Sunday, September 27, 2009

erev yom kippur

This has been a crazy busy week between rosh hashan and yom kippur, I did two selichos tours, one in Tsfat with the boys(actually 2, one with each class) and then to Jerusalem the next evening with the girls. We also built our sukkah, which we got from our friends who bought a new paper sukkah.

Hopefully I will get to writing those experiences, but now I will talk about today. Today started at 4:30AM. That's not as early as it sounds because we changed our clocks last night, so it only felt like 5:30AM. I've been getting up at 5:30 anyways for the past 2 weeks for selichos. Last night I had decided that I was going to go down to the nachal (stream) for an early dip in the mikvah (ritual bath). My plan was to daven (pray) at 6 and then go down afterwards, but I told my wife that if I happen to wake up at 4 then I would go then.
When I opened I eyes and saw that it was 4:30 I decided that it was a good time, and I was parked dopwn by the nachal by 4:45. It was very dark, but there was enough moon and starlight to see the path. The hue on top of the mountains was a deep purple and everything looked dark and menacing. I was thinking on the way down that I should have brought a knife with me in case any animals threatened me. After a couple seconds I realized that the only animal that might threaten me are wild pigs, and a knife won't help against them. Afterward, I realized that the jackals might also attack if they are in a bunch, but I didn't think about it then and I didn't have a knife anyways so it didn't matter.

I walked along the dark path for about half an hour until I got to the springs and the big pool. The only sounds I heard were my own sandals and animals crashing through the brush when i disturbed them. The only animals I actually saw were a jackal, an interesting looking animal that was bigger then a squirrel, maybe a weasel, ferret or really large rat, and some fish. There are some Persian fallow deer in the area, but I haven't see any.

I got to the springs at 5:10AM and it was getting much lighter. The water was perfectly clear and I saw some fish swimming about. I was in a bit of a rush because I had to get back to davening at 6, so I quickly jumped in and dunked 7 times and got out. It was so peaceful, with nobody else around. When I started walking back, I noticed that that the leaves on the trees had changed from dark black to light green and I could see the holy raspberries on the bushes.

About half way back I noticed a tent set up in a clearing with a small family cooking breakfast. It's surprising that I didn't see the tent on the way in, but it was dark.

I made it to shul before 6 and got home by 7.

After breakfast, I took the boys to buy our lulavim and esrogim, here you pay the same price as back home, the only difference being the currency.

I wish you all a g'mar chasima tova, an easy fast and a happy, healthy sweet new year.

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