What I Saw From my Roof

What I Saw From my Roof

My new neighbor had to fix something on the roof and she asked me how to get up there.

Truth was, even after 11 years in this house, I had absolutely no idea. So I called Josh and he explained to me and we climbed our way up…

And I was pretty blown away by that first glimpse of the view from my roof.

Over to my right was the historic Etz Chaim Yeshiva where Rabbi Aryeh Levine zts”l was the mashgiach. And just past that was the historic Zoharei Chama synagogue with its famous huge sundial across from the shuk.

If someone would have asked me how far I live from these landmarks, I would have estimated something like three blocks.

But up on my roof, they felt almost close enough to hit with a bow and arrow (if I had a bow and arrow, of course).

The view from my roof-- in the distance you can see Etz Chaim Yeshiva and the Zoharei Chama synagogue

The view from my roof– in the distance you can see Etz Chaim Yeshiva and the Zoharei Chama synagogue

But what really made an impression on me was the view of our neighborhood playground from the roof. Over the past decade and a half I have spent hundreds of mothering hours in that pitiful excuse for a playground– watching my children play on that lamo slide and bouncy motorcycle. This is what I see every day:

My playground up close

My playground up close

But from the roof, this was what I saw:

My playground from my roof

My playground from my roof

And as I was watching, a mother I didn’t recognize came along with a few small children and sat on that bench as I usually do. How strange, to watch a mother from so high up, to see her in the context of the entire neighborhood and in the context of the entire city of Jerusalem–the hills lining the horizon. A single mother, I suddenly felt, in the context of 3000 plus years of Jewish history, passing down a tradition that she received from her mother who received it from her mother, and so on and so forth, back to Sara by Avraham’s side in their tent open on all four sides.

And watching that mother I remembered what it feels like to be the mother on that bench, when the only thing I can see is that child I’m feeding and the discarded sunflower shells on the ground and the overflowing trash bins at my side and the afternoon that stretches like a beach along the sea, with no end in sight.

And I smiled as I thought about how even when I am not up there on that roof seeing the big picture…even when I am the one sitting on that bench who can’t see beyond the rice cakes with cottage cheese and the sunflower shells and the trash and the endless afternoon…

Even when I am unable to see the big picture, then there is Somebody watching, smiling, guarding over me who always can.


  1. So beautiful to end the week…thank you

  2. Bracha Goetz


  3. Hashem was saving that moment for you when you needed it the most …..

    Have you ever laid down on the floor to see what your not-yet-crawling baby sees, or crawled around, or walked at toddler level just to see the world as your children do? All those chair legs and interesting crumbs!! And then look up again, and think about how big we must seem to them…..

  4. Amazing ….I really loved this.

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