the golden path

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the first candle of the holiday

This holiday of ours, which started on Thursday, and will last for eight days, is all about values. Historically, it’s about the revolution led by the Jewish priests against the foreign Greek influence in Israel, about two thousand, one hundred and seventy years ago. Usually, the focus is on the re-sanctification of the holy temple. The name of the holiday, tells of the reopening of the temple after it had been defiled. Children enjoy acting out the rebellion of the Jews against the Greek presence in the holy land, and the victory of a dedicated few against superior forces; the few against many, bows and arrows against sophisticated weapons, with the Greek army mounted on elephants.

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pour out your heart like water…

Back in those days, the Greeks were considered the most powerful and up to date nation in the world. Its influence trickled down to everyone living in the western world of that day. Those who have read stories of the Greek mythology will understand something of their morals. They are heralded to this day for introducing democracy, though their society consisted of a small proportion of free citizens and a vast majority of slaves. Despite great differences in attitudes regarding morality, sexuality, cleanliness, and sanctity, there were many of our people, even here in Israel, who adopted the Greek manner. The Greeks were admired for their knowledge of science and mathematics, philosophy and astronomy, and of course, physical fitness. The Olympic sport competitions of today are a continuation of that tradition.

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the symbol of Israel’s youth

But in many ways, their view of life, and the way they related to some human beings, and some animals, were repugnant to us. While there were those of us who adopted everything Greek with enthusiasm, others who couldn’t stand their influence. After a period during which the Greek life style and wisdom became more and more prevalent in Israel, a family of Jewish priests led a rebellion against the Greek influence and military presence in our country. They won the battle. The ancient holy temple was cleaned, and once again sanctified. And we returned to our ancient customs and rules; and to our traditional values.

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Georgia at Janne’s home

So, in honor of the holiday, I would like to share with you a a few thoughts on values. Like many here in Israel, I consider myself a student of, our great philosopher, Maimonides, who was born in Spain in the middle ages. He was a great torah scholar and physician. He taught us that in order to right a wrong, we have to go to the opposite extreme of that wrong, until we are able to return to moderation, to the middle path… the golden path we call it.

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Nechama awaits the move in Jerusalem

And even though I admit that I myself have a tendency towards extremism, I recognize that the best and most proper way to live one’s life is to embrace moderation. We accept the differences between human beings. There are strong and week; those with great aspirations, and those who’re willing to go along with the crowd. There are the rich and the poor. But in every field, it’s not in the interest of either society or the individual to go to extremes. The rich should not have too many houses or too many cars. And the poor should not be starving. It is our responsibility, as a society to care for the poor, and especially to care for the sick and the disabled, for the orphan and the widow. We believe in a concept called spiritual cleanliness, and this was an important part of our work in the holy temple. The separation of areas of human activity into categories is also a part of what we understand as sanctity.

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for inspiration

There are those who claim that all that happens in this world is for the good. That every cloud has its silver lining, and that even when something terrible happens, we should still look for the good that is included with the bad. Personally, I believe that it is best at times to weep over the bad and to ache in sorrow, and not to smile whatever happens ,but to fully experience sadness as well. That, in my opinion, is the essential experience and knowledge of this life, including both the ups and the downs.

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a self portrait

Our forefathers said, turn your home into a study hall for the wise, and learn from everyone. For everyone has something to teach us. And the Rebbe of Breslev said, life is a narrow bridge, and in crossing it, it’s most important not to fear. And his followers said, the most important good deed is to be happy. I do try to be happy with my lot, and not to fear. I am not always successful. But when I’m unable to smile, I don’t pretend. I would like to be the Buddha, with a constant smile on my face, but I’m not made of stone. Just flesh and blood, knowing both failure and success.

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riding the bus in Jerusalem

In honor of the holiday, I’m visiting Jerusalem, even though I feel somewhat homeless in my beloved city these days. Coming up the mountain to Jerusalem is one of my oldest memories… always different, but including, every time, a very special delight… the joy of knowing that I am home again. There were times when I would be pulling a load up the mountain, one eye on the thermometer all the time, watching the engine heat up as we continued to rise, switching from second to third and then back to second again, on a four gear little car. Sometimes dead tired, with the window open so that the cold air would keep me wide awake… fearing for the brakes on the down slopes. Today it’s easy. We have a modern highway leading to the city, and I drive a car with an automatic transmission. But the delight of approaching the holy city hasn’t changed at all.

