Newsletter 68: The power of Destiny
Nothing gives us the feeling that we're part of the universe more than the calendar. Take this month in the Jewish calendar for example, Shvat. In Israel signs of reawakening nature appear in this month; the almond tree blossoms, cyclamens, deep purple and white in dark forests peek out from cracks in the rocks, newspapers advertise tours to see the first bursts of red anemones in the desert.
In nature time brings the event. That's why the New Year for trees for is called the 15th of Shvat (Tu Bishvat). But why are the days relating to the destruction of the temple, the 9th of Av or the 17th of Tammuz known by the dates and not the event? Does this mean that negative events like the destruction of the temple are going to take place just as surely as trees will renew themselves? Could this mean that the time had come for the temple to be destroyed? Was the temple a phenomenon of nature and not of man?
One can be certain about a natural event taking place, not so about human events. Trees will definitely renew themselves but man might decide not to do something we expect him to do. If the Jews in Egypt, for example decided not to leave there wouldn't be Passover. If human beings decide not to repent there won't be any Yom Kippur and so on.
The weather changed from cold and rainy to just cold, but sunny. Last week the umbrella I had purchased one rainy November evening while waiting for my tourists to finish buying a kipa in Geula made its debut as protection for a very sweet American lady and her son on a walking tour from the American Colony hotel.
She and her son were moved from the King David to the American Colony to make room for President Bush and his entourage. We walked through the Damascus Gate, along El Wad road, to the Western Wall, coming just in time to go up to the Temple Mount. After our tour there we left by the gate of the Nazarite and back into the market place to have some humus at Abu Shukri.
2 PM back home, I got stuck into Exclusiveness and Tolerance in the relationship between Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages by Jacob Katz. History shows we're not tolerant of each other's exclusivity but of other's inferiority compared to our exclusivity.
After putting off my attendance at the opera "The power of destiny" 3 times last night I eventually went. One could say I was destined to go on this night. It was magnificent. I was excited like a little child. There's just something very special in seeing a live orchestra, singers, dancers performing in front of me. I want to be on the stage with them.
I want to follow them round on the stage, like an unseen spirit to tell Leonora that her loyalty to her harsh father and brother will be her downfall. But what choice does she have? Can a daughter not be loyal to her family no matter how harshly they treat her? That is the power of destiny, no one can change it. It must be and all we can do is watch as step by step, inexorably the tragic end of destiny draws near.
President Bush passed through our neighborhood on his way to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, about 7 miles from my home on French Hill. I visited there before the intifada but wouldn't think of doing that now. Too many Israelis have been killed there while on innocuous visits to friends for a cup of Arabic coffee. I'm relieved that Bush got back safely. It seems the Palestinian have some sense after all. He's their best friend. The only reason why they don't come out and declare that publicly is they're trying to keep favor with the radical groups among them.
It was cold, crisp, clear weather. The mountains of Moab could be clearly seen when usually they're shrouded in mist. 9:30 and Massada loomed down on us. Walk or ride the cable car? My 3 tourists chose walking. So up it was all the way to the top with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Panting and puffing but triumphantly at the top.
Ophir's one year old so why shouldn't he be able to put giant lego blocks back in the box after his grandpa had dumped them all on the floor, and why shouldn't he get a loud cheer from everyone for being so smart. Just in case nobody cheers he cheers and claps his hands himself.
A new addition arrived in Australia, of all places to the Gork family. Her name is Isabella. I hope she treats the Jews better than the notorious Queen Isabella of Spain who expelled Jews from Spain.
Wishing you a great no news day