I am four hours away from going to the airport for the final leg of this journey. Usually, the last days in New York after such a trip is one of waiting and anti-climax; the work is done and now back to real life. Not this time.

Last night I went to a wedding. Not an unusual occurance for me. I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds. This was the wedding of the son of the only friendship that has been maintained since childhood. We went to school and synagogue together. We spent a summer in my father’s camp back in 1965 in Israel. I lived in his home back in ’86-’87. I’ve seen all his kids grow up.

We grew up in quintessential Modern Orthodox Jewish homes. His father and my father were partners in community institutional building and they sat next to each in synaogue. Charles (my friend, the grooms father) married an amazing woman whose brother became the Rebbe – Master – of a major Chassidic dynasty. He has thousands of devotees. He’s younger than me and he is as far as know, the only Chassidic Master born and bred in America. He was both yeshiva and university trained. So he has all the frames of cultural references we have. It’s an amazing conbination.

Charles, my brother and friend, arranged for me to have some minutes with him privately. It was awesome. It was deep, real, close, intimate, filled with brokeness and wholeness, tears of hope, joy, pain and sharing. He has a true compassion and gentleness that is the warmest of embraces. We also shared some intense heavy stuff. It’s just to awesome to share other than personally and face to face.

The wedding was absurdly surreal for me. Compared to ‘our’ weddings in Yerushalayim, it was a ritzy, gilded affair. At the same time, it was warm without any smugness or stuffiness, reflecting how much the parents of both bride and groom, are real people. It was formal and somehow sown home at the same time. For me, it was a return to a world that I had left behind without looking back, many years ago.

Isaw a world of people I haven’t seen in 30 years or more. Most are unchanged, just older and wealthier. They are living respectable lives, following the commandments, identifying as Jews and upholding Jewish tradition and well being as best they understand. They are completely lacking in the kind of knowing ‘my world’ whether Jewish or otherwise, is interested in knowing. In past times I would have brooded and burned and thrown cynical jabs at them the whole time, being condescending and superior to the point of completely alienating myself from them, making them disgusted with me as I was them.

But I have finally learned a thing or two. I have truly healed the bulk of the pain and dissappointment and anger that I have carried so long. It isn’t that my judgement was wrong or that I no longer see things and ‘them’ differently. I have just come to surrender to the world and lives that HaShem has created and shaped. And while I might not like it, to change it requires an acceptance of all the ‘thems’ with love, compassion and understanding.

So I danced in a circle with 5 others who constituted my tight circle of brethren back in sixities and early seventies. And I made some sort of contact. For years, I have thought of this chevre. They have done well materially. Shouldn’t they be the natural constituency to supportte my work? But how to I get to them? How do I re-establish contact in such a way to cultivate and nurture my work? How do I explain or share the knowledge I have aquired since and successfully invite them to partner in making it real? How do I speak to them so that they can receive and respond? I was bereft.

So I extended my stay for the wedding and there they were. And they received me. Not as the Moish I am now with what I know. They don’t yet know what I know. They haven’t done the things that I have done to receive this knowledge and the imperatives derived from it. I was always ‘different.’ I was the activist back in the day; the one on fire. They were ‘normal.’ They accepted my ‘otherness’ with amusement. I burned at their lack of fire. And now I could be with them without burning and without burning them. It was the perfect coda for this journey. It was the perfect time to come together and reestablish contact.

Among the infinite number of teachings HaShem has showered upon me this journey, maybe the most critical one is a new found trust and patience, “All good things in all good time,” Jerry sings. Healed in this journey has been the inpatience and heaviness that comes with profound sensitivity to the planet’s suffering and the continued struggle of my people to find peace in our home as well as the overpowering sense that HaShem’s ‘other shoe’ will drop at any moment.

HaShem has shown me that there is a bit of time and space to take the work to a new level. Rav Natan Greenberg, the Chief Rabbi of Yeshivat Bat Ayin in Israel that I co-founded with him, oftens quotes Rebbe Nachman, that “Mashiach can come at any moment, but you have to live as if he’s not coming for 99 years.” That’s been a hard one for me. I believe I have crossed over to a refined understanding that maintains the sense of urgency to the work, while giving space to allow it evolve. HaShem has reminded me that He is taking care of the world and things will evolve at His pace and in His way.

Ans so, the last night was the most intense and auspicious. Who would have guessed. But it just makes so much sense. I return home to the Land with new hope and trust. With joy and love filling my heart. With gratitude that both humbles and expands. And with prayer. For so much and for so many. Not least of which is for myself.

Thank you to all who made this journey possible, for myself and for all those who have benifited from your enabling. Thank you to all those who so completely and generously, opened their homes and lives to me, my crew, my teachings and my work. Thank you to HaShem for not giving up on me and creating new openings. I have no doubt that there will be further tribulations and there will be those moments where how much I haven’t evolved will become revealed. So let it also be a continuing of the revelation that I am not the same one journeying through the tests. I have, indeed, truly arrived, at the next higher level. May I be fully with it.

And thank you Nachshon. Thank you Charles and Nancy, Aderet and Noam, Nili and Tzivya. Thank you for your love and joy and embrace. Thank you for being my family. May you all be blessed with love and light and eternal closeness. You are worthy and deserving.

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