Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chanukah in the Old City 2013

Since Raphaela has never been to the Old City in Jerusalem in a cognitive conscious way, I had decided that on one of the days of Chanukah I would take her on a walk through the Old City and to the Kotel [Wailing Wall].  The weather report for the next three days is threatening rain (finally!) for the next three days,  so we set off today.

My expectations of her ability to traverse the rocky paths and the long walk were low, and Raphaela far exceeded them, walking almost four hours on the steep and broken streets, pushing through the massive crowds without fear.  When we concluded our tour and were on our way to the bus stop, Raphaela said, "Mommy, why bother taking the bus?  We can walk home from here, it's not that far from here!"  Well, she might have had excess energy but Mommy felt pretty exhausted.

While it is less advisable to give charity money to random people wandering around the Old City, I wanted to teach Raphaela the joy of giving with a full heart, so I set aside a bunch of loose change, gave it to her and told her that she could give it to whomever she felt fit.  Raphaela distributed the change to many people, including a random mother walking with her children;  the woman laughed, understanding the meaning behind the gesture, and suggested Raphaela give the coins to someone more worthy and more needy than herself.

As we walked through the alleys, I explained to Raphaela that the ridges in the stones were part of an ancient sewage and drainage system, and that the Jews in the time of Chanukah did not have a modern plumbing system or bathtubs like we have today.  Raphaela seemed even more concerned when I told her that in the time of the Macabees, there was no such thing as television or the Internet.

"What did they do with their time, Mommy?" (Very valid question for this generation...)

We lost count of the number of menorahs we saw, large small and very large.

At the Kotel, I explained to Raphaela that although G-d listens to us everywhere, this place, a remnant of the Temple, G-d listens very well, and that she could make a special wish.

I submitted my regular Christmas list IE health, good friends and supportive relationships, professional success, the end of this war of terror and World Peace etc.  When I asked Raphaela what she had discussed with G-d, she answered that she had requested Love.

1 comment:

koshergourmetmart said...

what a great and memorable experience for her. fantastic photo