01 April 2012

Springtime for Cynics

When I was a terribly cynical middle-schooler, the choir director taught us a song in four-part harmony, which I could never sing like I meant it:
Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing, fa la la la la la la la lano, they're not, they're either in math class or doing its homework -
...a-dancing on the grass - what grass? we live in a city, where open spaces are rationed and landscaped,
fa la la la la la la la la. The Spring clad all in gladness/doth laugh at winter's sadness - Spring? Winter? I haven't noticed a change in seasons. I think I need to get out more,
and to the bagpipe's sound/ the nymphs tread out the ground - What era was this composed in, that people had time to frolic in unspoilt meadows, and the peace of mind to do so wholeheartedly?
fa la la la la, fa la la la la la la, la la la la la. Where is that legendary Spring?

And every Pesach, I get my answer.

The air warms up, the earth bursts into bloom, and where are the Jewish people?
Indoors or in the courtyard, scrubbing all the winter's crumbs out of the house, until G-d drags us by the ear out of Egypt, and says, "This month is for you!"
This month is for you the origin of all the months: you are a Spring nation, a people repeatedly revived from the dead.
Go and tell everyone, go demonstrate to all the despairing middle-schoolers (of any age or stage in life), that just as the earth is led each year out of winter, just as the Jewish nation was led out of the slavery of its body, mind, heart and soul in Egypt, so too humanity as a whole, and every individual, are given the Spring.
This month is not the exclusive provenance of things that bloom, creep, or fly; no matter how oppressive your circumstances, this Spring is for you!

Those with better things to read than this blog will recognize that this post is not original material - thank you Rav Hirsch.
And Rabbi Estuary, we'll see if I ever forgive the rav for making me try to paraphrase that :P

1 comment:

  1. And what living in a region of evergreens reminds me is that during the fall and winter, nothing apparently dead actually is dead. It is huddled out of sight gathering its strength, and grateful for the chance to do so.
    Being in bloom all the time is taxing.
    Look at what happens to celebrities . . .

    Staying indoors has other compensations.
    April, I've noticed, is ruthless with the impulsive.
    Crocusi and daffodils emerge on the first day the sun shines longer than five hours, and the next day they are destroyed by frosted rain.
    Slugs optimistically squirt to the surface and are flattened by bicycle tires. Worms minding their own business are lifted to the surface by thudding spring rains, and there they wither and turn black.
    There is a joyous litter of blue robins' eggs under select trees, and not long after there are the remains of tiny birds who flew too soon.
    It is SO difficult to distinguish who is a genuine prodigy and who is the one who starts too soon.