Friday, July 23, 2010

Clint Eastwood, Shlomi and the Jewish people

Today is the 12th of Ab, 5770

Two days ago, as Coty and I were leaving 'Mamila', near the Old City we met Shlomi, a young 'cool' Israeli taxi driver, probably 30 years old, didn't 'look' very religious. He had a sign in his windshield with his phone number (050 827 8120) and a smaller sign saying 'Lo beShabbat' which means, 'this Taxi does not work on Shabbat…'

Knowing that Israeli taxi drivers are talkative, very friendly and always updated about Israeli politics I asked him about the military situation in the North: Hizbullah claims to have 20,000 missiles ready to attack; Syria is deploying its forces and of course, Iran is threatening Israel as a response to the US sanctions...

Very relaxed and with a big smile Shlomi said: "Don't worry, my friend, nothing is going to happen..…". And I said: "Why? Do you know anything about the Israeli army that the press doesn't know?"

Surprisingly he asked me: "Do you know who Clint Eastwood is?" I said: "Yes!"

He said: "Have you ever watched a Clint Eastwood movie". Thinking about a 'cowboys' movie I said: "Yes".

And then Shlomi formulated the most amazing philosophical argument about the role of the Jewish people I've ever heard in my life: "Have you ever seen Clint Eastwood dying in the movie? No. right?. He can't die because he is the main actor. The whole movie revolves around Clint Eastwood's character. Without Clint Eastwood the movie wouldn't make any more sense…. We, AM ISRAEL -my friend- we are the 'Clint Eastwood' of the world's movie. God, our Almighty movie Director, will never let Clint Eastwood disappear"

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 Snapshot of Israel

I took this picture 3 days ago. Anything special? Just children playing, right? Not so fast...

I'm in the Old City of Jerusalem on a street/square called Batei Machase. I see to my left elders sitting in a bench, looking at those children play. Then, there is also a scripture craved on a stone, just behind me. It's a quote from the prophet Zekharia. 8: 4-5

Zekharia lived at the time (540 BCE) when the Jews were exiled to Babel and their future looked very grim. Following the course of history, the Jews should have naturally integrated/assimilated to the Babylonian Empire, and disappear….

Yerushalaim was totally destroyed, completely in ruins; everything was ashes, death and desolation….

But from the mist of the ruins, Zekharia had an incredible courageous vision: Chapter 8 4 - 5

"And now haShem says: I will return to Mount Zion, and I will live in Yerushalaim"

"…. And once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem's streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play".

Now, the whole picture: I'm reading this very verse, engraved on the stone next to me. I see the elders, sitting in a bench. I see the children playing on the street. And I realize, I have the incredible –an undeserved- merit of being a witness to Zekharia's words.

In MY days, in YOUR days, in OUR incredible days his words were finally fulfilled. Zekharia was talking about US! We are living a prophecy...

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tisha BeAv: This year we count 1942 years from the destruction of our last Bet haMikdash (The Holy Temple in Jerusalem)

Today is the 9th of Av


After the destruction of the first Bet haMikdash (9th of Av, 586 BCE), hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed or died of starvation.  Several thousands were taken into captivity to the victorious  Babylonian empire, where they were sold as slaves.  This Psalm tells a story about those Jews, probably Leviim, who refused to forget their past. Known for their skills playing the harp in the Bet haMikdash, they were asked by their captors to play for them some of those beautiful songs of Zion…   


This is their story:


1. On the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept, as we thought of Yerushalaim


2. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of willow trees.

3 But our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:


"Sing for us one of those songs of Jerusalem!"


4. But how could we sing the songs of HaShem while in a pagan land?

5. "If I would ever forget you, O Yerushalaim, let my right hand wither [=forget how to play the harp].


6. "Let my tongue stick to my palate if I fail to remember you, if I don't make Yerushalaim my greatest joy".

Tehilim 137



For a very powerful, meaningful and contemporary message of Tisha BeAv please watch!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Eve of Tisha BeAv

Today is the 8th day of Av

Tisha BeAv, the day of national Jewish morning, begins tonight, Monday July 19th at 8:15 P.M.
This evening, we do the Seuda Mafseket, the last meal before the day-long fast.

This is virtually 'a mourners meal' based on bread, eggs, lentils, water (there are many variations, according to different family traditions) where we refrain even from eating two different 'dishes' to show our sense of austerity and internalize that we are consuming only what is needed to endure the fast.
The ancient custom is that everyone eats in solitude, with no zimun, sitting on a low seat.
A personal note: even though I'm going to spend Tish BeAv looking directly at the ruins of our Bet haMikdash, I must confess that it is difficult to feel 'today' in Israel a sense of destruction and desolation…. Yersuhalaim, the Old City, the Kotel they're so beautiful and full of life!

My Tisha BeAv mission will be 1. To think about our ancestors and feel/remember/cry for 'their' tremendous suffering. 2. To understand that the Shekhina, the Divine Presence, dwells in the Bet haMikdash, our Holy Temple, which hasn't been rebuilt yet (Galut haShekhina). 3. To realize that we still need to amend our behavior, especially, in the area of 'love your fellow man as yourself' if we expect to see our third Bet haMikdash rebuilt.

Have an easy and meaningful fast!!!
Summary of Laws and traditions of Tisha BeAv: