It was a bit over a week ago that I wrote to you about my plans for a month-long sabbatical. I was filled with hope and visions for what the time would be. I intended to be exploring nature, doing some travelling, enjoying yoga classes, spending time with my family, reading, and enjoying an easier pace of life. Well, let’s just say that this past week looked nothing like I thought it would! On my first day of sabbatical – my daughter’s bathtub pipe broke and water flooded into my kitchen and basement. On my second day, we packed up my cousin’s things for her move. Day three – close friends started testing positive and my father (yep, he just got out of the hospital after a heart attack and bypass surgery) tested positive for Covid. Ooooh… and did I mention that Rafi was in Israel for 11 days for work?!? Days four, five and six – were a combination of meds and meal deliveries, check in’s with health care professionals, kitchen scrubbing and Pesach cleaning, checking in on sick and grieving friends and a bit of work. This afternoon I spoke with Julie though and her words were encouraging and filled with hope. She shared that if I could get three more work things written tonight, tomorrow I could start to really take some time off. I was inspired. An hour later – both of my daughters tested positive for Covid.

I share all of this with you because I’m imagining that I am not the only one who didn’t see this next highly contagious wave of Covid coming, who finally took off my mask and felt safe again, who thought that this year, after two years of Pandemic seders, we would finally gather with family and friends and celebrate Pesach. I’m imagining that I’m not the only one who doesn’t yet know for certain what we will be doing for seders this year or who we will be with even though the seders are just a day and two days away. We’re still booked to fly to Arizona on Monday night but again – we’ll have to wait and see.

Nope, this isn’t the sabbatical time that I envisioned. But truth be told – thank G-d, we’re getting through. Dad is surviving a virus that we weren’t sure he could survive. My pantry is pretty darn impressive, my cabinets are clean, my refrigerators and freezers are emptied, and we live in Baltimore where we have kosher food for Passover in abundance. And the weather today was spectacular! My kids are still hoping that we’ll be able to get away and we are too. We are too.

Whatever the next couple of days holds for you – my hope is that you’ll experience some blessings within. If you’re still able to gather with family or friends – delight in them! If, like me, Covid changed your plans – I hope you can enjoy whatever is and delight in the unexpected blessings, songs, matzah and knowing that one year soon – we are bound to gather together again! In the meantime, I am sending some fun questions your way for the seder – if you’re by yourself, zooming, or at a full table – I hope these generate interesting conversations or opportunities for contemplation. Mostly, wishing you, and our Jewish family all over the world, especially those in Ukraine who would only wish to have challenges as fleeting as mine, a Passover that feels hope-filled and may we all find ways to connect with our ancestor’s journey.

Soulfully Yours and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Dana Saroken

4 thoughts on “A Week Later…Things Don’t Always Go According to Plan”

  1. Renee King says:

    So sorry for the tough times. Yes it does not compare to troubles others are having but while you are going through these days, there is a time to be a little down. Then do a short session of mindfulness and as I do, thank Hashem that it is not worse and remember all that you are grateful for. ( Sounds like a Rabbi Saroken morning gratitude. Good teacher and you have taught me well.)

  2. Manny Eisner says:

    Dear Rabbi Saroken……I am so sorry for the events taking place, in place of your time to re-charge and
    have some fun or relax a bit.
    As you know, life seems to come at us in waves. there are times we can enjoy floating over them. And
    other times we find ourselves struggling in the surf after getting knocked down by one.
    I have mostly seen you at work at Beth-El, being most competent at the varied roles you play there.
    I know with your smile, kindness and confidence, you will surmount the rough surf.
    Of course, I pray, and send you Reiki, for a complete recovery of your loved ones, the broken pipe,
    and all else that has delayed your well deserved sabbatical.
    Wishing you all a great Passover.

  3. Zoe Ann Shafer says:

    Dear Rabbi Saroken, That is a lot of disappointment, scares and stress, not the planned for and yes, deserved sabbatical. I know you are grateful for good outcomes but it is okay to wish for the time to read a book in the Arizona sun. I hope that still comes to pass.
    With hopes the family can gather in any way possible. Sunshine will follow. Zoe

  4. Stacy Harvey says:

    Thinking about you, and your family, Rabbi Saroken and hoping that the troubles of your week pass quickly. Praying for your dads quick recovery from both of his health scares. Chag Sameach!

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