Sunrise| March 23, 2021
A date. With someone I’ve been trying to meet for months, but who had always given me a no
Erev Pesach, 2009 The orb of yellow light rises into the pale blue Jerusalem sky, blazing warmth despite the early hour. The sloping roads of Ramot are packed with people, siddurim clutched in our hands, eyes turned upward as we watch the sun’s graceful arc.
We’re all awaiting the moment when we can recite Bircas Hachamah, the once-in-28-years event when the sun completes its cycle and is in the exact place it was at the time of Creation. In unison we raise our voices and recite the brachah of “oseh maaseh bereishis” and then “shehecheyanu v’kiyemanu v’higiyanu lazeman hazeh.” You enact the wonders of Creation, You have given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this occasion.
There’s a hushed silence, a sense of wonder at the enormity of the moment, as we stand serenely under the sun, before the day explodes into a frenzy of final Pesach preparations.
My cellphone is tucked into my clammy palm. I look down at the darkened screen and make out the words, savor them: second night Chol Hamoed at the Ramada, 9 p.m.
The balmy sunbeams feel like an embrace from Above, blanketing me in unconditional love, reminding me that He’s there, even when it’s cloudy out, even when the sky’s gray.
A date. With someone I’ve been trying to meet for months, but who had always given me a no. A date I’ve already decided is going to be my last first date because I’m either getting engaged or giving up the search for my bashert and joining the circus.
Okay, maybe not the circus, but I’ve been dating too many boys, for too long, across too many continents. I’m more than done. I’m emotionally exhausted, I’m frightened for the future, and I’m full of self-doubt: Is this my fault? Am I being too picky? Am I saying no too often, too quickly, hurting too many people? Am I looking for someone who doesn’t exist?
The warmth of the morning’s sun stays with me throughout the day. It surrounds me like a halo as I sit at the Seder table, among the married couples and their overexcited children, so many of them younger than me. It pushes away the sadness over my still-single-state that washes over me on Yamim Tovim as I ache for a home of my own, for my life partner, or at least for a sign this endless search won’t go on forever.
Throughout Maggid, I finger the glossy pages of Rabbi Chait’s Haggadah, The Art of Faith and Redemption, where the midrashim are heart-wrenchingly depicted. There’s the illustration of Rachel, the woman whose newborn is tragically used in place of a brick by a cruel Egyptian taskmaster when she doesn’t meet her daily quota, the woman whose anguished cries pierced the Heavens and brought about the beginning of the Geulah.
I examine her outstretched arms, her scarf-covered head thrown back in distress. My suffering is insignificant compared to hers, but there’s something so comforting about the notion that there’s a quota, a quota to the grief and pain Hashem will allow His children to experience, a breaking point at which He says dei, enough, I’m bringing salvation.
We sing Dayeinu. We reach the end of the Seder. The kids dance to L’shanah Habah b’Yerushalayim Habenuyah.
I think of the gold-dappled Jerusalem-stone buildings we stood beside this morning, of the lush green Jerusalem forest, of the way this beautiful city is thriving and bustling. Salvation does come.
And I whisper, I’ve had enough, Hashem, enough. I can’t do this anymore. Please bring me my personal yeshuah, b’karov. Please make this boy be the right one. Please make it be this year.
And He does.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 736)
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