double or nothing

It’s our double anniversary this year. Double 19, that is. Which, for those of you who are familiar with the Hebrew calendar, means that it is the same date in the Hebrew calendar as in the Gregorian. So 38 years ago, we had chosen to get married the day before Tu B’Shvat, the 14th of Shvat, which fell out on January 15th. We didn’t really choose the time to be right before Tu B’Shvat but to allow my BIL to be able to come to the wedding during his law school winter break. My sister still resents that we considered him above everyone else’s convenience.

She was in high school.

But, of course, it took on great meaning, connecting our wedding and our marriage to the holiday of the Trees.

Yes, it turns out that our anniversary would be declared an American holiday to celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., but that only makes it more convenient in the states to be able to celebrate. It could not have been a factor at the time, since it did not exist.

We try to take advantage of opportunities to celebrate. This we knew and this we know.

But let’s go with the tree metaphor. There are seasons; there are apparent things that are visible to all in the spring, summer, and  fall, and yes, even winter. I always loved looking at our rhododendron tree to see what the weather was like outside in the morning, depending on how furled the leaves were.

It isn’t a stretch to say that even if there isn’t anything visible on the outside, with trees, with marriage, that there must be movement to keep things alive. Winter is not necessarily our time of discontent.

Rabbi Naftali Hoff says it very well here:

This is the message of Tu B’Shvat. In the middle of the winter, when everything around us seems so cold and bleak, think of spring. Eat fruit. Sing joyous tunes. Plant new trees. Always look for the good.

But the message goes one step further. Not only are we charged to maintain a continuously upbeat attitude regardless of our personal circumstances, we must also realize that those very circumstances are the ones that form the basis of our eventual success. Though we might not have noticed it, most of the “rain” necessary for growth has already fallen. The basis for our success, namely the trials and challenges that we have had to overcome, is already in place. The only difference is that this foundation still lives in the realm of potential, hidden from the outside world. It takes the warmth of spring, literally and in our own lives, to allow that potential to blossom into its eventual reality (see Ramban’s commentary to Genesis 22:1).

I have gathered some photos of trees that I’ve taken on my trip so far. Israel is a gathering of all at once. You just have to look.

Pretty much like marriage.

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Looking forward to celebrating with you for many more series and much more growth.

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2 thoughts on “double or nothing

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