So, in just a few minutes the year 5779 draws to a close, and we welcome 5780. Mike is avoiding crowds, so he is not going to temple in person this year. He will watch services streaming from his synagogue on the computer. He is feeling quite well, and the rash is much improved, as are his eyes. Thanks for all your prayers.
Mike finished the book about the history of Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore. It is entitled “Jerusalem, the Biography.” He says it reads easily. What is not easy to take is reading about the horrible suffering inflicted on innocent civilians by the kings and assorted military rulers. You read about one massacre after another. It seems that for some people, the more passionate they are about their religious beliefs, the less tolerant they are with those who hold alternative beliefs, and the more willing they are to torture and kill them for their “wrong” thinking. Some of this type of killing has to do with revenge for past atrocities, some with pure hatred of the “other”, and some seems to be just because they can. So it isn’t really all about religion. Some of it is about acquiring and maintaining absolute control, wealth, and power. There is an innate potential for cruelty in some individuals, and some such people have the personality characteristics to assume great power. One of the Jerusalem kings had a practice of mutilating people who displeased him. During his reign, it was commonplace to walk along the streets of Jerusalem and see people with their noses cut off, or people with only one eye, one ear, one arm, or some combination thereof. Part of what is distressing about this mayhem is that it doesn’t seem to be that difficult for authoritarian rulers to get people under their command to kill, mutilate, or otherwise torture other people. You would never see a cat treat other cats like that. If I am completely honest, though, some cats do have a tendency to play with their furry little victims before they kill them. That is not too pleasant. I have a theory about this. Maybe this only happens when the cat isn’t really hungry, because its people feed him, and it is just acting on its genetically driven instinct to hunt. Or maybe not.
Last night it started to thunder and rain just as I was getting home. Everything went dark up and down our street. Mike and Judy got out some electric battery powered candles so they could see where they were going, and they kept on reading just as if nothing had happened. The lights came back on just as they were turning in for the night. Mike was up later than usual. He and Judy had gone out for the afternoon, and he was very tired when they got home. He lay down in bed, fell asleep, and didn’t move for 3 hours. But, he is fine today. He keeps bringing stuff home from his office. Yesterday or the day before he brought his big club chair home. He went next door and recruited his neighbor, Eugene, to help him get it upstairs. Eugene is a very nice man, and was happy to help. Mike brought his desk chair home today, which he handled by himself. The office is closed. Everyone has moved out to other locations to continue their practices, except for Mike, who has closed his practice. He admits to being sad, but life brings change, and the time for change is sometimes now. Mike’s friend Norm assures him that he will love retirement. Probably so. I hope so. Mike will continue working a half day per week at the Berman Center, so he is not going to be completely retired. He may need to be careful not to let this get to be too much. You may be familiar with Parkinson’s Law which states that the amount of work expands to fill up the available time. I don’t think this will apply in Mike’s case. He will hopefully have enough sense to limit his hours. I will keep you posted.
It has been very hot and dry in Happy Meadows this summer. I think we have broken the record high for the day nine or ten times this month. We have failed to reach at least 90 degrees on only 5 days, and we are way behind on rainfall. Mike has been watering the front lawn, and so are a lot of the other Happy Meadows neighbors. I hear people talking about climate change. I think it is real, but I hear other people talking about it as though the idea is a hoax. The feelings held by some people on both sides are strong. People find the stupidest things to get mad about. I was watching the television earlier this year when there was some big weather disaster somewhere. I heard Spoiled Donald, a climate change denier, assure reporters that “We’re going to have a great climate.” Give me a break.
Speaking of Spoiled Donald, I heard him say that he had a “perfect conversation” with someone recently. It was “the best conversation.” What does that even mean? I can tell you what it means. Everyone is getting angrier and angrier, that is what it means. How about chilling, y’all. If everyone would spend 5 minutes a day meditating we would all be a lot better off.
So, that’s it for now. May you all have a safe, healthy, and blessed 5780. Until next time, so long from Happy Meadows.