As part of our community blog content at ON THE MOVE, we present our interview series, where we invite movers to bring their thoughts not only on the physical move but on the intensely personal experience of moving house. Here we explore the spirituality and psychology of Home and why where we live means so much to us. We want to hear your story, please share it with us.
By Sherrill Layton
WINTER is a time of gearing down. It's unfortunate that I do not have any more snowfall to goggle at, because it's one of my fondest childhood memories. The alarm goes off for school and, with any luck, it was something by The Beatles, the most excellent get-ready-for-school music ever. You could tell just by the weight of the air that it had snowed. A silent weight loaded with questions that you know will have to sit tight without answers, possibly forever. A silence that wraps you and lifts you up under the arms a little, nudging you to listen more closely. An intimate silence that you try to shy away from by instantaneously making noise... a swift run to the windows, the pull of the curtain, and voila! I would say that I could put those moments on my top-five Glee List.
There is a quick acquaintance with memories of the quietness first felt on wakening on those mornings. As the forehead slowly made its way to rest on a freezing pane of glass in innocent reverence—bow to powers—I finally realize, WINTER is alive. My breath, witnessed by that chilly platitude, offended no one and made itself a wee dewy canvas for window hearts.
I love Israel. I love living in Israel. I love everything about it and can honestly say I love the LAND of Israel as much as those who live in the Land. The Land of Israel provides for us so many opportunities to do Mitzvot, such as Shemitta, Terumot and Maasrot (tithing our fruits before eating). One of those Mitzvot (which actually ALSO applies outside of Israel!) is one known as Orlah.
The mitzva of Orlah is that during the first three years after a fruit tree is planted, one may not have ANY benefit from the fruit that grows. In the Fourth year, the fruit is known as Netta Reva’i and has a level of Kedusha (holiness) to it. The “years” are determined by Tu B’Shvat and with this significant day occurring this evening and tomorrow (corresponding to 25 January 2016), the fruit that grows after this point is fruit that we we will be permitted to eat!
To understand how special that is, I need to recount the past three years of the trees produce and what we had to do. (We have pomello, clementine, lemon and pomegranate trees). During the first couple of years (a bit less), we had to catch any flower or early-stage fruit before it began to grow and to pick it off the tree and dispose of it. During the past year, since it was a Shemitta year, we picked the mini fruits off the trees and then let them sit for some time before disposing of them, since they had Kedushat Shvi’it.
That means that for three years, we SAW the fruit in its early stages but could not allow them to come to fruition nor have any benefit from them. From the day they were planted, we knew that only AFTER Tu B’Shvat 5776 could we finally have use of and eat the new fruits that grow after that point. We watched hundreds of fruits grow, that we could not use…and abstaining meant keeping a Mitzva!
Now, we plan to try and make the first new crops extra special this year. In the time of the Bet HaMikdash, when a new fruit of the Seven Species began to grow, the farmer would wrap a thread around the new fruit. Once that fruit became ripe, the fruit was taken to Yerushalayim and subject to the Bikurim process.
While we only have one tree that is of the Seven Species, we will still take these steps with all of our new fruits! The plan is to tie a thread around the first new fruits of each tree. Once the items reach maturity, we will take them to Jerusalem and eat them there as a “remembrance” of Bikurim. But, more importantly, it will be in honor of our having awaited this time patiently for three years and then consuming the bounty of the Land of Israel in the holiest city in the Land. We will take that which has inherent Kedusha (Netta Reva’i) and eat it in the City that Hashem deemed the holiest on Earth.
Tonight we will celebrate with a Tu B’Shvat Seder. We will thank Hashem for the Land and its fruit. The difference this year is that the fruit we will eat in a few weeks will be that which we nurtured with our own hands. It is really quite exciting!
Happy Tu B’Shvat to all!
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav andteacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students. Follow or contact Zev on Facebook.
I’m still reeling from our pantry makeover. It’s just so organized AND PRETTY you guys! I have a simple DIY that you are going to love and will undoubtedly do this weekend from the sheer excitement of it all.
I knew I wanted a black and white pantry with spots and stripes. Who knew that black and white striped shelf paper would prove difficult to acquire? Not this girl. I had no idea that shelf paper or shelf lining (there’s some debate on what to call it) is either plain and affordable or chic and expensive. This is why this DIY is so good. You can get any look you want for less than the price of regular shelf paper/lining. My total cost was $9 for these gorgeous lined shelves!
by Hannah Katsman
Whether you made aliyah before or after you had kids, you’ve most likely been pleasantly or rudely surprised by parenting norms here in Israel.
[...] I asked immigrant parents to share their experiences — whether exasperating or inspiring — about raising children in our wonderful country.
by Kevin Fong
So I just moved house. My life is in a sea of poorly labelled cardboard boxes filled with random contents. Everything is packed that way. From clothes and camping gear to hard drives and reprints. I’ve done pretty well to find the box that contained this laptop. Less well in locating the power cord that goes with it, so forgive the haste with which this has to be written.
Moving house is an understudied phenomenon worthy of more academic analysis. It has occurred to me that the three packaging symbols that adorn the side of every single box – the umbrella, the “This Way Up” arrow and the picture of the broken glass – probably have a more ancient origin and purpose. I bet that if archaeologists had a really good dig around they’d find them on the walls of our most primitive prehistoric dwellings. They are, I suspect, a primordial, perennially unheeded warning that translates roughly to: “Don’t Leave the Cave You Idiot. There’s Nothing Wrong With The House You Live In Now.”
Psychologists tell us that moving house is among the most stressful life events a person might ever have to endure. I remember wondering how that could be so. Surely, I thought, it is only a scaled-up version of that trick you used to pull off as an undergraduate at the end of term, when the accumulated detritus of 12 weeks of student living had to magically disappear into bin liners that got shoved into the boot of your dad’s car.
There must be a mathematical expression for the state of entropy that describes the way your house looks after you’ve just moved in.
Designing according to ancient principles may do more than put your home in balance — it may enhance your life
By Laura Gaskill
by Leslie Rutland
A few months ago a friend asked me for some advice about shopping at Ikea. Since I have practically furnished my entire house with Ikea purchases I felt like I had some good advice to share. Later I saw a Facebook post about her Ikea experience. I’m not sure I had prepared her well enough.
In order for this to never happen again, I’ve prepared Tips for Shopping at Ikea. This list will help you get the most out of your Ikea trip and you won’t go home with items that may have to be returned.
Interviews and Culture Page
Here we share the (moving) moving stories of our fabulous clients, plus tidbits of information on Jewish culture and community to make your reading experience unforgettably enjoyable.