not related. The next day after shul we had lunch in the apartment. He had invited some guests and it was very interesting to meet these new people. At the end of shabbat I helped the family by looking after the children allowing him to go out for the night, although it only turned out to be 1 hour. the next morning we said goodbye and I began my final journey back to the kibbutz, stopping at the Kotel before heading back.
So over Succot I learned many lessons.
1. Open your eyes to experience Hashems wonders
2. Have a faith, dont stress… if it is meant to be… it will be!
3. you can plan all you want but you need Hashem to help you through.
4. Open your eyes and ears to open your mind to new ideas.
5. question people about their story and work… you can learn allot.
6. open your mind to experience new things, its good to be careful but sometimes you need to let loose.