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The Jewish Report Editorial

Life is in the special moments

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It’s a new year, the flowers are blossoming, and summer is well on its way. Then, why oh why do we all seem so exhausted and jaded?

I don’t believe it’s negativity or distress in most cases, but it just seems we’re all dragging our heels to the finish line, which still feels a way away.

It’s actually simple, while we have just had Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and are in the middle of Sukkot, it’s not really a new year for us in South Africa. It’s the tail-end of 2023, and we have two and a half months to go before we hit the end-of-year holidays.

So, we’re all doing our best to keep our heads above water through the chaggim, which generally take people away from work, putting pressure on them to catch up what they missed.

It is as it is because we don’t live in a Jewish country, and so Rosh Hashanah doesn’t fall at the end of our work or school year. So, we’re all trudging along, trying our best to get everything done that still needs to be done before that December chill period. This is a time of lots of pressure for most people, and the chaggim give us wonderful relief from work as we let go of that pressure briefly so we can immerse ourselves in our religion and traditions. But we come out the other end with all the responsibilities we had before the chag and often, a lot to catch up.

And this year, with most of the chaggim falling on weekends, there’s little downtime between chaggim and work.

Having said all that, it’s a special time of year that most of us get to spend with our families and loved ones. It’s often a time to reconnect with people on a deeper level. It’s also a time of renewal and introspection. A time to consider how we live our lives, and how we want to live our lives.

So many of us make grand plans for how we want to change things, and sometimes we fall into what I call the “January gym-membership dilemma”. Ever asked the management of a gym when the best time of year is for people signing up? Inevitably, it’s January, the beginning of the year, shortly after people have made grand new year’s resolutions. And how many of those resolutions are about getting fit and going to gym so many times a week? It results in a big surge of new gym memberships, which may or may not result in people going to gym that many times a week, or at all.

Now is the time to begin fulfilling the commitments we made to ourselves. Often, those grand plans don’t amount to much because they are honestly too big to fulfil. Deciding that you’re going to get a new job that’s going to pay double what you earn now and give you much more free time might be one of those.

I’m not suggesting that you curtail your new personal commitments, just consider if you can realistically manage them and then go forward.

We all appear to live such busy lives, but I believe we can always make time for things that are important. For example, I find it amazing how if you are committed to exercising, how easy it is to make time for that.

But isn’t it strange that somehow it seems more difficult to find time to relax and enjoy the most precious and sometimes sweetest things in our lives? I believe it’s because it somehow doesn’t seem vital. It’s not a job. It’s not an obligation. It’s not something apparently essential.

But it’s what makes our lives special and brings us happiness. Like having a coffee with a friend. Taking the dogs for a walk in the park. Going for a lovely walk and a chat with someone special. Going to watch a movie at the cinema or just lying in the garden at night, looking up at the stars. I can name so many others, but you get the picture. These seem like small things, but they add so much to our lives.

When we look back on our lives, what do we remember? Certainly not crushing deadlines or rushing to get to meetings or the meetings themselves.

They are the moments when you share a good belly laugh with someone special. A snuggle with your son, who is usually too busy being a teen. Making a beeline with your child to buy ice cream on an icy cold winter day and laughing about how silly it seems as you walk home together, shivering.

These are memory-making moments. These are important to our lives, but we often neglect to incorporate them because it might seem like an odd thing to do to make time to be light and frivolous. But it isn’t.

I have made a commitment to finding time for this. So, next year, when I look back at the memories I made in the year, I’ll have a whole bunch of meaningful moments to include in between the deadlines and all the other commitments.

So, as we look forward to the summer holidays just a couple of months away, let’s make an effort to find those light and bright moments every day or every week so we can enjoy what’s going on now, not just holding our breath for that holiday up ahead.

Chag sameach for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah!

Shabbat Shalom!

Peta Krost


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Vern

    Oct 22, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Great to see the Jewish community fighting their corner locally against our terrorist sympathizers. Viva 🇮🇱

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