Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our First 2.1 Days in Eretz Yisroel/Bnei Brak

Baruch Hashem, our family arrived in Eretz Yisroel at noon erev Shabbos. This is my first time really spending any time here in 16 years. It's the first time my wife has been here since right before we met, and it's the first time in Israel for any of our children (the oldest of whom will be 13 on Shushan Purim).

In the days before the trip, everyone was getting very excited and the first couple of days have not disappointed. My wife's uncle met us at the airport and he and a taxi took us and our luggage to Bnei Brak to our only frum family in Israel on my mother-in-law's (the Moroccan) side.

The kids really hit it off with their children. The girls' ages and the boys' age lined up almost perfectly. Even though going in, our kids couldn't speak much Hebrew and they couldn't speak any English, they all played, took walks, talked, and had an amazing time together. It was really beautiful to watch my kids learning Hebrew and talking and being with them. They had an amazing time.
Our oldest, especially, got along amazingly well with their girls and they invited her to their school's bas mitzva mesiba for the whole grade today. Unfortunately, we may be visiting my wife's Savta at that time so it probably won't work out.

My wife also loved reconnecting with her cousin, who stayed with us for a week 11 years ago. I davened in a mostly Litvish shul on Shabbos with Eran, my wife's cousin's husband. He's a very good guy. He's a baal teshuva and learns all day now and makes his living by practicing law 1-2 hours per night.

Bnei Brak is actually more diverse than I thought it would be. There was a mix of Chassidim and Litvaks in shul, and even a kipppa seruga here and there.

A couple of our host's children escorted me to the mikva erev Shabbos and it was such hashgacha on the way back! As we were walking back home, who should I see but R' Zusha, the gabbai of the Koidinover Rebbe! (Search "Koidinov" in the top left search bar to read about the Rebbe's visit to our home/neighborhood - I can't link it from my blackberry) I was going to daven by him Friday night but my host was having a very special shiur in his shul. He therefore made a call to a friend and found out the Rebbe was having a tisch in honor of Rosh Chodesh.

So after the seuda, I came to the tisch and there were about 18 people there. I didn't know most of the niggunim, but it was very nice and the Rebbe seemed to be in a higher world as usual. He had an extra cup of grape juice passed to me after bentching and while he spoke in Yiddish (which I could understand about 50% of), a very nice (and very young) yungerman whispered the Hebrew translation into my ear as the Rebbe spoke. I also got to speak with the Rebbe for a couple of minutes during the tisch when he was giving everyone "shalom" and afterward.

I went to the mikva hashechunati this (Sunday) morning and then to a neitz minyan. I'm now on a bus to Ramat Beit Shemesh (1 hour and 45 minutes but only 18 shkel/$4.80), which is why I have time to write this. IY"H, I will pick up our minivan and the keys to our apartment there. Then I'll head back to Bnei Brak to pick up our luggage and then to Petach Tikva so we can visit my wife's Savta.
If I can, I will try to write again with other thoughts on our trip.

P.S. A few of my holy friends have volunteered to help with the Shabbos morning drasha write-ups while I'm away, so you will hopefully see that in the next few days. Dr. Nudman will be writing up Shalosh Sheudos in his usually amazing fashion.
Kol tuv!

1 comment:

Ari said...

Amazing! would love to hear more about the trip