At this time of year Jews celebrate impermanence with joy. We remember our 40 years in the desert by living for a week in temporary outdoor dwellings. We celebrate the unchanging unity within impermanence by waving the Four Species of plants, which embody the diversity of nature and and the four dimensions of existence, in all directions.
I walked into the Chabad Center to pick up my Four Species. They came from Egypt, Israel, the US East Coast and the US West Coast. In the thick swarm of staff, volunteers and customers, I’m surprised to see the rabbi, a guy about my age with a bushy white beard and a face wrinkled by years of kindness and service to others, rushing around bringing people their palm branches, etrogs, willow leaves and myrtle leaves.
He stops in front of me. “So who are you?” he says. We’ve both spent 30 years in Silicon Valley and know many people in common, but have never met. I tell him a little about me, the good things I’ve heard about him, and whom we both know. We look at each other and smile. He seems a little startled when I give him a hug. We wish each other a happy holiday. He invites me and Wendy to come have dinner with his family on Shabbos, and then rushes off to serve the next person.
As the sun was rising this morning while I sat outside with my cup of tea, a bird was singing, bobbing it’s head and dancing on the highest branch in front of me. That’s my blog post for this morning, I thought. I went inside to get my camera.
When I returned, the bird was gone.