Greetings from Tel Aviv!!
The whole group is here, safe and sound, and finally got together tonight for the first time. All of us went out for dinner at this restaurant on the Tel Aviv promenade by the beach. Just picture if you can, nine of us trying to order from this poor Israeli server, with me in the middle doing my best to translate everyone’s questions back and forth. Comical! I think we’re going to have a lot of fun on this trip! At some point the poor server gave up and sat down next to me and said in Hebrew “OK, just translate for me what everybody wants and I’ll just sit here and write it down.” But this was mostly a sweet time to share together, a time to reconnect and listen to each other’s stories, especially because we all wanted to hear from those who had been traveling around Israel and Jordan in the past few days. And it sounded like everybody had a terrific time.
My choosing to name this first blog post “Getting Our Feet Wet” is no mistake, as you will understand in a moment. But before I get there, do you ever get the sense that there is a Presence guiding your processes and helping you look at your personal story from beyond the literal level? This is what’s happening to me right now as I am writing. I just thought to myself (not being a native speaker): “I wonder where this expression—‘getting your feet wet’—came from?” So I asked Rabbi Google and here is what I found:
During the time of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, they were delivered when Moses stretched his rod towards the Red Sea and the waters were parted. There was later a change of leadership from Moses to Joshua as it was time for them to cross the Jordan River and enter into Canaan (The Promised Land). God showed the Children of Israel they were following the right leader by performing the same miracle (parting the waters) in a different way. This time, God told them He would part the Jordan River…
…as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the Ark of the Eternal—the One manifesting as all the earth—rest in the waters of the Jordan…. And when the bearers of the Ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bore the Ark were dipped in the edge of the water…the waters which came down from above stood and rose up in one column…and the people passed over opposite Jericho. [Joshua 3:13-16]
In our days the expression has come to refer to “having a first experience of something” or that we won’t get certain desired outcomes until we go forward and “get our feet wet!” Well, believe it or not, today in Tel Aviv was the first day of rain after long and dry summer months. As we gathered in the lobby before walking to the restaurant a storm passed over the city, bringing lightning and thunder together with a deluge of rain. So much so that the draining system of Tel Aviv was overwhelmed by the sudden amount of water that was pounding the pavement and the streets started to flood. After waiting for a little break in the downpour our little group courageously decided to go forward and headed out, walking down the flooded street and, like the priests carrying the Ark, all of us got our feet very, very wet.
One can interpret the events of one’s life at many levels, from the literal/simple level, to the mystical/secret level. I choose to read our adventure tonight at the Drash level, the mythical level, and see that our having to dip our feet in these heavenly waters was akin to the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land some 3,000 years ago by our ancestors.
Hineini, we are definitely here.