HAMAVDIL BEN KODESH L’CHOL: The one who Makes a distinction between Holy and Ordinary

I say this Bracha every week as part of the Havdallah service, but this week, it means something new. The words Sacred and Ordinary have a new meaning this week as I take myself from the Sacred, the Holiness of the city of Jerusalem, of the Land of Israel, and take myself back to HUL, Hutz L’aretz, outside the land, back to America. While I am so happy to go home and see my friends and family, I am going to miss Ir HaKodesh. I will miss the living history I see each day as I walk to and from school. I will miss hearing Hebrew all around me, and the feeling of pride and confidence when I understand the conversations and join in. I will miss the endless kosher restaurants. I will miss the city shutting down for Shabbat and Haggim, and the peacefulness of the night when no one is out. I will miss the Israeli attitude and crazy way society works, and I will miss waking up to the clear blue sky. I will miss having the Kotel (as much as I’m not such a fan) 30 minutes away, and looking out at the Knesset every morning and night.

Above all, I will miss the relationships and friends I have made this year. It seems clear that there is something special, unique, and intense about friendships built through shared new experiences and places. My friends have become my family this year, because most of us don’t have family in Israel. I will miss the way people just drop by and conversations run on for hours. I will miss these friends, because they have become more than friends. They have become people who I have shared my life with, shared in tragedy and triumph, shared happiness, sadness and love together. I will miss these friends because they helped me be me, and make it through the year.

And so, as I continue to finish packing up my room, taking the last finals, catching one last glimpse of this holy city, I recognize now more than ever the difference between Kodesh and Chol.

May it be your will, God who makes the distinction between holy and ordinary, and I am not far from either as I make this transition. Make this transition easy, but distinct. May I find kodesh in the ordinary and ordinary in the Kodesh. May I find my way back to this place I have learned to love and call home soon. If I forget thee O Jerusalem, it would be like forgetting a piece of my heart. Thank you for this taste of Kodesh… Now, on to a new journey!

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