Thursday, November 28, 2013

Consolation Prizes

Once again, a procrastinated post. But better late than not at all, I hope. Having settled on the subject of “consolation prizes” a while back, I’ll stick with that theme and begin with this: During the week of November 4, the anniversary of our aliyah to Israel 16 years ago, I drove around town taking photos of the breathtaking fall foliage. It was one of the most colorful autumn seasons in my recent memory and I was thrilled to have the time to drink it all in. I maintain that this natural wonder, which does not occur to the same degree in Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) as in parts of chu"l (outside the Land), is a consolation prize for those of us who are physically po (here) but mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually shom (there). You know where I’m going with that, don’t you….? So this post will be peppered with some of the pics that Shani and I took. Please respond with your ooohs and ahhhs.
Fast forward – and here we are again….celebrating Chanukah in the Land of Sham (I do pronounce it “shom” but I kind of like the “sham” twist) instead of Po (see previous Chanukah posts for a fuller explanation). This year’s Thanksgivukkah phenomenon is cute but only meaningful to me in that there are people of all persuasions being thankful for their personal blessings and miracles on a day when we Jews have been doing that for a couple of millennia anyway.

I see it as a consolation prize of sorts as we wait for what life will be like when the entire world is united under G-d’s Kingship. (A Rosh Hashanah concept but applicable all year round.) And as everyone knows by now, since Thanksgivukkah won’t happen again for another seventy-thousand-some-odd years (and even that is questionable), it does offer a unique opportunity to contemplate that vision of a fantastic future.
We were planning on a festive dinner for this evening with some special guests who had to cancel on us last-minute and now we’ve got tons of food and very few people to eat it. Wanna join us? But the consolation prize in that will be the very delicious Shabbat seudah (meal) tomorrow night (wanna join us?) and having time today to compose this post instead of slaving over the stove.

Although our trees are nearly leaf-less now and Thanksgivukkah is almost behind us, Chanukah will continue for another seven light-filled days. There is so much written about the power of the Chanukah flames. May we merit to tap into their holiness.

Chanukah is one of my most special times – if not, the most - to Remember Jerusalem as it is the first holiday that we celebrated there after our aliyah and the only holiday that we commemorate for an event that happened on holy soil; at a site so accessible to us today. That’s much more than a consolation prize and something to give much thanks about.
Wishing you a Happy Chanukah 
and many reasons for thanks-giving.


  1. Dear Sharon,
    Thanks so much for sharing this- the foliage is wondrous! especially the pink/fuchsia samples- my favorite color!

  2. What beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing the loveliness you see around you. I always appreciate that -- though you long to be PO -- you still find what to be grateful for SHAM. May Hashem bring you HOME on eagle's wings, very soon, for long, healthy, happy years spent walking and photographing the land of Israel.

  3. We hope to see you back here soon - Chanuka really is a very moving holiday here in Israel! I love walking down the street and admiring all the chanukiot :) Enjoy the gorgeous foliage in the meantime, though!