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a modern miracle

And from Jerusalem, I will continue on today, to spend the Chanukah Sabbath in the village of the holy fire, where I will celebrate this happy and holy day with children and grandchildren. And we will thank god together for the miracles that happened long ago, and the miracles that are still happening today. And you know, my friends, that I really don’t care much for miracles. We’re always half way into hell when we start thinking about a miracle. I just want to be cruising down the road, not too fast, on my way to the holy fire, with a flower over my ear, and a smile on my lips… listening to the songs of Reb Shlomo. Whether this is your holiday or not, my best wishes to all my friends, may we be truly happy.

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85 responses to “the golden path

  1. Cats are so lovely…. and dear Shimon, do you know my love’s job is to produce this miracle boards… 🙂 PCBs…. What I feel now, I just wished to be there and to give a big hugs to you… I loved to read your world and to learn more about history, holiday,…. Thank you dear Shimon, Love, nia

    • Yes, it is always good to get to know cats, and each one is such an individual, and often so different from others, even in the same vicinity. They are not herd animals like ourselves. Glad to hear that you darling is working at the front line of technology, Nia, and thank you so much for your kind words.

  2. Photographs are amazing… all of them. Fascinated me. Thanks and Love, nia

  3. best wishes to you Shimon – love the self portrait 🙂

  4. Very interesting writing – yeah agree life includes both happiness and sadness – to enjoy the stunning views from the highest peaks
    we need to had moved through the dark and steep valleys and canyons, to get up there… 🙂

    Very well captured photos, all of them… 🙂

    • So true, ledrakenoir. I have had the experience both of going to mountain tops by way of a rail car, and hiking on foot. And one appreciates the experience so much more when we hike up the mountain from the valleys below. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Reblogged this on Cool lady blog and commented:
    A beautiful post

  6. I always appreciate your understanding of your faith. After all, you continue to learn and reflect. The best of Hanukkahs to you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvWWBK91lSg

    • Thank you very much, Frank. When I was younger, I used to believe that every holiday had a function to direct us as human beings, to learning, or to a certain type of activity that helped improve us. As I grow old, it seems to me that some holidays are more of an excuse to celebrate… but that’s fine too.

    • I almost forgot to thank you for the videoclip you sent me. As it happens, this was my personal Rabbi, so it’s very interesting that you found this. Even though he’s no longer with us, it is always a pleasure to hear him sing.

  7. Your photos are just marvelous Shimon. Great capture of light, almost like still life paintings!! Your reflections on the meaning of your holiday are beautiful and profound. I don’t care much for miracles either, and I too believe we need to grieve to be able to be happy again. Thank you for your good wishes. Hope your holiday is filled with love and laughter 🙂

    • Very glad to hear that you enjoy my photography, Madhu, and it is also a great pleasure to meet a friend from far away, and from a different culture, with whom one can share both interests and attitudes. Thank you for your good wishes, Madhu. I do appreciate your beautiful comment.

  8. So very. lovely

  9. The self-portrait photo is a nice one.
    I enjoyed all of your thoughts on the ups and downs of life. It is so true that to be happy all of the time is unnatural. Without suffering how can we appreciate the joys that will eventually come our way. Insightful contemplations in every word you’ve written.
    I am familiar with your holiday – Chanukah – as my sister married a Jewish man. They have shown me many, many of your traditions.
    Enjoy it and have a loving and heartfelt time with your family.
    Isadora

    • It’s a pleasure meeting you, Isadora, and I thank you for your kind words. It is impressive to see how much of the world is getting smaller in this age we are living in, and we have so many opportunities to get to know people of other cultures and histories. I have learned much from making friends with people in other societies… first when I was a young man and traveled a bit in the world, and now through the delights of the internet. And special thanks for your kind wishes.

  10. Such an interesting post, with much to think about. Yes, I have to agree with you, I too am made of flesh and blood so fear and sadness is a part of life along with the good times. It’s hard to be happy when face to face with certain situations.
    I am fascinated by the Golden path, I can be extreme too so find moderation a difficult balance to find at times.
    Lovely to see Nechama, you must be missing her, and good to see Georgia especially as the cut has now healed.
    Have a wonderful holiday Shimon, as always I enjoy discovering more about each one as the years go by.xxx.

