I FINALLY got to talk to my sister this morning. Becca left for Israel last Sunday, and she’s going for the trip of a lifetime.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, but I’m a little bit of an anal-retentive person, and have trouble writing when I can’t think of the perfect first line. Big surprise, right? I have writer’s block.
But I owe this post to Becca. I think that the problem is, I want this blog to be about me. I don’t mean that I wanted it to be about me in that I want all the attention that surrounds it, but more because I want to very clearly respect the rule that “once something is put on the internet, it can never be taken down.” And that’s a big rule to remember!
The truth is, Becca really needs this year. And I think that, just having been gone for close to four days, she’s starting to realize how much she needs this year.
To say that the past few have been difficult for her would be an understatement, but that’s her story, not mine, and I’m not going to share it here.
Before she left, I had our family go around and play the “love game” about her; where we each said one thing we love about Becca and one thing that we’re going to miss about her while she’s gone. After some tears and some laughter, we realized even more than we thought, just how much we’re going to miss her.
Rivka, the matriarch that Becca gets her Hebrew name from, is referred to as the rose among the thorns. Isaac chose to marry her because she cared for animals before she cared for humans, and his servant adorned her with nose-jewelry (yes, the biblical Rebecca had a nose-ring!) so that Isaac would know who she was. They teach that your name plays a large part in determining what kind of person you will be; I think that my sister would make her namesake proud.
She’s in the most incredible place in the entire world, Israel, where the land itself contains a mystique that no other place can capture. It’s the center of the world, both literally and figuratively, and now more than ever, the entire world’s eyes rest on Israel.
I’ve been lucky enough to have been to Israel four times, and each time I came back a little bit changed. I remember standing at the Kotel for the first time and thinking that it was smaller than I’d expected, and then going back most recently and crying into its crevices, awed by it’s sheer magnitude. I remember staring at the cotton-candy-colored Negev sky and realizing that there had to have been something out there that inserted order and brilliance into the crazy world that we live in.
It’s very appropriate that Becca left for Israel during the Hebrew month of Elul. Every month has a pasuk, or a line of Hebrew, that goes along with it, kind of like a slogan, using the month’s name as an acronym. The pasuk for Elul is, “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” which is traslated to, “I am to my beloved, and my beloved is to me,” a line that is usually used to refer to the relationship between a husband and wife. During the month of Elul, it’s representative of the potential of a relationship between humankind and G-d. This relationship has even more potential in the land of Israel.
Keeping all of that in mind, this year is going to be so much FUN for my sister. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to get away from it all for a while and just seize every opportunity! There’s nothing mundane or methodical about the year she’s going to have, no daily routine. And that’s something I would LOVE to get rid of!
So, Becca, before I continue I want to let you know (again) how much I love you and how proud of you I am. I also would like to gently urge you to start a travel blog to keep me, Jonathan, mom, dad, and all of your friends updated on the fabulous things you are doing.
I just thought I’d end with a list of things I wish I knew when I was my sister’s age, starting a new chapter in my life.
1.) It’s okay to be different, and to reinvent yourself often. Life’s boring if you never change.
2.) Just like you, the world will change around you. It’s okay, and not something to be scared of.
3.) Make new friends, but don’t forget your roots. The people you grew up with often play a large role in who you are today and who you will be tomorrow.
4.) Go off the beaten path. It’s okay to get in a little bit of trouble. (I don’t think my sister has trouble with this one at all!)
5.) There is such a thing as responsible trouble. Only take a large risk if you know you won’t get caught!
6.) Drink lots and lots of water.
7.) Wear sunscreen!
8.) Tell the people you love that you love them. Often.
9.) Spend more money on experiences than on objects. Memories last longer than any bracelet, t-shirt, or bumper sticker will.
10.) Don’t forget to look around – G-d created this world just for us to enjoy the things in it. Don’t miss what’s right in front of you.