I’m awed by the pure wisdom of children. My 6½-year-old son says to me this past Shabbat: “You know Mommy, when we first moved into this apartment, I was so excited and thought, ‘WOW!’ because there’s a park right below our building, but now I’m used to it. It’s no big deal. When you get used to something, it’s boring already.”

It’s a reality. When you get used to something, after a while you take it for granted. You don’t see the blessing in it or value it as much. It becomes less endearing.

This morning I came home and we had no running water. II turned on the faucet, and nothing came out turned on the faucet and nothing came out. Someone was doing work outside our building and for a few hours cut off our building’s water. Why? I don’t know. What I do know is that I truly appreciated the running water when it came back. I admit that probably by the end of the week, my flowing faucet will be taken for granted once more.

I think about the year´s cycle and the calendar of events that G‑d created for us, and I realize that I never get bored. The week passes by with its routine and busy mundane activities. Six days and then a change, Shabbat. There’s rich and special foods. I have to time to sit and eat with my family, and appreciate each morsel and bite. Our clothes are different. Our table is set differently, fancier and nicer than usual. No telephone calls, no e-mails, no texts of distraction. It’s a change from the normal routine.

There’s a holiday in almost every month of the year. Passover takes me out of my routine of what I eat—no bread or leavened foods. The ingredients are different, the dishes are different, the pots and pans are different. Sukkot takes me outside of my home for an entire week. On Shavuot, we do not sleep all night long, and on Purim, we wear disguises. Holy days, which take us out of our routine, make life exciting.

In Judaism, time is everything. On the one hand, it confines you; on the other hand, it transcends and expands you. One minute, you are in Shabbat and enveloped in the sanctity of a holy day; another minute, you are in the mundane of a regular day. King Solomon tells us: “A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time of wailing and a time of dancing.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) There are so many times in Judaism. Times that change. Times that change us.

We’re asked to be aware of what time it is because time continuously changes our status, and being present in the time where you currently stand is a key to joy and living life with excitement.

And there’s one more Divine gift given to us with respect to time and change and status . . .

I teach brides the laws of JewishIn Judaism, time is everything family purity before their weddings. These laws involve a time of separation from physical contact between a husband and wife—the time when a woman menstruates and the seven days following it. There is a time and way of preparation for a woman to immerse in the mikvah. And a time of physical contact and closeness.

Because I speak a few languages, brides of different religious backgrounds, cultures and customs come my way. Some I keep in touch with. Some, quite honestly, I don’t. At the beginning of our sessions, I always tell the bride that, in the future, she can always call me if she has any questions. And they do call with questions ranging from recipes to health issues to questions about harmony in the home.

I think back to an episode that I had with a bride named Stephanie, a medical student I met with twice. Why did she come? Partly curiosity and partly because her cousin told her to. I could tell that the topic of going to the mikvah interested her, but after those few times, she got married and she never came back. I didn’t hear from her until two years later.

“Elana, I remember you said that I could call you with questions. Do you have any tips for me? Things in our marriage are getting boring.”

I always found this an interesting topic. I’ve been married to my husband nearly half of my life. There have been trials, difficulties, challenges and tests, but boring? That’s not a word that I would use, even after nearly 20 years, to describe our relationship.

“Stephanie,” I bluntly asked, “are you keeping the laws of family purity that I told you about? Are you going to the mikvah?”

“No,” she answered honestly.

“Do you know what happens on the night a woman comes home from the mikvah, and she and her husband touch? It’s electrifying.”

Our sages (Talmud Nida 31b) teachWhen you get used to things, you take them for granted us that G‑d ordained a period of separation from physical contact between a husband and his wife during these days in part so that each month, the reunion after the mikvah will be filled with excitement and bring rekindling to their marriage, as though they were bride and groom once again on their wedding day.

I asked Stephanie to come over for review lessons. I wasn’t surprised when I called her a few months later to see how things were going, and she told me how much the separation and reuniting were enhancing their relationship.

My son is right. When you get used to things, you take them for granted. It’s a Divine gift we have—that time constantly changes, and that it changes us. We go from mundane to holy and back to mundane again, from routine to out of the ordinary to routine once again. It’s a precious gift that brings joy, heightens awareness of our blessings, and increases our appreciation of life and each other.