vendredi, mai 05, 2006

juxtaposition of Yom HaZikaron against Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Recently, someone I'm fond of wrote the following line in an email I received...
... I never quite understood how to appropriately make the transition between Yom Ha’Zikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut…

I'm curious about that statement... and curious, too, to know what you all think of it for yourselves and what your comments might be regarding my thoughts below inspired by the statement.

Isn't the transition similar to that of Ta'anit Ester to Purim and Ta'anit Bechorot (though for most people ta'anit bechorot is a joke, because people just make a siyum to get out of it) to Pesach? Part of the fast is that lives hang in the balance --ours or theirs. Specifically, we mourn both the lives we have already lost as subjects to Pharaoh in the case of Pesach, the lives we might lose to Haman's people in Purim, and the lives we did lose defending and regaining Israel in Ha'Atzmaut, right? So in each celebration there is a twinge of the sadness and pain that came -hence the drinking on Purim -we also drink to dull the pain of the deaths, not just to make merry- and the affliction of Pesach, many died in Mitzrayim, and in the nesim that were made for our sakes -the actual passing over our homes and our firstborn as well as the death of those in the Yam Suf, so when we eat matza and we spill wine -which in those days was precious- we are "saddened" (lesser and lessened so to speak, bad pun, sorry) and likewise the juxtaposition of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut, no? Or am I just imagining the similarity of those connections?

Perhaps I am waxing philosophical, but I think it is natural to ask -- is there any simcha in all of Am Yisrael that does not come with pain?

For myself, I would answer no. I think that might be borne out by Jewish history. This idea appears in Milton's _Paradise Lost_ and in "the paradox of the fortunate fall." I would then propose that the reason we juxtapose the pieces that you and I see of Yom HaZikaron before Yom Ha'Atzmaut here, because we want to never forget that one prize of being alive, being among those who can do and are alive to do, is that we can gain sensitivity and as such we implement strategies to cause the living of Am Yisrael to always remember first the pain and then to rejoice so that we don't take for granted what we rejoice about and that we don't lose sight of the fact that as we are brought up, so too we can be brought low --the inscription that is fabled to have been on Shlomo HaMelekh's ring "this too shall pass" or what goes up comes down, the ages old idea -though particularly prominent in the Middle Ages- of Fortune's wheel. If that might be a worthy answer then the transition is that in mourning we value what gift the ones who are dead now gave us and in celebrating we remember we are lucky -and perhaps only just so, perhaps it is not that we are any more deserving than the next people- to have what we have. On a broader scale, maybe it is a lesson about not swinging to extremes,I suppose too. When one is happy, remembering not to be too happy, when one is sad, not to be too sad. I like that lesson a great deal less, because it seems to be very much against being fully present in the moment, but perhaps. for my own preference, I would say that the transition between the two is that it is really one whole thing, just that the first thing is to remember that we have paid for our celebration and so in our celebration to be sensitive to others.

I have always been a tiny bit torn, because, as much as I'm probably closer to a settler type and feel sad about giving up land Jews fought and died for, I have always wondered what Arabs living in Israel felt about Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut and whether there wasn't a better way to handle the whole thing.

If you've time to respond, I would greatly love to know your thoughts, though I more than understand if you haven't the time to do so right now.