Yesterday I heard something that I had not heard in a while. I was standing in my kitchen, just making a cup of tea in the middle of the morning, and there it was. It was a simple chirp. Nothing too big. But it definitely a bird singing. In March. In New York City. I could not see it, but I heard it. My heart smiled as I said the shehecheyanu prayer, the short prayer that reminds us to thank God for bringing us back to the new season.
Baruch Atah Ado-nai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam,
she-hecḥeyanu vi-ki-ehmanu vahigiyanu lazman hazeh
Blessed are you Ado-nai, our God, Ruler of the whole great big wonderful world, who has given us our life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this new time.
On my recent trip to Israel, I think I said shehecheyanu more times than I can count. When I landed, when we went to Jerusalem, our first Shabbat, when I ate my first berakas. The opportunities to say, “Yaaaaaay!!!!!,” are all around.
As we came into Tel Aviv, I remember, the bus turned on to the street that runs along the beach. As I saw the Mediterranean Sea, on this incredibly beautiful day, my reaction was to say, almost without thinking, Mah-Gadlu Ma-asecha Yah, How great are your wonders! From Psalm 96, this piece of a line said it all for me that day.
Today I was at a bris. We welcomed little Zachary Boaz into the covenant with God, our grand relationship. An amazement. Last week we lived in a world without this person. But today, he was there, warming the hearts of his parents and brother. Could there be any better shehecheyanu moment?
How many times do we see miracles? How often do we pass by them each day without remembering to recognize them? To say a bit of thanks to the Creator? Or just to say, hey, that’s cool! Wow! Awesome! Great!