Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Listen and the Action

Two of my three 50-pound suitcases +
my carryon suitcase + my backpack. 

What I've realized is that there are not enough pounds in the aliyah allotment for me to schlep the amount of clothes, coffee mugs with sentimental meaning, medical stuff (vitamins, supplements, allergy pills, and my oodles of creams), my down-alternative comforter (because I'm neurotic about the things I sleep with and on -- not being able to schlep a pillow is actually causing me unrest), and so forth. I don't know how it filled up so fast. But it did. I had to hardcore downsize, leaving lots of clothing and some precious home goods behind. I sent home THREE boxes of books to my parents -- seforim and lots of books from graduate school I cannot part with. I'm not taking a single cookbook with me. I'm so paranoid about finding clothes that both fit me and are well-built (being a plus size gal makes certain items difficult to find anyhow), so I stocked up here. My luggage is brimming with Lane Bryant and Old Navy and ... I'll be set for a while, anyhow. 

I'm rising in about 5 hours and 45 minutes to shower and get everything else packed up. I'm weighing my luggage every few minutes, it seems like, and I just know I'm going to get to the airport and they're either going to be too heavy or they're going to have five pounds of free room and I'm going to say "WHY ME?! WHY!?" After packing, I'm packing up the car, taking a last-minute trip to the donation center, the bank to withdrawal a ridiculous amount of cash, and off to the airport for my 11:15 a.m. flight to New York City. 

If anyone desires a meetup in the Five Towns for dinner Sunday night, let me know. My flight gets into LaGuardia at 5 p.m. and I figure I'll be at my hotel by 6:30 or 7 p.m. Then? Rest. Relaxation ... and ... I'll probably end up doing a lot of work actually. Monday I have to be at JFK by 3 p.m. for my 7 p.m. Nefesh b'Nefesh flight to Israel. 

This is aliyah folks. When you're a young, single person, you pack your life into three, 50-pound suitcases plus a carry on plus a personal item. The funny thing is that it doesn't feel weird to me. At work on Friday everyone said I seemed inordinately calm. For me, it's like I'm moving to a new city -- something I've done so very many times before. Packing up a bunch of suitcases and schlepping them across a country is what I do, so an ocean seems no different to me. The only difference is that I'm not the one driving the car doing the schlepping -- I'm on a plane, my luggage is packed tightly away, and I'm at the whim of the weather, some pilots, and time. 

It's adventure for me. Grabbing life by the reins and really owning it. It's taking the land -- Eretz Yisrael -- and possessing it. HaShem commanded me -- all of Israel -- to do this. So it doesn't feel strange, it just feels more right than all of the other attempts I've made at moving and possessing the space I inhabit. This time, it's real. This time? It's for keeps. This time, HaShem is fully with me. I finally listened, as we're commanded so many times in the Torah to do so. Shema, it says. Listen. 

Not once in the Torah does HaShem demand that we obey Him. HaShem asks us merely to listen. To absorb. To take in. To internalize. And only then do we act, because we want to be an active participant in this world, in this creation, in Am Yisrael
"Be silent, Israel, and listen! You have now become the people of the LORD your God. Listen to the LORD your God and follow His commands and decrees that I give you today" (Deut. 27:9-10).
It's taken me several years of listening to finally act. And now that I am? The listening, the choice, the action -- it's like feeling my skin for the first time. It's a part of me.