Ratzo v’shov. Back and forth. I am not Hasidic in any way shape or means. I am using this phrase as an old friend once used to explain why she had a statue of Buddha in her kitchen: all the hands remind her of herself while cooking. So I’m using this term to express my life in the last number of days/months/years. It’s this motion of two steps forward, one step back, if you’re lucky. Other times, it’s chutes and ladders, all the way down almost back to where you started. Except you are never where you started. I wrote ISHI that this doubling may be tied in to our double anniversary, but I know the universe doesn’t double up on everyone because of me/us. But just in case you are curious about this Hasidic concept, here’s a satisfying explanation from kabbalaonline:
The picture which Quantum Electrodynamics portrays of the underlying ground of reality — of the very nature of space itself — is profoundly different from the static conception of classical theory. The universe is seen as continuously involved in transformations in which matter and energy are spontaneously created and destroyed… This picture strikingly parallels the Torah perspective. In Jewish mysticism the ultimate dialectic of the physical universe is described as a continuous process of Ratzo and Shov. The Ratzo signifies the mystical union of the finite with G-d — the loss of identity, sense of self and ultimately the voiding of the physical which accompanies a spontaneous plunge into the Infinite Transcendent Source of the universe. Shov signifies the return to physical reality, the coming back down into the material universe as a differentiated entity brought into being by the dictates of the Divine Will… Of course, the ultimate unity of all things as manifestations of Divine Will is the central image of Jewish mysticism. Just as the potential for the infinite, the abstract, the amorphous — the spiritual and its physical analogue — energy emanates from Him, so also does the potential for the finite, the limited, the categorized — the material. Thus the physical and spiritual, matter and energy, are both manifestations of the Divine Will underlying reality and hence can be freely interchanged and transformed. Here also, we have an almost exact parallel to the matter-energy duality of Special Relativity.
With this in mind, I think about what another friend calls “being drawn into the vortex”, with nothing going straight or as intended. Here are some examples from the last few days:
- my sister’s flight to Israel being delayed almost 24 hours
- my father’s flight not; so we had to make sure he was met at the airport because, since he won’t get a phone for travelling abroad, he didn’t know they wouldn’t be there to take him to Jerusalem
- because the people he was travelling with didn’t mention that they wouldn’t have their Israeli SIM cards until they got to their differing destination, but we didn’t know that.
- but I had a clue, so I sent my nephew to pick him up and that worked out.
- and the day before, when I accompanied my daughter and her son (yes, my grandson) to an appointment at Hadassah Hospital and she realized 5/8ths of the way there that she had forgotten the paperwork at the pharmacy
- but at least she had the phone number from her receipt so she could ask them if they had it and to hold it for her
- so we went back but at least this time we figured out what Waze meant by the third turn around the roundabout (sort of like Groundhog Day, yes)
- and we got there on time and he’s getting the help he needs (for what else can we ask?)
- and now I am waiting at the Jerusalem apartment for my older daughter and family’s luggage that did not arrive with them yesterday, which they said they’d deliver between 12 noon and 2 pm, but the airline won’t deliver it to Efrat (not going into the politics now), which
- OMG! As I was writing that last line, my daughter called to say they were downstairs with the luggage (because they didn’t call the last phone number they were given but okay)!
- And it was exactly right between ratzo v’shov! 1 pm!
- And because they probably wouldn’t have had room in their rented car for all the luggage in the first place
- so our son will take one of the bags, because it’s stuff for his family, anyway!
I still have to get to Efrat for Shabbat. We’ll work that out. So here’s a photo of the ratzo v’shov that goes on at Hadassah Hospital, an amazing place. and one of the road we took to get there. And back. And there. And back.