Rosh Hashana and Why My Wife Got Locked Out

Thursday, 24 September, 2009 - 11:48 pm

You’ve heard the old play on words:

“How do you get two whales in a Mini Cooper?

Down the M4!”


How do you get more guests into the dining room than you thought could fit?

Rent narrow chairs!

And so we did.


Rosh Hashana eve, we welcomed in 5770 in the company of 40 young Jews. To be honest, at times I thought I had been transported to the Holy Land. As three quarters of the crowd were Israeli, my Rosh Hashana thoughts were shared in English and Hebrew and the songs sung were traditional Israeli melodies.


Despite the cramped conditions, the atmosphere was electric and a motivational way to begin 5770. You see, the Hebrew word פרצת – Poratsta, to breach or burst, has the numerical value of 770. (The number synonymous with Chabad Lubavitch; the Rebbe’s office being at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY).


5770; a year of breaching and bursting all obstacles. Removing those barriers that may hinder our efforts to become better people. Reaching far beyond the limitations we may have set for ourselves. How appropriate that the year begin with the largest turnout we’ve hosted in our home for a sit-down dinner yet! And a delicious four course dinner no less… Thank you Shterna!


I doubt my annual Rosh Hashana highlight went unnoticed. After blowing the Shofar at Holland Road Shul in Hove, I was off to Kemp Town to blow Shofar at Hyman Fine House, then back to Churchill Square for the highlight. Surrounded by Israelis, all 30 blasts were heard loud and clear right in the middle of the shopping centre, then 3 more Shofar stops before lunch…


Strange we are. Two days of binge eating followed by a fast day. I’m sure there are healthier eating habits out there!


Today was Freshers Fayre at University of Kent, Canterbury. After scouting out Jewish students for four hours, Shterna called to advise me that her key is missing and the neighbours can’t find the spare copy.


Do I cancel the last meeting of the day and return to Brighton immediately, while she waits outside the house with four tired kvetchy children, or do I hope something works out and remain in Canterbury for another couple of hours?


Back to the car to load, while I call Rabbi Efune who rushes to Torah Nursery to see if the key was mistakenly left there. The neighbour finds the spare key and I relax. I’m delayed and arrive at a campus café to get a black coffee two minutes later than I thought. But it was meant to be…


A young student takes his place behind me in the queue, we make eye contact but not much else, and I turn my attention to the coffee machine. His phone rings and he answers the call “Mah Shlomcha?”. I promptly respond “B’Seder”. You can well imagine how the rest of our conversation went.


If there’d not have been a missing key and I’d have got to that queue two minutes earlier, I would have never met Roni*.


May we be blessed that throughout 5770 we are given the opportunity to overcome all barriers, thus allowing us to acknowledge the continuous Divine Providence that surrounds us.


*Fictitious name, though the story happened as related…

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