    • I think a lot about Nechama these days, and she seems unhappy when I visit her, even though she gets good care from friends. I know she’s a true existentialist, and even if she were to understand, there would be no point in telling her that ‘soon we’ll be together again’. And what’s more, having lived with me all her life, she’s very self indulgent and stubborn, and there seems no way to introduce her to the place where I am now living temporarily. There are two cats here, who don’t like each other, and a really wonderful bitch who has a heart of gold, but Nechama really doesn’t care for dogs, no matter how nice they are. She even differentiates between people by the way they dress! Aside from that, when the movers will actually move my things to the new home, she won’t be able to stay there, because that operation would drive her nuts, so I will have to take advantage of a hotel for animals. But I’ve no doubt that will be like being in prison for her. This is probably one of the most difficult parts of this whole experience for me. But there seems little I can do to make life nice for her now. Thank you so much, Dina, for your sympathy. xxx

      • I can understand completely how difficult it must be for you, it’s hard with animals, you can’t tell them what’s going on and it’s awful when you see them unhappy. I’ve had similar situations over the years and it’s hard not to feel guilty even though you are doing the very best you can. Well, here’s to you both being together soon, and in the meanwhile at least you are getting to see each other which will be a great help to Nechama….xxx

  11. Best wishes to you and yours during this Chanukah week, Shimon. I hope you will enjoy the Sabbath in the village of the holy fire!

    • Thank you very much, Cathy. The holiday is quite enjoyable, and the Sabbath was wonderful. It is great fun to spend some time with some of my grandchildren.

  12. A lovely post and the photographs are stirring, Shimon: and loved the “selfie!” Thank you for sharing your heart’s musings and know I carry your joy and peace in mine, during Chanukah and always. Gentle peace.

  13. Wishing you happiness, as well, dear Shimon….and thanking you for the post.

  14. Our best wishes to you too, Shimon and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Whenever I read your posts and look at the images you publish I imagine a lovely oasis of peace and sanity slap bang in the middle of a desert and hope that mirage solidifies. Peace to us all.

    • I have always been very grateful for the good fortune of living in a free country, and enjoying the best of cultural and physical conditions. I try never to take it for granted. Even now, when I am living in temporary circumstances, I am overwhelmed by my good fortune. I learn something new every day, and am filled with wonder meeting brave and brilliant men and women, with exceptionally kind hearts. And I join you, Mary, in your desire for peace. We have so much to enjoy in this world, and the key to happiness is peace.

  15. Wishing you happiness on your journey. You certainly have something to teach us through your beautiful words as they paint a picture of life.

  16. Cactus pears are a symbol of Israel’s youth? What is the electronic device that you seem to be operating on. And I love that line “we are usually halfway to hell when we start thinking about miracles”!
    Best regards for your holiday.

    • Yes, the cactus pears, because they’re thorny on the outside, but sweet on the inside are the way we call our youth. Always good to share with you, my friend. Thanks. This is a very nice and easy holiday here.

  17. I enjoy listening to your thoughts Shimon, but especially today. Have a blessed holiday.

  18. That is curious ‘re righting a wrong.I shall. try it .myself.Do you find it works?

    • As far as I’ve learned, writing a wrong takes a lot of serious thought in any case. But what Maimonides said was that you can’t just go back to normal. That first, you have to go all the way in the other direction. Wishing you good luck, Mary.

  19. Hope you had a great holiday old friend. NZ struggles towards an election next year which should have a result that sees a return to social justice in this once happy place down under.

    • Thanks very much for your wishes, Pete. Always good to hear from you. I certainly wish you and your society social justice always. But you know, the best thing about elections, is not the platform they run on, but that we get to throw the old politicians out after a while, and bring in some new ones who haven’t gotten corrupt yet. None of them usually do what they promised in any case…

  20. Enjoy your visit back home. I smiled at the visual of you with a flower behind your ear! What a nice image. Ah, I loved seeing Nechama, but I imagined that she is feeling sad. When do you move?

    Thanks for the information about your holiday. It is always interesting to me to hear you speak of the holidays.

    Peace, Brother! 😉

    • Peace, sister. That’s the best blessing I know. So glad you enjoyed the visual. You know, I wish I knew when I’ll once again be in my own home. This isn’t exactly something I’ve done before, and when trusting friends, the best way is blind. They might have found something else worthwhile to do, and forgotten all about me. And the next time I see them, they’ll be coming with a wheel barrow to take me away, or be selling me on a great old age home. But I do trust them, and meantime I’m enjoying the great kindness of my friend Janne, who’s introduced me back to ‘normal’ life, so I can’t really complain. If Nechama was a little happier, I would consider myself in heaven already.

