Count Your Blessings

Israelis love to complain. We are always complaining about one thing or another, whether it’s the weather, the political/security situation, the current economic climate, the government, the neighbours, our work. The heatwave is unbearable, the rain makes everyone miserable, the government ministers are a bunch of crooks, it’s impossible to make ends meet even in a two-salary family, our boss is a slave-driver, the next-door neighbours are loud-mouthed boors who are trying to take over the communally- owned bomb shelter in the basement….. You get the general idea.

Over the summer months, at the height of the “Social Justice Protest”, many Israelis asked: “If it’s so good, why is it so bad?” Why, despite Israel’s incredible economic growth, our strong currency, our international credit rating (which is higher than that of the United States), are there middle-class families where both parents are working, who cannot afford to buy their own home?

But I ask now: “If it’s so bad, why is it so good?”

Why, in a Rosh Hashana survey carried out by Yisrael Hayom, one of Israel’s leading newspapers, did 46.4% of those questioned  reply that they were, generally speaking,  “satisfied”  with life in Israel, while a further 22.5% were “very satisfied”? That’s a total of 68.9%.

Why was it that, when asked to sum up the year now ending from a personal viewpoint, 29.95% felt that 5771 was a better year than its predecessor, 40.1% thought it had, at least, been no worse, 4.1% were unsure and only 25.9% felt it had been a worse year than 5770? And when asked if they were considering leaving Israel and emigrating elsewhere, 87.9% replied with a resounding “NO.”

Sometimes, it’s necessary to take two steps back and look on the bright side. At least the sun is shining. At least the rain is filling up our depleted water reserves. At least we have our own government, after 2000 years of stateless wandering. At least we have a job. At least we are fortunate enough to have a place to live, even if the neighbours are a little difficult to get on with (this can be interpreted on the international, as well as the local level ;-)).

So, this Rosh Hashana, let’s count our blessings. Let’s dip our apple in the honey and remember all we have to be thankful for. Sure, it could be better. We could be better.  Let’s work to make it – and ourselves – better. With God’s help, we can.


On this optimistic note, I’ll leave you with this joyous rendition by the Fountainheads.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

לשנה טובה תיכתבו ותיחתמו

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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