I am going to have to apologize that it has been so long since I posted, and there is just too much to write about. Needless to say, I am having such an amazing experience. I promise that I will keep up with writing not only journal entries, but also blog posts about different topics that I have been thinking about. I hope the pictures I have uploaded will tell the proper story of my experiences.
During Sukkot (October 12th- 19th), I spent a week up in Tzfat as a participant at Livnot U'Lehibanot "To Build & To Be Built". This program was just life changing, and words can't even describe the experiences I had during this week. The purpose of the program is for each individual to step outside of their comfort zone physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have never thought on a spiritual level before, but it was such an amazing feeling learning that I do have that side of me. During this week, I challenged myself to create a WOW (Words of Wisdom) to present during a Shabbat dinner I had on November 7th, my most recent visit to Livnot. The purpose of a WOW to connect a topic of your choosing to a piece of Jewish Scripture. In the end, a life lesson should bring the topic and piece of scripture together. I have never connected life lessons to scripture before, but why not give it a try. After all I am living in the Jewish State, might as well explore the teachings of Judaism even further.
This following WOW is from this experience...Enjoy
On November 7th, I was traveling back to Tzfat to take part in a Livnot Alumni Shabbat weekend. This would be my second time traveling to Tzfat using Israeli public transportation. In general, I am still getting use to living off of public transportation. I do miss my Jeep LIberty. I have never had a problem with the Israeli buses...unless I am going to Tzfat.
Typically when I travel, the bus leaves right from the Central Bus Station. The beauty of living in Netanya is its location. Netnaya is literally right in the middle of the country right along the coast. That makes Netanya a hub for direct buses. There is a direct bus to Tsfat from Netanya, but it does not leave from the CBS. Instead it stops at a bus stop on the freeway. My first trip up to Tsfat during Sukkot, was the first time I had to pick up a bus from this stop, and to add to it, I was alone. I got to the bus stop early and just satthere and waited, and was wishing that the bus would come, and all would go smoothly. 15 minutes past when the bus was suppose to come I was starting to get nervous thinking I somehow missed seeing the bus. At that point, I saw the bus pass on the freeway,but it did not stop at the bus stop. I had no idea what to do, I was thinking I was at the wrong bus stop!! I knew there were other buses that would come, and hopefully I would catch those instead. So, I proceeded to walk back to my apartment upset that I missed the bus. As I was walking over the bridge, I saw a bus stopped on the freeway. There is a specific exit that buses are suppose to take to get to the bus stop. It ended up this was my bus and the driver missed that exit. Not knowing how long the driver would be stopped for (blocking traffic). I ran with all my luggage for the week back down the bridge onto the freeway. I was literally running along the freeway and all the cars to hopefully get the attention of the bus driver. Thankfully, I did and was able to get on the bus and enjoy my ride of to Tsfat.
Now my trip on the 7th was going to be at the same bus stop, waiting for the same bus (or so I thought). I never had an actual problem with the bus numbers, and where they stop, but I guess I finally misread something. As I was waiting for the bus,that I thought I took my past trip, what ended up happening was a bus with the different bus number came, and by the time I reacted the bus pulled away already. Since it was a Friday, and buses do not run on Shabbat, I was literally racing against the sunset to make my way to Tsfat. I don't know if another bus showed up or if I just mixed up the two different buses, but I knew I had to figure out another way to get to Tsfat and fast.
What would this Plan B be? Can I deal with a misfortunate event, and figure out how to make the most of it?
I am going to do something I never thought I would do. Lets relate this event to some Jewish scripture. I would like to thank the madricha of Livnot providing me with the scripture.
"Who is wise? One who learns from every man" -Ethics of the Fathers 4:1 (Ben Zoma)
There are also two stories about Nahum Ish Gamzu and Rabbi Akiba that go along with two of their quotes. The stories can be viewed here.
Their quotes are as followed:
"Gam zu l'tovah (This is also for good)"- Nahum Ish Gamzu
"Kol man d'avid Rachmana l'tavavid (All that the Merciful One does, he does for good)"- Rabbi Akiba
Looking at the story of Nahum, he ran into a problem when the gold and diamonds he was carrying were stolen, and then replaced with sand and soil. When Nahum presented this box of sand and soil to the Roman Emperor, he was thrown into jail. Nahum believed in his faith and that this was also for good. There was a different plan for him. Nahum had to deal with being strong, and getting thrown into jail, but then later on, as the stroy says, he was rewarded.
In the story about Rabbi Akiba, it tells us that he had to overcome the darkness of the night when he was traveling to a city. Not only did his candle get blown out, but also his "alarm clock" and "car" was taken away from him. It was all taken away from him, and for a good reason. If all of this didn't happen to Rabbi Akiba, who knows what those robbers would have done to him.
In todays modern world, it is very common to see a comment on social media on how someones alarm didn't go off that morning, therefore they are late for class or work (we have all been there), or even they are having car problems. Obviously when this happens, it is not the greatest start to the day but life is all about the ups and downs. You cannot only cherish the ups. Understand the downs in life are meant to teach you a lesson. Look at the down in your life with an optimistic point of view. Look for that lesson, because then you can apply later on in life.
So back to the moment I missed the bus. I could not be discouraged about missing the bus because I knew I did not have much time because of how early the sun sets now. Shabbat begins when the sun sets on Friday night, therefore Shabbat begins at an early hour during the winter. So now I am on the side of the freeway wondering what to do. I knew I couldn't throw in the flag and surrender because I knew I had to spend Shabbat in Tzfat and Livnot. There is such a magical atmosphere that is created with amazing people of Livnot. What were my other alternatives to getting to Tzfat? Thankfully, I was talking to my friend Rachel and she suggested me check out the train schedule. The train doesn't go directly to Tzfat, but there is a later bus I can catch in the city of Akko that will take me to Tzfat. I knew this is what I had to do. I hurried to the train station to make sure I caught the last train to Akko. I just made it by 5 minutes. On the train I had the opportunity to sit, relax, read, and write. Really once I got on the train, everything went smoothly. I took the train to Akko, and then got on the bus from Akko to Tzfat. I arrived at the Livnot campus at 16:30 and Shabbat was scheduled to start at 16:40.
I had faith, and just knew it was all going to work out. I hit that down and did not let it get the best of me. I took it as it came, and adjusted. I have learned from this mistake, and now know that I have to pay a little bit more attention to the bus numbers and schedule. I may have spent more money taking the train/bus route instead of the direct bus route, but I made the most of it. I took a deep breathe and regrouped and became productive. I knew it was all for good, and that is the way life is sometimes.
I challenge you all to take an event in life when you gave into a down. What could you have done differently? What did you learn from it? How did you feel when you just gave into the down? Remember this when your next down happens in your life. Be optimistic and take advantage of that next moment you have to move to plan B.
I would like to thank all of you for reading my first written WOW. I would love to hear some feedback from all of you by either commenting below or sending me an email. I hope everyone has a great day.