fixing a hole
BY MOSHE KATZ 
CEO
ISRAELI KRAV INTERNATIONAL

January 3, 2022, Israel


I am changing a light bulb in my house.

A routine activity. 

Changing lightbulbs.

There are many light bulb jokes; How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: None, it's ok, I can sit in the dark.

And I am missing my dear mother. 

I had the privilege of changing light bulbs for Mr. Walter Bingham, a 97 year-old Holocaust survivor, from the Kindertransport.

Changing light bulbs. This is what I do. 

I just came from my mother's house, she passed away from this life on November 24. I have the daunting task of emptying out her house, clearing out a lifetime of memories. New people are moving in. Life moves on.

Changing light bulbs.  Gl├╝hbirnen wechseln (German)

My heart is heavy. I come home and remember that I need to change the light bulb in the bathroom. Mordechai reminded me. It is time to change the light bulb. Such if life.

And I think...Changing light bulbs was one of the many tasks that I was privileged to do for my dear mother. When I was out of the country she would write to me, "The bathroom and kitchen lightbulbs need to be switched when you get home."

This made me feel more important than all the international fame of being a Krav Maga instructor. This made me feel more special than thundering applauds from a crowd of appreciate students.

I was able to do something from my dear mother. And now, I cannot. The time has passed...

And I think back to an old song...

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in

And stops my mind from wandering

Where it will go...

So simple. We need to fix a hole. How profound!

I am changing a light bulb...and it stops my mind from wandering...my mind is on my mother but still, a light bulb needs to be changed. And I find this to be profound. Yes, with all the pain, the yearning to hear her voice again, I still must change the light bulb, and that is life, very Zen. 

I'm filling the cracks that ran through the door

And kept my mind from wandering

Where it will go 

I am staying in her house a little longer. Here is her cane, just where she always leaves it and I can hear myself saying, "Mom, Don't forget your cane". And I can't bare to move it. And her sun glasses, before every trip, "Where are my sun glasses?"

And I stand in the nearly empty house, and my mind is wandering...

Where it will go  

Where I belong I'm right

I'm taking the time for a number of things that weren't important yesterday... 

I am changing a light bulb, just a simple light bulb but there is so much meaning. Light bulbs need to be changed, even when our hearts are heavy. 

And the old song comes to mind, fixing a hole where the rain gets in, and it stops my mind from wandering. We must fix that hole. We cannot allow the rain to come in, no matter what else we are feeling we must take care of business. That is life, pure and simple, fixing holes so that the rain does not get in. And it stops my mind from wandering, where it will go. Perhaps there is a deeper, double, meaning here. It stops my mind from wondering where the water will go, or, it stops my mind from wandering about life, about pain, about loss, it is the mind that we are concerned about, "where it will go" refers to the mind, not just the water from the rain. Where will our mind go? Can we stop our mind from wandering? We focus on the little things, the daily things, fixing a hole, changing a light bulb and it stops our mind from wandering. 

Filling the cracks, fixing the hole, changing the light bulb. It stops my mind from wandering, it brings me back to earth. Zen; eat your rice, clean your bowl. 

I see a friend on the street, she offers her condolences. I remember when her mother passed away, it was 22 years ago. And she tells me, "I miss my mother's hug, every day". 

After 22 years. 

And I change the light bulb, and it stops my mind from wandering, for a moment.

Where it will go...

Just a short while ago, at this hour of the night, I could go over and visit my mother and see if she needed anything. And she would be so happy to see me, and say...I need a drink, or, I need a painkiller. And I would be so happy for the privilege of once again being able to Honor Thy Mother. But I knew that time was limited, I knew I had to take advantage of every moment. And sometimes at midnight I would go back, and it she would be awake and say, Good that you are here, I need a....

She is gone...and my mind wanders...her seat is empty, her bed is empty...My heart is empty...there is a hole, and it needs to be fixed.

The light in the kitchen is on, this means she is sitting at the kitchen table and reading the paper and having a drink, but now...no longer. Where it will go...where it will go...

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in, and stops my mind from wandering, where it will go...

And it really doesn't matter if I am wrong I'm right, where I belong I'm right, fixing a hole, changing a light bulb.

Where it will go...

We change a light bulb, we sweep the floor, ( I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping), one day at a time. I take another sip of bitter Arab coffee. Fixing a hole where the rain gets in...where it will go, where it will go...



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