  21. Have a nice holiday, Shimon. Beautiful photographs as always – nice to see you in one of them.

  22. Life is a school open to all of us… Carry on following the wisdom of our ancestors is of immense value. Many times the humility allows us to understand what you here explain in simple words and full of common sense.
    You say you want to be like the smiling like Buddha, trying to understand his inner happiness because (only) “fixed” in the smile of stone.
    One should not forcefully smile when he is happy. You can be deeply inwardly happy being in front of the beauty of existence, despite the pain, despite the hardships, your own or these of the others we observe around us. Certainly the buddhist philosophy has taught me humility and gratitude… I thank when I get a snub, this is one of the lessons of life that leads to wisdom. And I got many snubs…
    Everything is connected, dear Shimon, even if you do not give too much weight to the miracles… when you watch your children and their children’s children, know that Life is the greatest of all miracles.
    A hug in serenity

    • My dear Claudine, that is exactly the way I look at life… a school with endless things to learn, and I hope you didn’t think that what I wrote was a slur against the Buddha. I love him and appreciate him always. I have also learned a little from the Buddhist philosophy, which is precious to me. When I spoke of the constant smile, I was referring to those who deny the pain in their hearts and souls, and smile outwardly when hurting inside. I think then we have to deal with the hurt before we can truly reach happiness. But if someone has reached the level where his or her inner core is radiating happiness, then those little falls and scrapes are nothing to stop the smile. Thank you so much for your correction.

      • Ah dear Shimon, there was no correction of mine… I wish to be, one day, a good scholar as you’re! I’m not able to deny pain, in fact many times I just wonder why “pain” has to hurt so much… but if I consider the “impermanence”… there some understanding appears. I love one of Krishnamurti quotes in which is beautifully written about human’s curiosity which doesn’t allow us to get our freedom (we stay in a crystal cage, wanting to go out, but loosing ourselves asking too many questions about the cage… instead of looking for the hidden opening…)
        I wish I could spend some time with you and a good cup of tea… there are so many lovely topics to speak about… and I do have so many question about your Faith. I think once I was a Jewish (in a previous life) since, of course, I do believe in reincarnation.
        Don’t forget that inside everyone of us is hidden a Buddha! There are no secrets, in fact, we are such wonderful creations but we are lost into space-time and only our roots, when the time is ripe, will find their way back Home. I’m Christian borne, but I followed the heart in considering no boundary given by any Church… and at the end, following the Buddhist Path, I got many answers at too many questions. I wish you a serene evening (here my kids and husband are playing their instruments and this make our home quite special)!
        😀 c

        • Thank you so much, Claudine. I too loved the quote of Krishnamurti. It really tells the story. I remember once reading in something that Einstein wrote, that he said he felt he was part of the nation of people who love reading and learning… and I too feel that way. On a social level, we may belong to different peoples, and different societies… but with the help of the internet we meet, crossing all borders without having to show a passport, and find like minds, and love new friends… and are part of another nation that is not always recognized as such. But we can feel that sense of belonging. I am happy to read of the family scene you describe.

  23. Thank you for sharing your insight, Mr. Shimon. We can be more resilient when we’ve experienced both the ups and the downs, sorrow and happiness…

  24. I hope you enjoy the holiday Shimon!

  25. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    I always find I learn when I wander in your thoughts you pen, and the photos make me want to be there to feel the energy of your world…
    Your friend facing the camera has the eyes of a olde soul, wise beyond this
    moment in time and curiosity of life and all it presents in this moment…
    Strong within….
    your photos tell so many stories to me, the cats made me think they were tapping there fingers waiting patiently in their impatient nature….
    as for you….a true Bard, one who has much to share…I agree with you about the sadness, for if we don’t experience all of it’s nature we will repeat it til we do….I write within that energy, seems to let me see it, feel it and then pt it where it needs to be,,,,
    I once again enjoy your post…and I wish you wonderful enlightening days of your sacred holidays…
    Take Care…You Matter…Be Safe….
    )0(
    maryrose

    • I’ve known my dear friend Janne, who’s facing the camera, for some twenty years before she offered me the kindness of her home while I was moving from one home to another. And it was then that I got to know her in a much deeper way, and realized how much she has learned from life, and how to encourage the good and beauty in it. It’s been a very precious lesson for me in appreciating the world around us, and I agree with what you say. As for the cats… they get their wisdom directly from god… we have to keep learning all the time to keep up with them. Thank you for your blessing, and mine to you, Maryrose. I appreciate your comments.

