Two Loves… One Heart

On a past flight from Ben-Gurion Airport to Cyprus, the Israeli security officer happened to ask out of curiosity why I traveled with two passports, one Israeli and the other from a foreign country.

My simple response was that in case anything should happen to me while in another country, the foreign passport would be faster and more effective in obtaining consular/diplomatic help. No problem. The security officer smiled. “N’siya tova”.. have a safe flight.

On board the flight, it happened that the passenger sitting next to me excused herself and remarked that she had overheard my conversation while waiting to approach passport control and she had a similar curiosity .

She asked me politely that if Israel was ever at war with the other country whose passport I carry, which country would I fight for. Which country would I hope to be victorious.

Such a question had never been asked of me before and I was at a loss to come up with a quick response.

So I answered with what came to mind. A man can have two loves without any real conflict. One is the love for his mother and the other is his love for his wife.

A man could, if necessary, divorce his wife but could never divorce the mother who bore him and gave him life.

While each of us has only one heart, two loves do not a conflict make.

I’m relieved to say that one love is always for the birth mother, but not always for the mother-in-law !!

Because I have loved my wife dearly with many years of marital bliss, I generally offer my Israeli passport to customs and immigration , keeping the second passport in my pocket to be used only in cases of illness or danger where a more rapid response is generally the case.

Once I flew from Israel to Hungary. Arriving at the Budapest airport the customs officer looked at my Israeli passport and asked me if I had any other one. And while the other one was secured in my pocket I replied , “No. I am an Israeli citizen and this is my only passport.” To which she pointed out that my Israeli passport lists my place of birth as elsewhere. I simply replied once again “I am an Israeli citizen and I travel only on my Israeli passport”.

And frankly, why not? I waited for two thousand years to hold an Israeli passport in my hand and I am very proud of it. (Despite my very lack of pride in our current government).

I have one heart but it sometimes skips a beat.. sometimes responding in Hebrew and sometimes in the other language.

In the Budapest airport I was asked if I spoke Hungarian. It is a dreadful language lacking the mellifluous charm of most western European languages based upon Latin roots… French, Italian or Spanish.

She did not appreciate my response I think, when I replied briefly.. “nem bessel magyarol, nem ertem magyarol… I neither speak nor understand Hungarian.” There was no smile on her face as she stamped an entry visa into my Israeli passport.

I can love my mother but on a different level as my love for my wife. A love for one does not invalidate a love for the other.

With one heart, every sincere and devoted human being can treasure the two loves.

One made him what he was. The other made him what he is.

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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