Photographers are always watching out for the highlights and the shadows. Back in the old days, when we worked with film, overexposure could block the negative, and shadows could leave a black stain. I had friends who were very sensitive to the extremes, and did the best they could to keep all the shades within the ranges of grey… ranging from the very light, to the darkest dark… but still retaining an image. My attitude was a little different. I considered the white… even if it was just white paper unprinted… and the blacks… to be part of the shades I worked with. Often, I chose to express myself using slightly stronger contrasts than what is seen with the naked eye.
I was thinking of this as we approached the last holy day of this month of holidays, which was yesterday. It is the holiday of Simchath Torah; a celebration of the conclusion of our reading of the five books of Moses. And no sooner do we conclude the reading, than we begin a new reading, starting from the first volume once again. The reading takes a year, and we go through all the stories again and again, each year. But of course, they are different each year, just as the autumn of this year will be different from that of last year. Today, we have a bridge. A day when we refrain from working, bridging from yesterday’s holiday to the Sabbath which will start this evening. And on Sunday, we will start the period of ‘after the holidays’.
While thinking of the highlights of the last month, I was reminded of how sometimes, when we’d look at an image that had been photographed, we would notice highlights where we hadn’t expected them, where a bottle or a silver platter had reflected such intense light that the details in that area of the photograph were wiped out. And on the other end of the scale, sometimes, something rather significant had been swallowed up by the shadow in that part of the image. Well… all I can say about that, is that there is usually much more in a picture than meets the eye. If it’s really important to us… we can search it out. But still, the whole picture is what’s most important.
There have been some highs and lows even in this last month, filled with holidays and celebration. To tell you the truth, there’s even been heartbreak and agony. But on the whole, it’s been a good time. And having completed all the celebration, we’re ready to go back to living our normal lives. All during this month, as is our custom, we’ve been starting a meal with a slice of bread dipped in honey. From today, we go back to starting our meals with bread dipped in salt. We go back to our work, to our computers, to our appointments, to facing the traffic in the morning, as everyone in the neighborhood starts their day at about the same time, some taking their children to school, and others rushing off to work.
And what will remain of all those heights? The memory of a walk in the woods? A meeting with friends and loved ones? A song we heard at a get together? There were many great moments along the way… and people very dear to me, who brought me light and joy… not to speak of the many wonderful delicacies that we relished and consumed, wonderful wines and fine whisky. In the last few days, I encountered Wild Turkey which I hadn’t seen for years. And just the day before yesterday, I chose to approach the conclusion of this great time with a visit to the sea. It was a beautiful day in Caesarea… and I watched as two friends disrobed till they were dressed only in their underwear, and jumped into the cold sea for a swim… thinking I might have done that once, but I no longer have the guts or the strength.
Still, what is important is what we can do, and not the fleeting longings for what is gone. How good it was. And here’s hoping that the coming days, the coming weeks, and the coming months will bring continued growth and learning, great new adventures, health and happiness, a good living, and peace and love. And you know… what I wish for myself, I wish for my friends.