I don’t know about you, but I made a lot of mistakes this past year. I forgot to pick up my kids at school once. I gained weight in all the wrong places. I was consistently late in writing this column — and in just about everything else of importance in my life.
This is par for the course, and most of the time, after purging myself on Yom Kippur, I can make it at least to Sukkot before a new mistake haunts me — usually in the form of an injury to myself or a small child during the construction of the sukkah in our backyard.
The title of this piece is, of course, taken from the painful but magnificent song from Jonathan Larson’s RENT titled “Seasons of Love.” As two of the protagonists are slowly dying from AIDS, their friends struggle to assess the value of their lives, which they know will end far too early.
A Queens native and lifelong baseball fan, journalist Doug Gladstone is interested in more than the sports’ pinnacle, the World Series, which began this week. He’s also interested in the welfare of the players — particularly some of the retired athletes, who played briefly in recent decades before they were able to qualify for baseball’s current pension plan.
Lungomare is the Italian word for a seafront promenade. Every coastal town worth its dot on the Italian map has one: a stretch of travertine where lovers snuggle on benches, locals walk their dogs and everyone comes to contemplate the sea.
“When a person eats and drinks in celebration of a festival, he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is not indulging in rejoicing associated with a mitzvah, but rather the rejoicing of his gut … This rejoicing is a disgrace…”
Over the years, I’ve had what must be tens of thousands of conversations with congregants, and strangers that I’ve met in the context of my work. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times those conversations began with the words “Rabbi, can I ask you a silly question?”
The good teacher — or should I say the wise teacher -— will tell you that there are no silly questions. There are silly answers, to be sure, but very few if any silly questions.