What an incredible week we had here at B’nai Torah! At one moment during the many celebrations and great experiences, I was sitting in the back of the hall watching beautiful children in costume with their parents enjoying time with their kids. I felt nostalgic, even a little sad. It seems like just a moment ago, a flash, since I was “that” father enjoying his kids at Purim. I remember their great excitement, their costumes, their joy in the singing, the groggers, and their favorite sweets. Nobody sang mi-she’ mi-sh’ mi-she’ with more passion then Gabrielle; no one loved chocolate Hamantaschen more then Avi; and no one played the part of Haman like Noah. I truly miss those moments. But then I thought about Caroline, and how she and Steve will be having a baby, and how I know that there will be more to come. And I looked at the grandparents sitting there and watched their delight – a more fulfilled and relaxed delight – and the nostalgia turned to hope and excitement for the future!
Ritual is so powerful. Our Shabbatot and holiday celebrations root us in meaning and create memories to inspire a future. It seems that ritual plays a type of “time game.” We do things that are very traditional and very old; historic and religious. They point to meaning, and at the same time direct us toward the future. Paul McCartney in his classic song “Yesterday” wistfully sang about a time in the past where troubles were far away. When we remember our yesterdays, we have the tendency to romanticize. But life moves in one direction. And although we carry beautiful memories, we must also enjoy the moment and project ahead to good times, meaningful experiences, and shared love.
So, yes…I miss those days with my kids, but I love seeing “our” kids celebrate, and I look forward to a new generation creating meaning and enjoyment. The key is to stop, take a look around, feel gratitude for now, and never lose hope.
See you in shul!