Change Your Luck!


The rabbis have a wonderful saying about moving to a new home, which loosely translates from the Hebrew as “change your place, change your luck!” I’ve considered this tidbit of Jewish wisdom often during the last nine months since we moved from our house in the suburbs to a town home just outside the Perimeter. Our lives have changed for the better in many ways: my commute to school is now ten minutes with my son as my co-pilot, my spouse parks in a free parking lot at the MARTA station and rides the train to work, and we are walking distance to many places we like to go, including the public library. Although we downsized, our college-age children are not deterred from coming home for weekends and holidays or from inviting friends to visit and sleep on air mattresses on the floor.

We moved right after Passover. I felt a little like the Israelites leaving Egypt in the middle of the night as I hurriedly packed up all of our belongings in the weeks leading up to the holiday. I took special care with ritual objects–many of them priceless only in sentimental value–and labeled boxes “Judaica, children’s art” and “Judaica, candle sticks,” so I would be able to find what I needed easily when each holiday arrived. However, in those last hours of packing, I failed to record a specific inventory as I rushed to find space for bubble-wrapped pieces in corners of unsealed cartons.

Before Rosh Hashanah I searched in vain for the shofar, the handmade honey pots and the apple-shaped trivets. Before Thanksgiving I came across a box on a shelf in the garage that contained four silver kiddush (wine) cups and the missing shofar. Before Hanukkah, during final exams week, I desperately searched for the menorah, the breakable, ceramic one I packed separately from the decorations that were stored in a plastic bin. I remember securing it in bubble wrap and white paper.

Had moving changed my luck for the worse? I can’t seem to find anything in time to use it! When I tell my colleague at school he laughs, suggesting it will turn up with the Passover items in the spring.

This morning I find it on a shelf in the garage: a large, sturdy box labeled “Judaica.”  It is filled with handmade honey pots and apple-shaped trivets, and some miscellaneous items made by a Kindergarten student who will soon graduate from college. I reseal the box and grab a Sharpie, scrawling the initials RH on the side of the box before returning it to the bottom shelf. We’ll just have to light the waxed-covered metal menorah I found in the plastic bin nestled among the dreidels and paper decorations.

I set up the sideboard in our dining room for Hanukkah, and I think about how lucky I am to be celebrating the holiday with all three children in our new home.

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