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A jolly border fiasco

Tuesday, 10 October, 2017 - 9:24 pm

On our way to Montreal for Simchat Torah, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day together as a family, in the van. Usually the trip takes about 9 hours of driving and 1 hour of stops. Good friends were visiting family who live ‘on the way’ and, being that it is Sukkot and we are careful to eat and drink only in a sukkah, we made an extra stop to see them for lunch and break up the trip.

Those who say l’Chaim on alcoholic beverages in Canada know that the taxes are exorbitant. Therefore, we stopped at duty free to grab a bottle and then headed to an alternate, less travelled border to save ourselves the “2 hour” delay at the main border.

Arriving at the border, there was a backup with over 100 cars and only one booth open. The two hour wait we had wanted to save ourselves got us a 4 hour delay before we finally crossed into Canada. Frustrating? Maybe. Tired children? Yes. Tired adults? Of course. But it was good and joyous. You see, while waiting we got to walk around on the shoulder and count the cars, we got to have some fresh air, we met people listening to the cubs games and some fellow Jews going to Montreal. We had the opportunity to dance; celebrating the Joy of sukkot - the festival of rejoicing.

I may never know why Gd’s plan was for us to hang out for 4 hours on a 1 mile stretch of highway but I realized something about Joy.

Joy is not crossing the border after a 4 hour delay,  joy is realizing that you are where you are supposed to be. Joy isn’t resigning yourself to your fate, joy is celebrating the situation. Joy isn’t kvetching, joy is kvelling – even in a less then optimal situation.

As my family and I celebrate in Montreal, join the Harford County Jewish community on  Thursday evening at 6:30 PM, in celebrating the holiday of Simchat Torah.

Join the crowd and dance the night away! My hope is to get back and hear “Rabbi, you thought it would be a short service? It turned into hours of dancing and celebrating”. I hope to hear “you missed the party, next year you got to stay!” That is my hope! Regardless of what happens, I will be full of joy, recognizing I am where I should be, celebrating the situation and kvelling.

A gut Yontif, and a gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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