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Magic, migration, and ballots

A historical people was resurrected from the ashes, built a home on the soil of their ancestors, and even hold their own elections -- what a fairy tale!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I really hope you have, that there has been an unprecedented influx of butterflies into Israel over the last few weeks. They are everywhere, in the parks, by our houses, in the fields, on the motorways. Everywhere you turn you see these beautiful orange and yellow creatures flapping their wings beckoning you to watch them as they glide peacefully through the air.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, I really hope you haven’t, but there has been an unprecedented influx of political figures and billboards vying for your attention in Israel over the last few weeks. The posters are everywhere, in your work place, by your houses, on the motorways. Everywhere you turn you see the faces of another “wanna be” leader flapping their arms beckoning you to listen to them as they bark slogans and soundbites through the air.

There are those who rationalize the butterflies away through natural and ecological explanations, and don’t get me wrong: while science and reason have given us so much, they have also led to the process of “disenchantment,” which has deadened our souls. Because only through deep appreciation of beauty lives eternity, and only through transcendent meaning can we elicit real joy. Without recourse to a higher calling, politicians become corrupt, and without meaning, life becomes abject.

Let’s pray that our politicians see the butterflies, let’s hope the power of  beauty and magic of natural miracles peppers their pragmatism. Because that is what our county, our democracy, our people are and what our people need. A historical people resurrected from the ashes, building their home on the soil of their ancient ancestors….sounds like a fairy tale, maybe it is and maybe that’s what it’s all about. Perhaps that is precisely what our message to the world should be, a reminder of the magic of ancient dreams come to life, of miracles and redemption through science and technology and human innovation; of seeing the Divine in the daily and the sacred in human endeavour. As the author of Psalms says:

When the Lord brought back the returners to Zion, we were like dreamers.

שׁוּב ה’, אֶת-שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִינוּ, כְּחֹלְמִים

Let us not forget to be those self-same dreamers….

Who knows maybe these butterflies are here at this time at this moment in history to generate a sense of mystery and splendour distinct from our own achievements and self-centred ego.  Maybe in diverting our attention away from the “campaign,” we’ll be reminded of the magic and the dream; or maybe it is only a natural phenomena of migration…. Magic or migration….I know which explanation I prefer to believe.

About the Author
Tanya White is an educator who teaches Tanach and Jewish Philosophy in Israel and abroad. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Jewish Thought. She writes a weekly blog on the Parsha combining Jewish thought and current affairs at www.contemplatingtorah.wordpress.com
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