Since writing my last post, not only has there been no let-up in the number of daily attacks by so-called “Palestinian” terrorists on Israeli Jews, but another victim of the Bus #78 atrocity has since succumbed to his wounds.
Not a day has gone by without multiple attempts by “Palestinians” to murder Jewish Israelis, whether with knives, Molotov cocktails or by ramming cars into groups of pedestrians. Most of the attacks have, fortunately, not proved fatal, but in several, the victims incurred serious injuries, such as a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s, who were stabbed in an attack a week ago in Rishon-le-Zion.
Later that day, another “hero of the Palestinian resistance” stabbed, and seriously wounded, a 71-year-old man in the coastal town of Netanya.
Last Wednesday, (November 4th), another “Palestinian” rammed his car into 19-year-old Border Policeman Binyamin Yakobovich, mortally wounding him. After fighting for his life for five days, Binyamin lost his battle yesterday.
I could go on and on, detailing each day’s attacks, but thereby lies the road to madness.
The week before last, I wrote about the coping mechanism which enables us to retain our sanity amidst all the horror. I am not the only person, I am sure, to have found solace in music. But I have discovered another way, also. It is to try to find, every day, something, be it ever so trivial, in which to rejoice. It could be as great as the party to celebrate a cancer-stricken friend’s successful conclusion of her chemo and radiation therapy, which I attended last Thursday, or as small as this butterfly, which I spotted feeding on the flowers lining the street where I live:
And then there is the daily joy of learning. In the past, I believe I have mentioned Project 929, a study project in the framework of which, participants read one chapter (and not one verse, as is mistakenly written in the linked article) of the Hebrew Bible, every day except for Saturdays and Sundays. All over the country, there are study groups, one of which I attend (as a course at the Open University Centre for Continuing Studies). Since the Open University courses are linked to the academic year, the fortnightly meetings take place only during the winter and spring semesters, but the reading continues all year round, either in smaller groups or individually – and those who need or wish for the guidance of the lecturers are able to follow the daily articles (in Hebrew only) on the project’s website or on Facebook. Last week, saw the start of the 2015/16 academic year, with the final chapters of the Book of Judges, which we finished reading today. Tomorrow, we shall begin Samuel I.
Hand-in-hand with the study of the Biblical text, I have signed up for a series of field trips (“929 on the map”) under the auspices of the Ben-Zvi Institute (see here for Hebrew). One a month, we will go out to explore the Land of Israel, Bible in hand, each month’s tour being linked to the chapters being read that week. The first field trip was the week before last, and its subject was Samson: “Between Tzora and Eshtaol”. In view of the inclement weather of the preceding days, which had caused widespread flooding throughout the country, we took umbrellas along with our Bibles – and, miraculously, it stayed dry!
We visited the site of ancient Tzora, home of Samson’s parents, near which there is a modern kibbutz:
There, we saw, among other things, an ancient wine-press:
Apparently, in Biblical times, this region was famous for its vineyards (which must have made life difficult for Samson, who, as a Nazirite was obliged, among other things, to abstain from partaking of the fruit of the vine). The local winemaking tradition continues to this very day, as attested by the Tzora Vineyards and the Mony Winery. We visited the latter, a delightful boutique winery where the wine is aged in barrels stored in tunnels dug into the hillside:
The winery has a terrace, famous for its panoramic view of the Sorek Valley, where Samson dallied with Delilah (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one 😉 ):
Nearby are the ruins of ancient Beit Shemesh, where the lack of any pig bones helped archaeologists identify the Biblical Israelite city (since the Jewish dietary laws forbid the eating of pork).
Modern Beit Shemesh wasn’t really part of the tour, but we finished up there, with what the guide called “the Bible Quiz” in Gan Golan, a sculpture garden created by his parents in memory of Golan Peli, an IDF Armoured Corps Officer who fell in Halhoul, in 1992. The sculptures were created by Golan’s father and stepmother, in stone and metal, and all of them represent stories from the Bible, some more obliquely than others. For example, I managed to identify “Jephthah’s Daughter” quite easily:
And David, playing his harp and with the head of Goliath at his feet also posed little difficulty:
But how could anyone guess what this one is supposed to represent? (Scroll down for the answer.)
Full marks if you guessed that this is Rachel, weeping for her children (Jeremiah 31:15).
Or how about this?
Is it a lion? Or a ram? The interpretation is up to you.
As I read over this post, it rather reminds me of Maria’s advice to the von Trapp children, in The Sound of Music, to think of their favourite things and then they won’t feel so bad. And, now that I come to think of it, it occurs to me that it isn’t a bad philosophy for life in general, to try to find something fascinating, or beautiful, every day, to refresh the spirit and bring a moment’s joy to the soul.
Have a good week.