Friday, September 22, 2006

Rosh Hashana 5767

Rosh Hashana is a time to take stock, a time for self reflection. A time to think about whether we have become the type of people we wanted, whether we are achieving what we set out to achieve;

Rosh Hashana is for me more than just making a new year’s resolution of being less addicted to the internet and not picking my nose in public. It makes me think about what I have done this year, what have I achieved and what I have seen. The people I’ve met and those I’ve lost touch with; the people I’ve helped and those I’ve hurt. It brings me back to the time when I nearly had a panic attack on the other side of the world, being a witness at Adam’s wedding, making Shabbat with 13 Israelis in Chile, leaving England and arriving in Israel for the first time as an oleh, being published in the jpost, meeting Rachel, celebrating with Kadima on election night, interviewing for jobs in Hebrew…the weddings, births and funerals; the times when I felt free and liberated, and the times when my self esteem was low.

And its not just individuals who our tradition says are judged but countries. What does the new year bring for Israel? How many civilians and soldiers will not celebrate next Rosh Hashanah? Will there be more elections? Will the social gap decrease? Will our neighbours finally accept us in the region? Will there be another Disengagement and talk of civil strife?

In addition, it’s also a time of hopes for the coming year; And for me, there can be no greater hope than that of
David Grossman who wrote the following in memory of his son Uri, a tank commander killed just before the cease fire in Lebanon came into effect;

I fervently hope that we will know how to be more tender toward one another. I fervently hope that we will succeed in extricating ourselves from the violence and hostility that have seeped so deeply into all aspects of our lives. I fervently hope that we will know how to straighten up and save ourselves now, at the very last minute, because very hard times still await us.

Uri was a very Israeli child; even his name is so Israeli and so Hebrew. He was the essence of Israeliness as I would want to see it. The Israeliness that has almost been forgotten. The Israeliness that is sometimes considered almost a curiosity. And he was a person with values. This word has been much eroded and has been ridiculed in recent years, because in our crazy, cruel and cynical world it is not "cool" to be a person of values, or to be a humanist, or be truly sensitive to the other's distress, even if the other is your enemy on the field of battle. But I learned from Uri that it is indeed both possible and necessary. That we indeed need to preserve our soul. To defend ourselves in both senses: both to protect our life and to preserve our soul. To insist on defending it from simplistic might and simplistic thinking, from the corruption that lies in cynicism, from the pollution of the heart and the scorn for human beings that truly represent the biggest curse for everyone who lives his whole life in a disaster zone like ours.

And whatever happens in the next year, atleast I feel that I am in the right place to appreciate it, inside the ring fighting rather than looking in from the outside.

Shana Tova Leculam


Avram said...

Shanna Tova good sir ... quite an inspiring article from Grossman - may this year be one of happiness health and peace for all of us.

Ginrod Isus said...

Shana Tova Calev- I look forward to the next year of picking one anothers brain!

Anonymous said...

Shana Tova!

Anonymous said...

I take issue with you saying that you're fighting in the ring instead of watching from the outside. I also take issue with some of your posts, such as "Letter to a Soldier," wherein you opine on the moral aspects of warfare.

It's clear from your history of posts that you did not serve, nor do you intend to serve in the IDF. As long as you're under age 30, the IDF will take you as a volunteer. Until you're the one on the front lines, please do not include in your posts anything that indicates you're a "fighter." Also, refrain from waxing poetic about war and its effects on soldiers. Cliches such as "we all become numb" sound funny coming from someone who has no frame of reference.

Calev said...

Dear Anonymous

a. Thank you for spending the time to read a few of the posts as well as to comment on the content.

b. I don't think that the phrase 'fighting in the ring' needs to be taken literally and I’m sorry you feel it can only be used when referring to those who gave of their time to serve in the IDF.

c Whether its soldiers on the front line, doctors in a hospital or people ignoring a beggar in downtown Jerusalem, there are things that ALL of us can become numb to that perhaps we shouldn’t.

Shalom said...

Next time that there's a war in Israel-which is certain-you should publish something from a real mother and/or father and not a polished letter from some left-winger that contributed to this situation and that doesn't want to see what's looming ahead, after all if Israel is “a disaster zone” then why doesn’t he move back to the Ashkenazi heartland? All the agendas that Labour & Left have pushed for years(including the author of this letter)lead to destruction of Jewish communities, strengthening of our enemies, Lebanon war.This letter is unbefitting to all these other “fanatics & non-humanistic” soldiers(the lowly mitnachalim,
mizrachim,datim-just Jews and not Israelis)who died out of love for the Land of Israel, the Jewish people and His Word-not because you are Israelis but because you are Jews-and this is something none of us can escape by branding ourselves Israelis,British,
American or even Greek...Next time just find an average, middle of the road Israeli mother and father to talk to you about their child’s loss without glorification and without false words pushing yet an other pathetic agenda.As always you should never expect anything else from a ger-tzedek and especially a Greek one...
PS I really enjoy reading your blog.