A Meditation During Quarantine

With great fondness, I remember growing up with the best TV cowboy show in the world:  Hopalong Cassidy, proudly riding his horse, Topper.  In the very early 1950s, Hopalong (Hoppie, as we his friends called him), was the personification of all that was good, holy, and American.  Though he was one of the few “good guys” who wore all black, including his hat, (aside from Lash LaRue), that was ok, because not only was his horse white, but Hoppie’s hair was white as well.

Recently I watched an old TV show in which a Hopalong Cassidy lunchbox appeared on the kitchen table. It reminded me of my own.  Even though I still have a Lone Ranger lunchbox, lunch at school tasted better in Hoppie’s.

I miss Hopalong Cassidy.  I miss knowing, at first glance, who were the good guys and who the villains.  I miss the neat compartments into which problems could be placed without any horrible “gray” areas, where good and bad blend together into a seemingly inseparable mixture.

I’m probably only reflecting the feelings of so many when I say that I miss the time when problems themselves, were simpler.

Even though I may miss my cowboy hero and simpler times, I know that wishing will not bring back neither those heroes nor those times.

Contrary to what many may think, homesickness is not a longing for a past home or neighborhood, rather, it’s a longing for a past time and era. Houses and neighborhoods become renovated, rebuilt, or even disappear, while our memories remain.

Life rarely moves in straight lines, no matter how much we may wish it to do so.  Rather, in its often-circuitous paths, it unfolds before us.  In the words of the Talmud: “Olam k’minhago nohaig- the world goes on its own way.”

 Or, in the ‘pre-Messianic’  observation of my 7 year old granddaughter who recently wrote:  “The world’s been going. It’s come to a stop because of the virus.  And then the world changes and starts again.  And then there will be no robbers. And no sick people.”

For her and all our sakes, I pray that day comes soon…but I’ll still miss my Hoppie lunchbox.

About the Author
Rabbi Norman S. Lipson is Founding Rabbi of Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, Florida. Israel advocacy and education have been in the forefront of Rabbi Lipson's more than 50 years in the rabbinate. Having led numerous Pilgrimages to Israel, he teaches about Israel and Judaism through inter-faith and adult education programs in South Florida. A graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he holds a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of two books: “How Many Memories Make a Minyan?” and “Rabbi, My Dog Ate My Shofar!” both available on Kindle Bookstore.