I wrote this article during the month of Cheshvan. It is one of the few months without a Jewish holiday. Coming on the heels of the High Holidays and Sukkot, some of you may have breathed a sigh of relief. But for me, as a congregational rabbi, I felt sad. There was such a wonderful divine excitement swirling around the community for a full month that came to a crashing halt.
By divine providence, I wrote this article after my 17th wedding anniversary. Compared to my grandparents, who recently celebrated their 69th anniversary, or my parents, who just marked their 40th, 17 may not be a great accomplishment, but nonetheless it is certainly reason to reflect.
I am fortunate to have married my best friend. She is a selfless mother, a dedicated wife and an example of honesty, loyalty, sensitivity and warmth. All who know her love her. I am comfortable, indeed honoured, to be referred to by most as “Bassy’s husband.” I am blessed to have found my bashert, my partner, the other half of my soul.
As my wife and I took a stroll down the parkway, enjoying the mild weather and the beautiful fall colours, we reminisced about how so much in our lives has changed since we danced on our wedding night.
We settled in Ottawa, founded a vibrant Chabad house, and started a family that has now grown to seven children.
There are many memories punctuated by important personal milestones. Becoming parents for the first time, watching as our eldest children celebrated their bar and bat mitzvah, and receiving the keys to our new home were all moments of great pride that we will never forget.
There were moments when we cried tears of grief together after the passing of loved ones – particularly after the passing of my esteemed father-in-law, Rabbi Mordechai Berger. There were moments when our hearts broke together, such as separating from our teenage children at the airport as they left to study abroad. There were moments we had fun together, including family trips to Disney World and to the cottage. Together. Always together.
But, then there were the ordinary moments: paying the mortgage, washing the dishes, taking out the garbage and picking up the kids. Moments when we have to compromise and moments when we have to apologize. Moments when our patience is tested and moments when life seems too chaotic. But it is these moments that are the true barometer of our union.
When these moments are experienced together the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
So, too, it is with our relationship with God. Experiencing the Divine during the holidays is wonderful. But, when we incorporated spirituality in the seemingly mundane month of Cheshvan, we knew our relationship with God had just got real.