  26. Happy Chanukah, Shimon! I haven’t found the silver lining in losing more vision so I’ve been too depressed to deal with the web. I have to agree with you there and I liked all the thoughts in your post and the photos, of course. I know Israelis (aside from native-born) refer to themselves as prickly pears, but I don’t know the exact word in Hebrew aside from Sabra, which has more than one meaning. You’ll have to correct me. Also, why is Moshe ben Maimon commonly referred to as Maimonides (Greek)? Do you say that in Hebrew, as well? I always wondered that, speaking of the Greek. I had an Orthodox great-great-grandfather (my surname) who came to the US in the 1880s and studied the Talmud all day per family lore. I suspect he knew all the teachings of Maimonides, like you.

    I hope your candles are burning brightly this year and glad you are back in Jerusalem for the time being…
    Leah xx

    • I can understand your difficulty in dealing with the web, Leah, though I have the impression that you know a lot about dealing with adversity. Sabra is the correct word. As far as I know, it only has two meanings, that being a cactus pear, and a native born Israeli of the Zionist school. We torah Jews are not usually called sabras. As for Maimonides, that is the way he has been called since he became an internationally known philosopher, perhaps because he was particularly appreciated by the Greeks. In Hebrew, he is known as the Rambam, which means pretty much the same, Moshe the son of Maimon. I probably have a lot in common with your great-great-grandfather. If you’re ever curious, you’re welcome to come and check me out. Meantime, the candles are lit every night and remind us of a few brave Jews who refused to go along with the fashion. I’m sure you carry a bit of them in your genes.

      • Very true about your last comment. I’ve never been one to follow others and suspect you would just detest that, too.

        I have heard Rambam, but didn’t understand the meaning. Thanks for the clarification. Many Jewish physicians in the US have the Oath of Maimonides on their wall (vs. the Hippocratic Oath). Per sabra, I have also heard the fruit used as a metaphor: the tough exterior of Israelis but with the sweet centers. Israelis told me that they say that about themselves, but probably not all. Well, I can relate nonetheless. We have that cactus here in the US desert and I tend to call the paddles and fruit by their Spanish names.

        What a funny comment about you and my long-dead ancestor! If I could, I would come and check you out to make sure you were the real deal. Just kidding. That relative was the only one to not assimilate at all. My father found his headstone in Cincinnati, Ohio and after I received the photo of it by e-mail, I read his full name in Hebrew for the first time: Menachem Mendel ben Hillel. We had only heard Mendel before that. There you go…

  27. Your post is the best read of my day, Shimon. I learn so much from it, and I delight in the images. I’m so glad I found your blog. I have a little story from my past to share with you today. When I was an undergraduate at Queens’ College, Cambridge, the Dean of my college was an extraordinary man called Henry Hart. He was a Classics Scholar, a Calligrapher, and an indefatigable walker. I was privileged to be one of a small group who spent a week walking with him in the Lake District (a beautiful mountainous area of England). Henry carried with him a Hebrew Psalter and at lunch up high in the mountains he would read from the Psalter first in Hebrew and then in English. Spending time with him is one of the joys I recall from my University days.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the post, Andy. And I too am very happy that we have met, and enjoy your blog and photography. Thank you very much for sharing with me the story of your College Dean. My most treasured memories relate to times I have spent with teachers. And to spend time with a teacher in nature is a special gift from heaven indeed. I share and take pleasure in your joy.

  28. Clearly a solemn season for you Shimon. Best wishes through it all and do enjoy yourself.

    • This is not one of the most solemn holidays in our culture, but it is a holiday of joy… especially for the young. Thank you for your comment, Blazing Trail

  29. On my own golden path, I have found that the wisdom comes from the times of darkness – the suffering – rather than the joys. The duality is necessary, but challenging. Blessings…

    • I can’t say the same. I have learned some things from the darkness, and afterwards, when seeing in perspective, maybe reached some wisdom. But in the darkness I always saw a limited view… and often my understanding and my thoughts were reactive, and not so deep. But I agree with you that the duality is necessary. Thank you for your blessings, and my best wishes to you, Theresa

      • I believe I understand. In the darkness, I am trying to muddle through – to survive. After the darkness, with time to reflect and distance myself, is the opportunity to grow, if I choose to do so. I am not always successful.

  30. Shimon – I appreciate you sending me the link to this post, which I must have missed when I was stuck in the darkness. I usually make a point to bookmark anything I miss during those times, so I’m grateful you helped me find my way to your front door. So much to comment on, but my brain is still a little foggy while I’m making my way back towards a more moderate state of being. Moderation is something I am always reaching towards, and as I’ve grown older, I have developed an even deeper appreciation of moderation. I may be mistaken, but for me, it seems my best moments of clarity are found during those times when I am neither buzzing with frenetic energy, or lost in the dark abyss of sorrow, but rather, waking up to a day that is tempered with fewer extremes. I try to keep my eyes open, and pay attention, especially when I am in that sweet spot of moderation.

