Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lamentations

I find the need to write this to you reader, especially on this day, on the 9th of Av, on the day that the first and second temples were destroyed. On the day that so many tragic events plagued the Jews. On the day that the Jews first took for granted their “God given” gift - their gift of Israel, and instead of embracing it, they sent in 12 spies in order to see if it is fit, and as a result did not want to enter the land.

I recently bought two flags of my beloved state of Israel for my car, from a teenager “working” in a junction nearby my office.
I proudly planted them on the back of my car and paraded them around for the past couple of days.
Today, as I reach my sought-for parking spot in crowded Tel-Aviv, I notice that someone scribbled a note on my dusty polluted trunk. I assumed it would read something like “clean me!” but was more then surprised, although I guess I shouldn’t have been, to find (translated from Hebrew) – “Come on man! It’s not indipandanse day!” with awful Hebrew spelling mistakes.

Now why should a thing like this happen in a time like this? In a time of war……..
Isn’t this nation proud to be here? Proud to be Jewish? Proud to be Israeli? Proud to be both? Isn’t this nation grateful for all we’ve achieved? Doesn’t this nation understand that we must unite? Don’t they understand how important solidarity is?

The answer to all of the above is - NO.

It is a big NO because we have obviously lost something deep inside of us, something critical and essential in order to maintain Jewish life and culture in this region.

There is a war going on right now, and I don’t mean the war up north or down south, but I mean the war inside our minds, within each and every one of us.
Everyday we must prove ourselves grateful over and over again.
Everyday we must prove our independence, our Zionism, our strength as a nation.
We must prove this to ourselves, each one on his own, to our surrounding foes, and to the world.
This must start within us, and will spread naturally once achieved.

We used to call ourselves Zionists. What made us stop? Why did we change?
The only people, who still call us Zionists, are the anti-Semites and the Muslims who don’t recognize Israeli’s sovereignty. They, of course, use the word as mockery.

Something has happened to the people in this country. Something bad. We have lost “the cause”. The cause that our grandfathers had when they came to this Land and built it from scratch. They had motivation, they had will, pazaz! They were even willing to die for this cause! How strange is that?!
We, on the other hand, don’t even know what our cause is, and certainly aren’t willing to lose our life over something we aren’t sure about...
How can a person live without a cause? How can a person live without a purpose?


He, who is not willing to prove his independence, his freedom, by activism, does not deserve to be independent and free.
He, who is not willing to sacrifice himself for his cause, does not deserve life.

After the destruction of the second Temple, the Jews were sent to exile in the Diaspora for the next 2000 years.
And then we came back here, we re-seized our right; we embraced what is ours with love and faith.

The children fighting our war up north and down south, are not only fighting to keep our independent sovereignty, but they are also fighting to re-establish the state of Israel, to re-return form the Diaspora!
Because, yes, we are lost in the Diaspora again! We have been led astray by ourselves, by our selfishness, by our ungratefulness! Something happened from the time of our grandfathers till this day.
Exile.

I think that blaming other people for our mishaps is not a wise move. Not the Palestinians, nor the Arab nations, nor the Muslim nations, nor anti-Semitism.
We can only blame ourselves.
I can only blame myself.

The book of Lamentations which we read on the 9th of Av, is called in the Hebrew canon 'Ekhah (איכה), meaning "How" being the formula for the commencement of a song of wailing. It is also the first word of the book.
In this book, Jeremiah mourns of the terrible state of Jerusalem and of “Am Israel” after the destruction of the Temple. This is a very powerful book, for every man and woman of every religion.

And so I think that I will end this essay and ignite the beginning of something completely different by asking:
“איכה?”

by Y. Eilat

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