We started off the morning with a class on Happiness Principles. Rabbi Zelig Pliskin is an amazing and successful author and teacher who has written MANY books on the topics of gratitude and happiness, and the moment you lay eyes on him, you can see why. The man radiates. His face was made to smile. So full of joy. You can't help but feel happy in his presence and feel like his principles make sense, since they so obviously work for him. I will do my best to blog at another time about this class in more detail (after I return, I mean), because I think it deserves more attention.
I then took a participant to the Terem, the stand-alone emergency room I wrote about last year. Once again, I was privileged to see the fruits of the labor of Dr. David Applebaum of blessed memory (go ahead and Google his name, since I'm guessing few outside of Israel know who he is and his stunning story). I'm beginning to think- "What's a trip to Israel without bringing someone to the ER?" I was sad to miss handing out the siddurim (prayer books) to the women on the trip- I remember receiving mine last year, and was really looking forward to giving them.
I did get back in time to rush a group of women to Mea Sha'arim and back in a couple of hours. It was a bit like herding cats, but only slightly less difficult. My instructions were as thus: "This is not a browsing trip, ladies, this is a power shopping trip. Decisiveness is key. If the item doesn't sing heavenly songs to you as you pass, keep going! Dawdle and you WILL be left behind!" With G-d's help, we made it back with two minutes to spare. I could not believe it. However, I must say, it was a delightful time.
Last stop of the night was the Old City and Kotel tunnel tour. The only downside was that our tour began so close to sunset that we missed a lot of beautiful sights of the Old City. Our tour guide, David Sussman, was amazing. I am hoping to book him for a half day tour of the Old City when Patrick comes to join me. His command of history and how the different civilizations interweaved was so interesting-- too many facts to really file away, they were coming so fast. I think Patrick would really enjoy it.
The Kotel tunnel tour was perhaps the coolest part of the night. There is a part of the Western Wall they have excavated that is directly across from the place where the Holy of Holies (the ark, where G-d's Divine Presence dwelled when the Temple was standing) was located. I put my hand on it to pray and immediately burst into tears. Not completely sure why, and a little freaked out, I just went with it. It was great. The Talmud says the gates of tears are always open in Heaven. I certainly hope so.
We were so exhausted when we finished, we stumbled back to the Mamilla Mall and had a really excellent meal at Herzl (meat restaurant). If you ever get to Jerusalem, I'd recommend it. After that, I'm falling into bed, but it's still after midnight. Up at 6 am for Masada and camel rides tomorrow!! I wish at home I could get by on this little sleep.