From the Heart with Rabbi Liebowitz

Old friends

Old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends

A time it was, and what a time it was, it was A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you (Paul Simon)

Dear Friends,

Though I am the son of a one-time New York taxi driver, my understanding of car mechanics is somewhat lacking. Just last week an unhappy noise was emanating from the engine of my Jeep Wrangler. Our mechanic used what some call the Mechanic’s Stethoscope (a rather long screw- driver) to discover the source of the noise. Turned out it was something called a Synchronizer. I have labored on the internet to discover what that somewhat expensive part is all about. Below is a picture of the same with this brief description: A synchronizer, or “synchro,” lets the collar and gear synchronize their speeds while they’re already in contact but before the dog teeth engage. My reaction after reading that was; “Huh?”

remain unclear what all that means, but as the name would suggest it does have something to do with timing and gears. The noise is now gone, but the bill still remains with a bit of unclarity regarding the synchronizer’s necessary function.

There are innumerable sayings connected to time, such as “A watched pot never boils!” and “There is no time like the present!” or “Timing is everything.” And finally, Tempus fugit, which is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as “time flies.” The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb meaning “time’s a-wasting.” A kindred phrase Carpe diem, (meaning something like “Seize the day!) also comes to mind.

As we will soon review the Biblical tale of the Wanderings in the Book of Numbers (Bamidbar – In the Wilderness!” in Hebrew) we can well imagine how that forty-year trek to the Promised Land must have taken its spiritual toll on our ancestors. As a kid, my brother and I would say to Pop driving the car, “Whenever will we get there?” Of course, we were unacquainted with the Buddhist saying, “Wherever you go, there you are!” The Jewish and Hindu inspired teacher Ram Daas once mused in his book “Be here now!” the value of being present in the moment. How many of us are speeding along, trying to get to there from here without noticing the “now” of our existence.

Perhaps Moses was taught as much at the burning bush when God answered his question “Whom shall I say has sent thee?” The Divine answered, “I am that I am” or to use one theological idea, “the Eternal Now!” I find that idea inviting. God (the Eternal One) is not only everywhere but also every when, unbounded by time. God is at the splitting of the Red Sea, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and at the moment when each of us will “shake off our mortal coil!”

As we are in the “winter of our discontent” (When will spring please arrive?) we should hopefully take time to “smell the roses” that have not yet bloomed. Let us be in sync as we drive along our road to understanding life and its gifts, now and forever more. Amen!

Yossi Liebowitz, Rabbi