Avar v’Hoveh… Past and Present

To my dear readers:

I don’t like to bother you with nonsensical ideas, but what else can I do?  Ain braira. There’s no alternative.

I exist in the Present but I live in the Past. Does it make any sense to you? In the Present I breathe, eat, sleep, pray, write (not necessarily in that order), eat again, write more, meet with friends for a coffee, pray and sleep. The totality of my Present existence.

In the Past I lived. I rejoiced in my childhood. I honored my parents. I read as many books as I could. I had only a few playmates, but they were decent boys and girls. I went to synagogue on Shabbat and holidays. I excelled in my Hebrew studies in Torah. I loved school.

From secondary school I moved on to university. My first two degrees, B.S. and M.A. were later followed by two doctoral degrees…Litt.D.  (Doctor of Literature) and Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy).

What is philosophy? It comes from two Greek words… philo meaning love and Sophos meaning wisdom. In reality it is a study of the meaning of life.

I have not discovered life’s meaning in the years of my existence and although I have a love for wisdom  I have not always known how to use it.  In brief, I am not a wise man…. only a simple man among men.

The Past in many ways has been happier and kinder than the Present.  Obviously, it is for that reason that I am obsessed with my Past while trying to erase much of my Present. I look for love in the world and find instead much hate and intolerance. I look for a change for better from the Past but do not find it in the Present.

A man was sitting with his wife in the comfort of their kitchen listening to the radio news. The year was 1942 and the broadcaster was describing the Nazi persecutions of Polish Jews.

“I’m glad to hear it”, the man said, clapping his hands. “It’s about time someone got rid of those Jews”.

“Henry”, his wife said. “That’s a terrible thing to say. Did you forget that our savior Jesus was a Jew?”

“Yeah, he was a Jew but he was not like all them other Jews who cheat everyone. Why do we have to live in a Christian country  with so many of those dirty Jews?”

The hands on the clock moved rapidly. The year was  now 2017. The place was Charlottesville, in the American southern state of Virginia.

Hundreds of men, many wearing swastika armbands who called themselves neo-Nazis, were marching through the city’s streets chanting “blood and soil (Hitler’s phrase), Jews will not replace us”. The hate of the Past was again very visible in the Present.  My Ph.D.’s “meaning of life” left me empty and without understanding.

We are living in a time when promises made are promises broken. Spoken “truths” have become a metamorphosis to spoken “lies”. Politics, bitter and cold, has replaced religion of love, respect and brotherhood.

In Israel, our Prime Minister made a promise one year ago that all streams of Judaism would be  recognized and that an area of the Kotel, our holy Western Wall (what can possibly be holy about stones?) would be built to accommodate the thousands of non-Orthodox Jews from all over the world who wished to pray according to their own religious traditions.

But as all of us know, our Prime Minister collapsed into the arms of the ultra-Orthodox haredim whose votes and numbers he needs to maintain his coalition government. The haredim are a very vocal community and Prime Minister Netanyahu broke his promise to the non-Orthodox Jews of the world in order to keep his seat in his esteemed place.

Promises made. Promises broken. Truth has converted to lies.

In the United States of America, candidate Donald John Trump made a campaign promise to move the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem giving de facto recognition of Jerusalem…all of Jerusalem.. as Israel’s capitol.

But out of fear of a world-wide Muslim revolution against American institutions, the American president broke his promise.  And politics and lies remain supreme.

HOVEH v’ ATID…. The Present and the Future.

You and I know the Present very well. The Future remains unknown. The world may be destroyed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or by North Korea’s “rocket-man’s” madness and love of missiles.

I will not be around for very long in the Future.  It will be up to all of you to create a good one.

May this New Year grant you blessings of inspiration and hope to be the builders of a better world. Shanah tovah…shnat shalom… a year of goodness, love and peace.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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