    I couldn’t agree more about being true to what we are experiencing, including the deepest lows. I have lived a life where people, especially family, have always insisted that I pretend to be happy, when I was not. They believed I should be able to mimic happiness, so that they might feel a little less uncomfortable in my presence. I did not ask to be someone who knows the depths of sorrow, but I also cannot pretend that it isn’t part of my reality. It has taken me almost fifty years to finally allow myself to accept that I have to be true to what I am experiencing at the time. Denying it is an assault on my authenticity, and truth is something I value. This does not give me permission to stay in that dark place, but rather, to acknowledge that it is an authentic part of my journey. It seems that once I made the transition from fighting the darkness, to accepting it, that the transitions became easier to withstand. So, yes, I totally agree with you on this.

    Your photo of Nechama really tugged at my heart. I do wish there was some way she could understand that this exile of yours is temporary. Our animal companions can understand so much without words, and my guess is that she knows the sadness you carry in your heart. I keep hoping that soon I will hear the news that you have moved to your new home, and that you and Nechama can be reunited again.

    Your story of cruising towards the holy fire, with a smile on your lips, and a flower behind your ear … that might be the first time I’ve smiled in several days now, so thank you for sharing that image with us. Speaking of which, thank you also for sharing the self portrait. We obviously have never met in person, but seeing that photo gives me a sense of the adventurer, the photographer, the comedic scholar, and the serious thinker, all rolled into one. All of your photography is inspirational – besides the self portrait, I especially loved the still life with the blue pitcher. So crisp, and captured so perfectly with the shadows.

    As you continue to move through the holiday, I wish for you to find peace, and maybe also some joy. Sending thoughts and prayers for your new home to be ready for you soon. This chapter of in-between is beginning to wear on you, and it would be so nice if you could step into whatever comes next. With Nechama at your side. Both of you, together again.

    • My dear N, this business of the highs and the lows, happiness and sadness… and even worse, depression, is worth deep study. What I was speaking of in the post, is true sadness, such as when one has lost something precious, or has failed in some venture, or is injured and in pain. In such circumstances, I try to experience the pain or the sadness, and not go along as if everything is fine. But sometimes the conditions are different, and we develop a habit of sadness. Or we exhaust ourselves with continuous intensity, doing things that we love, experiencing thrills and pleasures, and then are left empty, and fall into despair. This is a syndrome that I see as somewhat similar to continuous smoking. We become habitually attached to a certain pattern and lose control of our behavior and emotions. To pretend to be happy, to mimic happiness, is a forgery that doesn’t really work. But the wise have noted that it takes but one candle to begin to push darkness away. And I believe that doing something that we truly value, even at a time of great unhappiness, can serve the function of that candle. Not to go from one extreme to the other, but to take small steps, and to work at the positive. And when that first joy comes… not to get carried away, and feed it more and more, but to continue with the small steps. And to stop after a little while. To feed ourselves little portions of life, till we’ve learned to take back control. The point is not to be happy, but to have control over our emotions. Thank you very much for your understanding of my difficulty being separated from Nechama, and your good wishes for the holiday. Tomorrow is the last day. It has been a good holiday. And I think I’ll come out of it strengthened.

  31. So good to read your words today Shimon, thankyou!

  32. I so enjoyed reading this post. Have a very blessed time in Jerusalem. I would love to visit there one day.

  33. I love the wisdom that you share. None of us cannot escape sorrow, nor should we. It isn’t wise to wallow in it, but it can certainly teach us much. I hope you enjoyed the holiday celebration with your family.

    • Thank you so much, yearstricken. The holiday was a fine time. Even if it caused me to fall behind with blog comments and visitations. And what you say about not wallowing in the sorrow is so very true. It’s important to maintain a balance.

  34. A beautiful light illuminates your photographs and your thoughts. Thank you Shimon.

  35. I’m not at all religious, but when I found the natural ice formation at

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/no-frost-but-frostweed-did-its-icy-trick/

    I immediately thought about Torah scrolls.

    • Yes, I see the visual connection. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful picture with me. I enjoyed the post very much. For me, what is most unique about the torah scrolls, is the forever ongoing process of learning. And your post was a learning experience too.

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