There are three Hawaiian words that I’ve learned thus far: Aloha, mahalo, and ohana.
In addition to hello and goodbye, the word Aloha, much like the Hebrew word shalom, means far more. It means affection, mercy, compassion, and peace. The spirit of aloha is an attitude, a way of being in the world. A spirit of aloha here entails patience, equanimity, and generosity of spirit. Car horns are honked only when safety is at stake. People (other than tourists) don’t get annoyed by waiting in long lines. People don’t yell or play loud music in deference to others around them. Clearly, the world would be a kinder, gentler place if we all excelled in aloha spirit. I also wouldn’t have to work so hard on practicing my middot/virtues in my Mussar practice, as it would come more naturally!
Ohana means “family,” whether adoptive, intentional, or blood-related. Thus far, I have been with ohana here in Hawaii. First, I stayed with my dear college friend Peter.
Then on Sunday my beloved brother and his family arrived (or more to the point, my beloved 10-year-old twin niece Sarah and nephew Marcus arrived with their parents).
Today, in addition to our swim and surfer-watching at Waikiki beach, we went to Pearl Harbor. We visited the memorial to the USS Arizona, one of the 8 battleships that were attacked on Dec. 7, 1941. This ship exploded and sank, killing 1178 servicemen.
Mahalo means thank you. Mahalo to Oahu and Big Island (and to Peter, Howard, Rob, Sarah, Marcus, and my brother’s friend Bob) for the adventures thus far. More to come from Kauai where we will be for the next five days.