Thursday, January 1, 2015


A year has passed...and then some.
And yet today we come to the 11th of Tevet.

You see, as I've said before, I live with so many calendars....but the two that are most familiar to the rest of the world are the Gregorian (today is January 2nd) and the Hebrew (today is the 11th of Tevet).

They're never exactly in sync because they don't need to be. Bear with me for a brief explanation.

The Hebrew calendar is based on a lovely hybrid of lunar and solar. Its complex organization was set down a long time ago by a wise group of scholars who figured out how the lunar calendar by itself would not be organized enough for us, the People of the Detail. Left untended, the lunar calendar would rotate throughout the solar year, and holidays that celebrate the fall harvest could regularly fall in the lush green of spring. So the hybrid came to be, adding in not a leap day, like the solar calendar, but a whole month.

If you'll recall, 2013 was the monumental year of Thanksgivukkah. Two holidays that had never come together quite like that before and won't again in our lifetimes. Of course something impressive happened the year that Sammy died, right?

But what that interesting detail of the calendar did was to also give Sam a most interesting, and possibly frustrating, Hebrew Yahrzeit date. Today is January 2, 2015. We did not observe Sam's Hebrew Yahrzeit AT ALL in 2014. And it will show up again on December 23, 2015. Yes, you read that right, twice in 2015 and never in 2016. We'll only ever see his Hebrew date in the "odd" years. (Until 2026, by the way....and then....well, I'm sure you'll still be reading my blog then.)

I live in two calendars, and right now I'm in Israel, a place where people actually know when the Hebrew date is, for the most part. Another interesting thing to note is that the 10th of Tevet is a minor fast day, and so of course, I'm never going to "miss" the 11th.

So what is my point? I'm not even sure. Both calendars matter to me, and both are a part of the rhythm of my life. I will say Kaddish today. Perhaps someday we will observe only one Yahrzeit, but I doubt it. Perhaps someday the other calendars that live in my head will fade, and I won't think about Diagnosis Day, about Transplant Day, about The-Day-We-Googly-Eyed-The-Whole-Hospital.

Maybe not.

Transplant Day
Diagnosis Day

Googly Eye Day

A year ago today: Paper Time


  1. I also often remember the date when things happened, years after they happened. (And they are things far less important, in the grand scheme, than the journey you took with Sam.) And I also find that some of the dates disappear, after some years, and I remember that I once knew them but can no longer pull them out of my mind. Maybe it's the natural effect of aging; maybe it's because my mind is filling with other things; maybe it's because it's okay for me to let those particular observances go. I wish you blessings as you navigate that road.

  2. Dates stick to my memories too. They have their own ways to anchor and for Sam, I do know those Gregorian and Hebrew dates now and will not likely forget thinking of him each time parashat Vayechi is around. May these memories always be for a blessing and may the Place where you are at right now console you amongst all the mourners of Jerusalem and Sion.

  3. The way the dates on both calendars mix can be very "funny," peculiar, disturbing and more. I do consider the Jewish calendar totally brilliant. The Moslems use the simple lunar and their holidays change season.
    I'll never forget one year on May 25 my goyish birthday, which was also LaG B'Omer (18th of Iyyar) my daughter's birthday (her goyish one is May 18,) getting a call, when I was greeted with a "Happy Birthday," though I celebrate 26th of Iyyar, and then a sad announcement that a friend had passed away.

  4. Sammy-time is the best time, always in sync!