This very rainy season brings with it a winter’s tale of political intrigue, upcoming elections, and uncertain regional winds. It’s stormy inside and out. But unlike the weather, our internal storms continue even as the skies turn blue. I travelled on the northern road, thinking that there could be few places on earth whose quiet is quite so deceptive. It was raining hard from dark grey skies, and then unexpectedly, the sun came out. And with the sun a rainbow. I don’t know if Israel breaks some world rainbow record, but this winter we’re blessed with glorious days of rain and rainbows, lots of them.
Of course rainbows, like pretty much everything else around here, aren’t simple. They’re not a completely welcome sign in Judaism, a reminder of destruction past. However, living in a place where potential destruction pops up for conversation with around the same frequency as the weather, and certainly more than the price of cottage cheese, I prefer to look on the bright side. They’re equalizers rainbows, like sunsets. They appear for all of us. On all our instagrams. For Jews and Arabs, left and right; in and outside the green or not-green line. And unless your pleasure in rainbows is tempered by a quick blessing to remind us and the almighty that we don’t need another flood, there’s probably a fair chance that an unexpected rainbow elicits a long ooh and quick grab for the cellphone before it’s gone.
And so it is in life. We might accept the grey days, be thankful for the rain, and wonder at the rainbows. Even here there are rainbows, as we fling open our front doors each morning onto our Alice in Wonderland land of politicians, balloons, missiles, tunnels, traffic jams, measles, and a minutiae of other stuff often unrelated except for the toes on which it keeps us. I know we’re busy, with our heads down and our ganders up. But you’d think as a people who lived in bad weather for so long, we’d keep an eye out for those elusive little bright spots wherever they appear. I mean look at it this way, houses are flooding and the Kinneret is rising. Gabbai’s a wanker to Tzipi, but Eitan Cable and Bezalel Smotrich are besties in the Knesset. We have rockets in the south, and soldiers who didn’t die because didn’t go to war three months ago. We have a Haredi gan that won’t accept Ethiopian kids, and a new Jewish/Arab kindergarten in the Galilee. The sun comes out and the sun goes in. The rain stops and the rainbow starts.
The fields flooded in Bet Shean, giving us statues belonging to those who watched sunsets and rainbows here two thousand years before us. We can look for the good stuff on the grey days, when, as John Donahue writes – “the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble”. The days we’re all too familiar with around here. But for now, may the rain fall softly and often on our fields, and the winds, especially the political ones, be far behind our back, where we feel them least.