Torah study
A visit to Keneseth Eliyahoo

Pre-trip blessings

Yesterday before services, I spotted a male cardinal in the bare branches of the enormous willow outside the sanctuary. We clustered at the window and marveled. There's something amazing about the vividness of the red bird against yellow branches, snowy earth, blue sky.

Yesterday during services, I got two blessings: one after my aliyah (that I might nurture the ability to be compassionate, as God is compassionate) and one after the Torah reading, when I was called up to receive a blessing for my travels (that I might depart safely and return safely).

Every time I see cardinals now I remember my grandfather, who always loved those birds. The first time I saw a cardinal after he died, I felt like he was visiting us here again.

I guess maybe I got three blessings at shul yesterday.


I've been thinking about my own blessing or valediction for this journey:

May this trip dazzle my senses and open my eyes. May I retain my sense of humor and my ability to roll with the punches. May I be aware of the sparks of holiness in everything I encounter. May I see strange and beautiful things, and eat new foods, and smell new spices. May I revel in the chance to sit with my husband and watch a new landscape unfold outside our train window. May I remember how lucky I am. May I spend the next ten days feeling wonder and gratitude. May I be open to whatever changes this trip wants to engender in me. As a friend emailed me just now, may I have a good time, not get cranky, and come home with many stories to tell.

And may you all have a wonderful couple of weeks while I'm away. See you on the other side!