It feels as if we've been climbing for generations upon generations to get here … and we're still not there yet. But … since we worked so hard over the years to get there, I just can't help but to ask, "Where is "there," anyways?" Are you lost yet? Don't worry, soon enough you will be … and deep in the desert of oblivion, salvation, and ultimate redemption … screeechh! Wait a second! That sounds just too loosey goosey for me. Let's back up to the week before cleaning the spring Khumetz … um … you don't know what a khumetz is, you say? Don't worry, khumetz is mostly irrelevant until it comes time to clean it, and it's too late to start now … or is it? No matter, let's continue. Let's start with khumetz. Essentially khumetz is the stuff of this paragraph, except for a couple of sentences, some at the beginning and this one at the end, which we just arrived at.
This story really begins while shopping in the local super market, when a very large man walked towards me while chewing noisily on a biscuit. He wore flip flops and a tank top with loose fitting shorts. He was singing to himself, which explains the noisy chewing, and had a distant stare with glazed over eyes. He passed me ... and then broke into song and dance for the Israeli woman behind the bakery counter, in Russian. When his performance was done, he sauntered away singing in Hebrew that he doesn't know Hebrew, English, Arabic, or French, only Russian. As he disappeared down the aisle, we all looked at each other quickly, each of us smiling from ear to ear, and then just went about our business.
I wrote this story down after it happened, and in the process of writing it I realized that I would probably make art out of it, since that's what I mostly do these days. I came to realize, while drawing the image that had been floating in my head, that the biscuit he had in his hands might have been the last biscuit that the singing man was going to get before Passover (Pesakh) arrived. He must have broken into song and dance on the spur of the moment, maybe even realizing the same thing; that, when Pesakh hits in Israel, the entire country changes its nature and becomes a different beast altogether. This is one of the amazing things about living in such an ancient land, amongst its ancient people, that we all share one of the longest histories in human history, and one that has enveloped the globe only to return to its indigenous homeland, the Land of Israel.
So … just to be clear and concise, khumetz is what we do and make most of the time in our lives. We get a week or so to be khumetz free, by cleaning the cracks of our lives, our minds, and our kitchens of the fluffy, empty stuff. This week we get to swim to the bottom of the pool's deep end, we get to fly into the ozone, we get to ride the biggest wave in the world, and we get to slide down the slopes of the universe from the top to its bottom. This week is 'all' about living in the real world, the one that was created for us to inhabit. And, the miraculous part of this entire procession though the desert is, those of us that are fortunate enough to have been able to erect our tent poles in Israel, 'we' get to do it TOGETHER in our ancestral HOMEland!
Thanks for reading and Moadim l'simcha!
For more artwork, please visit me at www.doronoll.com