For as long as I can remember, there has been a special place in my heart for the eve of Yom Kippur. This evening is a sweetheart of a thing. Happy and pleasant hour. He begins to return home on foot. After a soup marathon of ancient and heavy prayers, I am relieved that I cannot describe.
In these moments, there is not even a trace of pettiness or narrow-mindedness in my soul. Parts of me, which can sometimes be occupied, even clenched - in these moments they are loose and loose. I feel like coffee, but I take moderate steps home. Not rushing anywhere, and all the people along the way seem prettier and softer to me.
A childish smile crosses my face as I reflect on the crazy thing I was a part of just moments ago: Immediately after the solemn and sublime closing prayer ended, and all the pathos and shofar, we switched like nothing to a regular and routine evening prayer. Like replacing a murmur with jeans. Like stepping out of a Michelin restaurant and giving a bite at an apple. Every year it happens, and every year it surprises me anew.
And on that sweet way home, anything ugly can shake the soul. A car, say, passes by on the road, and already it honks nervous tantrum sirens. Ten minutes after the fast has passed, and he is already angry with the whole world. It's a common, everyday Middle Eastern sight, but at this hour, and this evening, I look at it as if I've fallen from the moon. Like I'm not from here at all, and I don't understand why all this terrible anger. And I'm a little sorry for him, that that's what he had left in his battery on Holy Night. It really gives you a wahad kappa.
And I have nothing particularly smart or innovative to say about what happened on Yom Kippur this week in Tel Aviv, but after a strong and beautiful Yom Kippur in my community, the moment I became aware of what happened in Dizengoff was a moment of paralyzing heartache. i.e. wahed kafe. We will still talk a lot about who started, and who is right, and if it is relevant at all, given that we have all lost all ability to regret or soften, or just let go of something, and what we will do with all this justice.
But first of all, we will have to ask ourselves what he can do so that such ugly images do not return and pollute what was supposed to be Israel's holy, exalted and sublime day.
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I suddenly remembered that a few years ago we had moved to another neighborhood where we didn't know anyone. In Jerusalem terms, it was a very secular neighborhood, but it had a central synagogue and a neighborhood rabbi. On Simchat Torah, the worshippers went out into the street for a merry procession with Torah scrolls, cars coming from behind began honking their horns to clear the way, but no one was in a hurry to do so.
Instead of moving a little and making room, the neighborhood rabbi went to one of the cars. The people who told me about it, in the courtyard of the synagogue, couldn't say what the rabbi said to the driver. Did he invite him to leave the car and join the dancing? Or maybe he tried to appease himself with a mini-"Come on, we're all Jews, give a smile!"? But on one point they were unanimous: the driver, in response, opened a window and hit him in the face. There was a disagreement about whether it was a slap or something inclined toward the fist, and whether the rabbi was knocked to the ground or not, but both agreed that there was a charged hand-and-jaw encounter.
This is the place to condemn and condemn the violent driver, against whom I very much hope that a complaint has been filed and that a price has been exacted from him. And I admit that although I abhor any kind of non-cinematic violence, something about the image of a raised hand on a rabbi with a beard and hat evokes difficult feelings in me.
But it is important for me to note and emphasize that even though those who told me about this were wearing a kippah, the general tone of the story was that there were no Jews and anti-Semites here. There are no good and bad. That blow was part of a sequence of events. The ugliness was two-sided. And in truth, the whole story was told as part of the explanation of why most of the religious community in the neighborhood is determined to replace the rabbi.
• • •
This must also be mentioned. Every Rosh Chodesh, Women of the Wall come to the Western Wall plaza and try to pray there. They are always disturbed. Always rude. In many cases, they are physically attacked. They throw chairs and debris at them, push them crudely, call them names that only those whose heart is rough in the sanctity of Israel can express, not only in front of the Western Wall but in front of a person, the creature of the Creator's image.
And yes, they often tear up their prayer books. One such rupture was once sent to me by mail, like many other journalists. There were enough rips for everyone. I don't know what the Israel Police is doing about it, but I know it's not enough. And I didn't speak out enough on the matter either, and I certainly didn't do enough.
And I know one more thing: Anyone who legitimized violence against Women of the Wall on the pathetic claim that "they are merely provocation mongers" has also prepared the ground for prayer, in every prayer, to be seen as nothing more than a provocation. And snorting. And if the correct answer to the provocation is shrieks and violence, then I think we have come up with the recipe for the Yom Kippur prayer in the style of the Dizengoff testimony.
• • •
If there is a common denominator between religious and liberals, I believe it is a kind of premise that anyone who encounters them will be captivated by their charms. Will fall in love, or at least long to be one of them. So, for example, many religious people react badly to the discovery that not everyone thinks they bring the Light with them, and not everyone is enthusiastic about any ritual, theory, or practice associated with them.
For the very same reason, many Europeans do not know what to do with the fact that immigrants who have arrived on the continent are not at all fascinated by the possibility of becoming Swedes or Dutch, and insist on remaining exactly who they are, neither Europeans nor liberals. As a religious, who is also a liberal, I am deeply aware of the knock. Thus, a frontal struggle between the religious camp and the liberal camp is likely to bring with it many displays of naiveté and eye-rolling. In short, we're in for the more overwhelming kind of action. Good luck to all of us.
In principle, religion and violence were supposed to be complete opposites. Practical... Well, what are we going to do with the "practical"? I remember days when people said things like, "But how can he behave like that, and he has a kippah on his head?" I don't think there are still such innocent people left among us. Old-fashioned criminals who still put a kippah on their heads in court are no longer suspected of hypocrisy, but of patheticism.
In principle, prayer and violence were supposed to be oil and water. If there is any meaning to the moment when a person stands before his Creator, it should be expressed with infinite tenderness and gentleness. But you don't have to be an expert on synagogues to know that more than once, in front of the Holy Ark, a fight can break out. What is it really about? Well, it has less to do with religious matters and more to do with human nature: ego, respect, the urge to argue.
I think the sages who formulated Jewish prayer were fully aware of the dark places where religious motivation can go. Therefore, there are quite a few places in the prayer that describe a kind of heavenly model, in which God's servants "lovingly give permission to one another." A kind of parallel universe, in which believers of various kinds never stop praising and saying to each other, "Tafdal!", "With respect" and "As you see fit". These texts are recited by religious Jews every day, but it is not clear which of this also penetrates inside.
In principle, liberalism and violence were supposed to be complete opposites. Practical... Well, what are we going to do with the "practical"?
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