As I reflect on the past whirlwind month of Tishri, and look forward to the less intense month of Cheshvan, I imagine sending a letter to G-d. Next year, would He mind changing things around a bit for us Jewish women?
After many years – generations, actually – of solid experience managing schedules – our work schedules, our children’s extracurricular activities, family activities, the Holidays, etc. – we’ve noticed that there might be a more strategic way to organize Your calendar.
You know that month after summer, Tishrei? It’s super fun and super spiritual, and we so appreciate it. In fact, we love it! It’s quite beautiful. But, there’s just one tiny thing: It’s a bit “over-scheduled.”
We were wondering if it would be possible, for the sake of keeping things a bit more organized, to spread out the festivities, especially since we noticed you gave us a month right after it, Cheshvan, with no Holy Days at all. We think spreading things out and having some of these special days during Cheshvan would work out quite well.
Imagine how much more productive we would be if we had some more time to recoup from Holy Day to Holy Day, and between shopping and cooking runs. Plus, there are many late nights and meals with family and friends during Tishri – the kids do get a bit over tired (read: cranky).
With love and appreciation,
Organized Jewish Women Around the World
P.S. If You’d like for us to refer a professional organizer and/or virtual assistant, there are some extraordinarily talented women in this group, who’d be happy to help You with the “over-scheduling.” We’ll hook You up.
Upon further reflection, I suspect His response would read something like this:
Dear Organized Jewish Women Around the World,
In order to help you figure this one out, let me give you a hint: As the Midrash Tanchuma records: I created the world because I desired a dwelling place in this world.
Tishrei stays as is. Cheshvan stays as is. Make the most of them. You can do it.
With much faith in you and wishing you much success,
P.S. Perhaps, the professional organizers and virtual assistants in the group could help you all insert a reminder on your calendars, which says: “G-d has your back.” :-)
Great. Now, how do we reconcile the fact that the Creator of the world, who got everything right, down to the minute detail, seems to have failed to organize His calendar a bit more … how should I say this … strategically?
We finish Tishrei and we enter a month of just real, ordinary life. Aside from it being my birthday month, the only other distinguishing feature of Cheshvan is that it is the only month on the Jewish calendar that does not have a single festival or mitzvah associated with it. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. (I presume G-d does not intend the whole Jewish nation to celebrate my birthday.)
Contrast that with the preceding month of Tishrei – a long, some might even say, overdrawn celebration. “Was that a strategic move on G-d’s part?” I wonder. “Isn’t a schedule or calendar meant to provide structure and thus, aid us in fulfilling certain tasks?” Enter G-d’s hint: “He desired a dwelling place in this world.”
Perhaps, the festivals of Tishrei exist for the sake of the Cheshvan days of our lives. Perhaps, the more spiritual days supply us with fortitude and direction, so that we may optimize the ordinary days of the year – days in which we interact with the mundane, each of us in our respective occupation and field of endeavor.
Perhaps, G-d does not desire that our lives be about the special or the spiritual, but rather about the mundane, the ordinary. Or, more accurately, about our interaction with the mundane and ordinary. Perhaps, we fulfill G-d’s desire by adding meaning and spirituality to real, ordinary life.
I suspect then, that in order to help us out, G-d invites us on a spiritual retreat for a month. Upon our return, we are called upon to implement every iota of spiritual enrichment and learning that we gained during that time, and integrate it into our oh so ordinary lives.
We’ll then try to fuse the spiritual and physical elements of our lives in unison and harmony, and attempt to implement a delicate balance between them both. And perhaps, it is not presumptuous to assume that we Jewish women are well-equipped and trained for this task. But, just in case we have trouble synching both our calendars and G-d’s (and our desires with G-d’s desires), we can always set an automatic calendar reminder that says: “G-d has my back!”
This article first appeared on The Jewish Herald Voice, October 19, 2017