Showing posts from September, 2011

Knuckle Dragging my Way Home

After leaving my mother’s hospital bedside last week, I traveled south to visit my dad. I hadn’t really visited him since his funeral in October of 1996. We had some trouble finding his gravesite, as a marker was never installed… I sat on a bench, after finding the location of his grave, and talked to him about his wife, my mother. You see, she had decided not to be buried in their duel plot. She wanted to be in the mountains, closer to her ‘new’ life and her ‘new’ husband. I called her on the phone from the gravesite, looking out at the green fields covered with plaques and flower pots, and asked her again what she wanted to do if she was not to make it out of the surgery that she was due to receive in a day or two. I still don’t really understand her decision. Growing up, most of my friends, having come from broken homes, considered ‘my’ family the perfect family unit. I told my mom that she was going to have to explain her decision to Dad when she met him on the other side. I c

Far, Far Away and Letting the Flies In

It is Wednesday and I am sitting in a hospital room in Fresno, California. I have been in Fresno for almost a week now, running around, trying to catch up on all the pieces that have been floating about and, yes, sitting. This is a really weird place. Everything is flat for miles around. It is hot like the desert, but has lots of agriculture spattering the landscape between hotels, run-down ranch houses, and fast-food restaurants. Everything is really big here too, which is probably similar to the rest of America; I just don’t always remember it until I get back here and experience it for myself. Even though I have been under a lot of stress as of late, being here feels like having a fogginess that has descended upon my head. It could be jetlag, but I don’t think so. It seems to me that with comfort, plenty of room to move and to breathe, and lots of space, personal and otherwise, we just tend to expand out and fill it all up, just becoming kind of spiritually-psychologically less co


The other day, as I was praying, I looked out the sliding glass and saw one of the Arab workers, building a wall for a neighbor, across the street. We caught each other’s eye and looked briefly at one another, but right to the core. I realized, in that moment, that a whole world of ‘hidden to the naked eye’ information was flowing between us. My Tallit (prayer shawl) was up over my head with only my Tefillin (phylacteries) showing from under it. I knew that this man, this Muslim who was working across the street, saw deep into the nature of what I was attempting to do, that I was attempting to commune with the Creator of the Universe. He, after all, believes that there is ‘one’ Creator of everything too. In the second that we locked eyes, a praying Jew in the Holy Land and an Arab construction worker somewhere in the Middle East, it reminded me of a story I heard once about how in the 1700’s, the Vilna Goan, Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer of Vilna, was accused of assisting a Christian in abandon

The Parts of One and the Hole in the Backyard

On Sunday morning, after an amazing bike ride through the Roman ruin covered hills by my house, I threw out my back while trying to get into the car to go work. I usually walk to work, as it is a nice 30 minute walk for me, but I got a late start, so my wife offered to give me a lift. I could barely sit all day long. I should have stretched a little I guess. Well, it could also have been the weekend warrior syndrome from the days prior to that morning’s ride, just being generally out of shape, maybe the looming UN unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, or it could have been the stress of my mom being in the hospital for the last few weeks. Looking back on it, I think it must have been all of the above. Last Friday, my back had ‘already’ started to bother me as we drove down south to visit my son at the base in Beersheva. At the time, I figured that it was because of being stiff from digging a hole with my younger son and his friend in the backyard (yes, weekend warrior syndro

Death in the Garden, the Green Machine, and Elul

I read that a 55 year old surfer died while surfing Hurricane Irene off of New Smyrna, Florida. He was found face-down, floating. He had hit his head, receiving a large gash, and was later pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. Reading this article, I was reminded of a video that I once saw of a guy that actually made it on one of those hurricane waves in Florida; it is pure adrenaline to even watch something like that, much less ride it. Not that I could ever even consider it… but, there was that one time when I was a kid in California when I decided to take my 6’ 8” self modified pintail-gun out on a day that was way too big for me. You see, surfing becomes ‘kind of’ an addiction, causing a sort of deluded mental hysteria, and the bigger the waves, the more hysteria. Did you ever hear the word, ‘stoke?’ Yeah, that is just a buzzword for ‘adrenaline,’ as it pumps throughout your body, giving you a rush-buzz-stoke or whatever. The more your brain wants it, the easier it is to li