A New Term.. Every Day is New.. Yud Shevat
Today is the first day of the second term of the new college that I work at and I'm so excited!! It's a beginning, it's going full circle and starting over again for the first time. Years from now a new term may just seem like a "new term" or Spring Semester but this year it's a first and it's exciting to see the college students come back and realize we have reached such a big milestone.
The first term started under the threat of Hurricane Ernesto which was passing through back in August. Our second term starts as an artic cold front has our students in Miami actually wearing boots and sweaters and although we have sunny skies we have a taste of winter.
I'm wearing my boots today... my brown high heeled boots and the brown outfit I wore to New York to go to the Ohel when my son Shuky became engaged a month or so ago. I decided it would be a good outfit to wear on Yud Shevat :) Maybe it would remind me of the things I davened for at the Ohel and am trying to accomplish in my life.
So, hard to explain Yud Shevat to people as you are celebrating both an end and a new beginning.
On one hand it's the anniversary of the Frierdiker (Previous) Rebbe's death. The completeness of his life and all he did both in the Soviet Union and in here in America. As students in Bais Rivkah in Crown Heights we would sing songs about how the "Frierdiker Rebbe built schools and yeshivas" but he did more than that. He laid a groundwork in Russia that lay dormant in the winter of Communism and bloomed after Glasnost... the schools, the underground institutions that lay like bulbs quietly waiting under the frozen earth and which bloomed through the melting snow as the Iron Curtain came down and Chabad exploded in Russia to be there for Jews in a new political environment. Buildings that once housed communist offices now house Jewish schools and Jewish Centers. That is the Frierdiker's legacy, a legacy that the Rebbe (Menechem Mendel Schneersohn) continued to work with as he enlarged and encouraged the growth of Soviet Judiasm after decades when it was illegal for a Jew to lead his life as a Jew in the non-religous unfriendly world of yesterday.
Time passes, each day is new and each day has it's own opportunities. Sometimes we grow quietly and other times we want to burst forth like flowers in the Spring time. Each season has it's own beauty. Today I wear boots, tomorrow I might wear flip flops.. so fast do the seasons change in Miami.
Yud Shevat is the anniversary of the previous Rebbe's death but it is also the anniversary of The Rebbe becoming the Rebbe.
An end, a beginning.
An old term is finished, the new term begins.
Every morning, each day we have the chance to start over. Yesterday is gone and it no longer exists except in distant memories which get shoved around in our minds as new memories crowd in.
Last night I went to Frumma's chasena and danced with friends I have not seen in a good 20 years if not 30. My friend Melinda reminded me how we used to dance all the time in LA at simchas and how she always remembers that. And, I remember the first time I met Frumma in Long Beach at some school dinner and we danced. We are still dancing all these years later. We have had good times, we have had some bad times and we keep on dancing.
Life is not about giving up and to quote some bumper sticker somewhere...
G-d Allows U Turns. The act of Tshuvah, which is poorly translated as repentence but is really re-connecting yourself to your source turns the world over 180 degrees. To quote an old Gloria Estefan song.. "turn the world around."
That is the beauty in these hand off sort of holidays... when we remember an ending and a beginning.
It gives us a chance to look at our life and think who we are and who we want to be tomorrow. And, if we can dream it... we can see it in our mind's eye the life we would like to live... all we have to do is do it.
As my good friend Zahava said to me last night, it is only when we let in the seed of doubt that we allow in negativity and we are afraid and we give up thinking we can't succeed.
So... sitting here in Miami Beach staring out at the sunny blue skies but feeling a little bite of an Artic Cold front that bit us just a little bit this week... I want to close by saying, do not let the seeds of doubt in to your life but instead remember that when the snow melts those really cute "up north flowers" called tulips and crocus and daffodils burst through the white snow with color and brightness and the promise of Spring.
As another old friend in life always said.. Keep the Faith..
Winter is but a season and tomorrow is a new day but today is Yud Shevat so make the most of today, it's a special day!
Smiles from Sunny but chilly Miami!