Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Colors of Israel

I went to a meeting last night and two people were arguing. One was pushing the concept that there are many who see things in shades of black and white only. And I found myself agreeing with him. And then, someone else said our job was to "introduce shades of gray" and I found myself agreeing with him too.

This morning, I took my youngest child to the Recruitment Office to deal with her "Tsav Rishon" - her first call up (and probably her only one). If there are labels to be attached to us, we are "Dati Leumi" - or "national religious." On the religious spectrum, we're pretty far to the right. Enough so, that sometimes people incorrectly think we are Haredi (we aren't). On the political/national level, we are pretty far to the right. Enough so, that sometimes people incorrectly thing we are extremists (we aren't).

My oldest child served Israel in the form of "Sherut Leumi" - a national service established as an alternative to the army, primarily, but not exclusively for religious women. Three of my sons have served or are serving in combat units. And finally, we arrive at my youngest. She got her Tsav Rishon, which told her to arrive at the Recruitment Office at 11:00 a.m. this morning.
She went to tell them that she would serve the country, as her sister did, within the Sherut Leumi program, and she will. As I dropped her off and made my way to work, I started thinking about the meeting last night and notice the colors around me. My world is not black and white. 

My world is golden - the golden stones of Jerusalem that change shades as the sun passes over head and finally sets in the sea to the west. In the morning, they are golden and later shades of red appear. Jerusalem of gold. Gold...

And my world is all the shades of yellow and orange that appear in the sunset. I can watch the sun set over Israel's seas and never tire of the beauty, the promise that tomorrow the sun will rise again.

I don't know why the sunrise and the sunset in Israel seems so spectacular but there are days when dozens post them to Facebook from all over the country, each seems to be even more beautiful than the one before.


 And in a land with two deserts, we are a land filled with green. Everywhere you go, there is green.

And sometimes, if you look carefully, even in the desert, you'll find patches of green, oases, springs and rivers and waterfalls...

In a few weeks, we'll go kayaking on this river and maybe visit the northern seas.

A few weeks ago, I went near the Dead Sea and into Ein Gedi where a series of waterfalls, help a small patch of the desert turn into a path of greenery.

Green...in so many shades...

So much beauty - vineyards with ripening grapes, huge orchards of date trees growing in the desert where nothing should be growing at all.

Fertile areas adjacent to desert mountains. My land is one filled with colors.

 And blue...my world is filled with blue. From the skies that seem to be an impossible shade of blue to the deepest of blues and greens combined in the waters...

...of the Mediterranean to the west

...the Dead Sea to my east

...the Sea of Galilee to the north

...and the Red Sea to the south

We are surrounded by shades and shades of blues.

Sometimes the waters of Israel are gentle and modest, like the waters of the Jordan River and the peaceful Sea of Galilee...and then, the winds pick up and suddenly the power of the waves shocks you as it rolls towards the shores.

And the depths and shades in places like Rosh Hanikra will take your breath away.

So many colors in one small land; so many shades not just of color, but of truth, of right, of might, of history.

It is here that the land continually reminds us of the past. You cannot travel far without being faced with it. Every day I come into Jerusalem, I pass walls that were built over a thousand years ago, and two thousand.

I pass places that carry names found in the Bible. Har Moriah, where Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed and left with a lesson that transcends time. God is a God of mercy and compassion. He wants us to love our children, not sacrifice them.

The land tells us the history. It shows us whose land this is every time archaeologists dig. King Solomon who built the Holy Temple.

His father, King David, who gave us so much, did so much, taught us lessons that we as a people sing out each day, each week, each month.
 The colors of Israel are endless, as are the possibilities.

This land is so tiny and yet big enough for all to live here in peace.

But it will only happen when the world...and our enemies...see more than black and white, when the red of our blood is not something they seek.

Until then, perhaps he is right, that man who said the world sees black and white. 

And perhaps he is right, that man that said we have to work to introduce the shades of gray into the debate.

Maybe then, once the world sees black and white and gray, maybe then it will be prepared to see even the oranges, the yellows, the blues and the greens and the purples of this amazing land, this amazing life, this amazing world that God has created for us.

The gold...

The yellow...

The orange...

The red...

The green...

The blue...

The purple...

Israel - a land of many colors.

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