All my thoughts have been drawn to water lately.
Ushavtem mayim b’sason mimayney hayeshua
Mayim, Mayim, Mayim, Mayim…
Why is it that at occasions of joy we sing and dance and shout about water? This song is from Isaiah – You shall draw water in joy from wells of salvation! Water is life, in so many ways, from tears of sadness or joy to the amniotic fluid or the parted sea from which we were born. In the desert wilderness, especially. In a few days, the Amidah will change from the blessing of tal, the dew, to that for geshem, the rain and wind. Next week we read about the separation of waters in creation, and the following week about the terrifying, cleansing floods of Noah. It has been our wisdom to be mindful of water.
Some post-Yom Kippur thoughts. There are some things I really loved about the journey of Yom Kippur – the soul searching, the hugs, and singing my heart out. But I fear the dehydration my body endures, it makes me really appreciate WATER. Awareness of water: we are mainly composed of water, it flows through us and dissolves things and pulses within our veins. Beyond our bodies, planet Earth is really the water planet – but only because of our miraculous “Goldilocks” location in the solar system: situated perfectly in distance from the sun so that our oceans neither boil off, nor freeze solid, it is water which keeps the temperature of our planet habitable. Water can do all these great feats because it is electrically polarized, statically sticky, weird. Also, and my Hebrew name is Miriam, containing yam, sea, within. Miriam is legendary not only for saving her brother from the Nile, and singing our freedom across the sea of Reeds, but while she lived, Miriam’s well of living water, mayim chayim followed the Israelites through their desert wanderings. Fresh water is precious, it is life, we often take it for granted – we should not. Only one percent of the planet’s water is fresh and potable.
With climate change, increasingly drought haunts many regions. Crop failure means rising prices, starvation. In parts of our world children dig in muddy wells, scraping water and walking far distances to bring water home. Drought kills. Somehow we who are mostly made of water must waste it less, keep it pure, appreciate it more….draw water from the wells of salvation.
A wonderful song about water, by David Wilcox: the Farthest shore http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-MWOCr6h04
Finally, I offer one more song for this season of introspection and joy: Dan Nichols’ All We Can Do. It’s about life and death and the potential in that space between. With last week’s Yiskor, and a death in my family, and Kohelet being read during Sukkot, where all is vanity, and with Moses approaching death, unable to enter the promised land in this week’s Torah portion, this beautiful song is perfectly timed: http://www.jewishrock.com/music/all_we_can_do.mp3
Do as much as you can, with the time that you have, in the place where you are,
Eighteen words from a kid,
With less than a year to live,
Eighteen words from a kid
He knew so much more than we thought he did
Lo alecha ham’lachah ligmor
v’lo atah ben chorin l’hibatel mimena
What can one person do, the task is great and the day is short, words our fathers knew, we can’t do it all but we can all do more.
From all that used to be, to all that might have been, there’s no mystery, when we work with what’s in between
All we can do, is all we can do. All we can do is all we can do!