Esor Ben-Sorek

Tamas — My Teacher

Tamas and I have never met. I know nothing about him, his life, his age or his history. From his family name I have guessed that he is of  Hungarian  origin.

I have come to “know” him over the course of some years as a result of articles which I have written and which were published. He responds to them in a kind and courteous way, always pointing out to me errors which I may have made. And he does it in a very polite and friendly way.

Unlike another reader who regards me as a “raving mad man”, Tamas addresses me with great respect.

I am impressed with his vast knowledge and I accept his remarks. At least I know that he has read diligently what I have written. Sometimes he replies with praise and other times with corrections which prove to be right.

Tamas is my “teacher” and I have learned much about his kindness through his responses to my articles.

There is a Talmudic proverb which has always held high meaning for me since I began my career as a university professor in 1959. I cannot remember the source of the statement but it has immense truthful and very personal  meaning in my life.

Mi rabbotai lamadeti harbai; mi chaverai yoter mi rabbotai, u’mi talmidai yoter mi koolam”— from my teachers I have learned much; from my friends more than from my teachers, and from my students more than all of them”.

Tamas is not my student but he is my good teacher. He reads carefully the things I write and probably jots down a list of my errors.

I don’t know whether to attribute it to my old age or to my ignorance.  Probably a combination of both.

Positive criticism from well-meaning readers inspires me and I am grateful in particular to Tamas.

Over the course of many long years I have published some 1500 articles. There have been more positive replies than negative ones which serve as an inspiration and an incentive to continue writing, although in my advanced years I don’t know how much longer I can continue to share with our readers.

My memories of my beloved Israel in its very early years of independence may be remembered by older readers who shared some of the same experiences. Younger readers simply cannot know nor believe.

Everyone in Israel has a telephone in their home and too many pelephones for incessant chatter on busses. But in 1951 there was a seven year waiting list for a telephone to be installed in a home. My God, look at the progress we have made.

In 1951 a bus ride from Rishon Lezion to Jerusalem took almost 2 hours. Today with the modern trains we can arrive in less than half that time.

In 1951 there was no such thing as kanyonim…shopping malls. The only department stores in Israel were those of the HaMashbir chain with little choices for harried shoppers.

Our world has changed over the last 70 years. The Founders’ dreams have been realized and fulfilled more than their initial dreams could have forseen.

Israel has become a world power-house in the field of high technology. Nations look to us for water development and new agricultural methodology to improve the lives of their citizens. We are respected by most of the nations across continents…even those nations which often vote against us.

In 1951 there was no such thing as a “blog”. Writers were called “journalists”, a title which I have enjoyed with much pride. It is a great responsibility to commit in writing ideas which the writer wants to share with the reading public.

Tamas, my teacher, continues to make me aware of my responsibilities.

From him, I have learned much. Kol hakavod v’harbai todot.

And as Hungarians say, “Koszonom”.. many thanks.

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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