On Shabbat morning, I woke up and our sink was on the floor. What does that mean? Let me show you.
“Why is our sink on the floor?” I thought to myself in disbelief. My husband had already left for synagogue, so I simply sat down to process the situation. I glanced at the sink, then I glanced outside the kitchen window. It was a beautiful day — blue skies, birds chirping and a breeze gently blowing the Israeli flag outside our window.
Then I glanced back at the sink. How can a sink even fall? We later learned that it had been slowly sinking, hence the layers of sealant apparent on the left side. (Someone even tried to seal the sink with newspaper!) Then I glanced back at the pristine view outside. The two images could not have been more different. But here in Israel, they kind of made sense together.
As I’ve written before, Israel is a land of extremes: extreme beauty, extreme chaos. Nothing seems to work, but at the same time, everything seems to work (spiritually speaking). The goal is to hold both extremes in our consciousness. We need to focus on the beauty and not get caught up in the chaos. At the same time, we can’t get so caught up in the beauty that we fail to deal with the chaos. Besides, we needed to get the sink fixed before Sukkot started in two days (and in this country, little happens until “Acharei haChagim” – after the holidays).
Luckily, our landlords found the perfect team for the job, and they graciously came the morning before the holiday. After a series of unfortunate events with service people — ranging from incompetence to theft — we were pleasantly surprised that this team did a great job AND were polite. They even asked permission before they used the bathroom!
Sukkot is also a holiday of extremes. We leave our homes and enter the fragile sukkah to re-experience our time in the Biblical wilderness. There, we encountered extreme vulnerability and extreme security — knowing we were protected by G-d in an unprotected place.
The same holds true today. We want to feel like we control our lives, but that feeling falls away as soon as a global pandemic strikes or the sink hits the floor. In the destruction, however, we uncover the truth: we never had control in the first place. True freedom lies in learning to let go, be vulnerable and embrace the uncertainty of our lives. The Universe has our back.
We bless you all with a balanced Sukkot, slowly falling into the awareness that we are safe even if we’re not in control. Check out the song “Falling Slowly” to get in the mood. (Okay, I’m not sure it’s a perfect fit, but it’s beautiful!)
PS: We got our money back from the thievery right before Rosh Hashana. Everyone likes to start the year off with a clean slate. As always, stay tuned for Part 6 of our Aliyah Adventures!