“Why in the world are you going to Florida?" people kept asking us. "You live in Los Angeles!”

 

The premise of this question seems to be a simple one: the only goal of a vacation must be higher temperatures (and perhaps if I lived on the east coast in the winter, it would be!).

 

But even that supposition seems strange. Would they ask the same question if I went to Hawaii (No one did!)? Or Tahiti? Fiji? Bora Bora? Perhaps Miami just sounds too pedestrian or stereotypical.

 

And yet, since it's not a location we frequent with any raegularity (unlike our NY area counterparts) we are struck by its beauty - by the clear green water that is a totally different color from the Pacific Ocean that’s closer to home. (We are also struck by the number and variety of kosher restaurants but that is a different point!)

 

The Jerusalem Talmud suggests that in the World to Come we will have to make an accounting for the (appropriate) pleasures of this world that we didn't experience. "Yes, you saw the Pacific Ocean," the Almighty might say, "but what about my Atlantic?"  "Yes, you saw the Atlantic off the Jersey Shore but what about off the coast of Florida?"  The Almighty created many different oceans with different shorelines because each possesses a beauty all its ow.n (Even Rashi suggests that they're called seas - plural - because of the unique fish in each one!)

 

We don't want to grow cavalier about this particular gift or complacent or, even worse, indifferent. Just as each type of fish has its individual color, size and shape, so too each shoreline, beach, body of water is unique, changing even hourly with the weather, the sun and the reflected light.  We even stood and watched the tide switch directions! Okay I was playing the dutiful wife then; I wasn't actually the least bit interested (!) and yet...it was an amazing phenomenon. (Just don't tell my husband I said so.)

 

I don't work for the Miami tourism industry and we did have some other (business and personal) reasons for coming here. But that doesn't stop me from marveling at the majestic ocean view outside my room.

 

It's (extremely) unlikely I'll come to Miami every winter. As everyone suggested, I have no need to escape a bleak and cold winter landscape.  But escape isn't the only goal of a vacation. And sun and warmth aren't the only reasons to come here (Yes, they help).  But in the meantime, I'm just enjoying and appreciating this amazing world the Almighty has made for us.  I'm letting go of my cares and challenges for the moment and allowing the Almighty to carry them out on those breaking waves...

 

Now that's what I call a vacation!