Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Changing times and seasons

One of the interesting things about going to shul every morning is that I get to experience daily the change of the natural cycle of night and day.  When I first began my walks to shul in late November, it was completely dark.  That continued until about five weeks ago when the first light of day appeared.  As winter waned, the light intensified, until last week the sun shown directly at me as I stepped out onto the sidewalk.  Then we moved the clocks forward last weekend, so that it is again semi-light.  The mild New York winter has triggered the trees to bud already, though the first leaves have yet to appear.  The last few days, the birds seem to be chirping more loudly.  I even heard them today in shul (or did I never notice them before)?

With the clocks changed, I now have a couple of hours between the end of work and the evening prayers. I used to have to rush out of work to get to shul in time.  Gradually, as the days got longer, I was able to do brief errands before shul.  (Mincha (the afternoon prayer service) is scheduled for about 10 minutes before sunset.)  By the time we moved the clocks, I could do a full shopping. 

Going to shul daily means more than going into a synogogue building.  It means calibrating one's existence to the cycle of life.  Through the acknowledgement of death, it is an commitment to life.

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