Since epiphany also relates to a non-Jewish holiday or ideology, I thought I should define it first, so here it is from Wikipedia:
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has “found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture,” or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper or numinous foundational frame of reference.
Now my story:
About 2 weeks after we moved into our apartment in Rehovot, we were expecting our son, who did not make aliyah with us, “home” for the following Shabbat from his yeshiva in Yerushalyaim and he was bringing two friends with him. As the bedroom they would be sleeping in was full of boxes which we either had to unpack or move around and we did not want them to have to sleep standing up, we devoted several days to doing what needed to be done. Among other things, this involved shuffling some furniture between rooms, cleaning out the ceiling crawl space in the back (and only) hall in the apartment in order to get some extra suitcases up there and out of the way, and general cleaning. Needless to say, the apartment was in a bit more disarray than before (as we had just moved most of a house into an apartment) and we also got a bit grungy in the process.
Still, we were happy to devote the time and energy to do this; we wanted everything to be ready for him so that he would feel comfortable. Having last seen him mid- September (was it only a month ago?) when he joined us at my sister’s home for the first days of Sukkot, we were eagerly anticipating his arrival.
Somewhere in the middle of this process, when I thought about how anxious we were to see him and how happy we were to do all the moving and cleaning and straightening and getting grungy in anticipation, I had my great Epiphany: wouldn’t it be great if I could feel this excited and anxious to be ready in anticipation of Pesach (Passover). We greet the holiday but once a year, welcoming G-d into our homes, with the ability for the unique spiritual growth and nourishment available to us at this time. And what do we do? We squander the opportunity by complaining about all the work, the expense, how hard it is, and how we are too tired to enjoy the Seder. And this is often all before we’ve even started! To be sure, Pesach does involve a bit more work and time than was necessary for us to prepare for our son’s arrival, but it was really our attitude that made all the difference.
Some things are easier epiphanized* than done, but I’m hoping I can maintain this perspective in March when I start my Pesach cleaning.
*Epiphanized – realized in a striking manner as through an epiphany (from Caryn’s dictionary of verbs that should be but aren’t).