This morning, it being a holiday, I had the chance to do something I don’t do very often. I sat in the armchair by our living room window, and watched the “world go by”. It was a shavuos holiday morning, which meant that there were no cars on the street. Instead, groups of people were returning from their morning prayers. Many had been up all night in the traditional celebration of the giving of the Torah. And I would like you to “see” a few of them with me.
First I noticed two teens walking along, slowly. They were obviously tired. Although tall, thin, and smiling, one was a bit bent over from his tiredness. His friend reached out, and draped his arm over his comrade’s shoulder. They walked on, comfortably chatting.
I saw a father with two sons. One was at least 13, the other I would gauge at about eight. The father was talking, all the time gesturing with his hand, his older son listening. The younger one was whopping it up, racing circles around the other two, letting off steam after sitting in synagogue for a few hours.
Next I noticed a group of about eight or nine friends, returning from prayers after a night spent studying G-d’s law. They had the animated movements of enthusiastic youth. One of these boys had a limp. His gait was rather jerky, one leg sticking out at a crooked angle. But he was part of the group.
The fourth “group” to catch my eye was an older couple. The man was tall and thin, with a bit of a spring in his step. His grey beard was flecked with a bit of silvery white, and it was long enough to catch the breeze a bit. His wife was of medium build, a bit short, and walked slowly. Her stance was a bit stooped and bent. When they reached the curb, her husband paused to turn and face her, giving her his hand to hold as she stepped down. I could only wonder if they were going to their own home, to a quiet meal, or were they on the way to a married child’s house, to share the meal with a bustling grown of grandchildren?
And the last to catch my eye (before I returned to the kitchen and my cooking), was a middle-aged man. He was slightly overweight, with sandy brown hair, and of medium height. But what drew my attention to him, was his walk. With a talis draped over his shoulders, he strode along the middle of the road, erect and leisurely, regally. I wondered why he was alone.