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Thursday, April 26, 2012

And We All Stand Still in Silence, Then...

I think anyone who has ever been in a very traumatic situation would agree that there's a sudden still silence.  Memories return in flashes, still pictures, total silence.  A very effective cinema scene is in the movie Men of Honor, when the main character is injured.  You see it happen, but there's no sound.

I must admit that I'm one of those who isn't very happy with the non-Jewish basis of the "standing in silence" custom here in Israel which is observed on both Holocaust Memorial Day and Memorial
Day for Victims of War and Terror.  But it is effective as a reminder.  For those personally affected by tragedy, the world does stand still.

One of the messages of these national mourning days is that the tragedies affect us all.  There isn't an Israeli who can't tell about somebody, family or friend, who wasn't/isn't a victim in some way.  The "what if..." it hadn't happened would mean a very different life for us all.  Ruthie Blum's latest op-ed is about how "irreplaceable" we, or the dead are.  I have a problem with it, because the truth is that we do and must go on.  We can all be replaced.  Just like when you're cooking and suddenly discover that a crucial ingredient is lacking, most of us just figure out a replacement and end up cooking something new.  Whether it's better or worse, that's what we serve.

When someone is killed or suddenly sick or injured in a life-changing way, we have to just be pragmatic and make changes.  That's the roll of the dice.  Someone I know whose childhood was dominated by the illness and death of a parent reacted to my "you had a very difficult childhood" with:

"I never considered it as difficult.  It's the only childhood I knew."

Since then, I've considered it an important lesson.  Don't put too much concentration on what can't be changed.  Accept and go on. 

After the traffic stops for two minutes, everyone resumes moving and going on with their business.  Yes, that's what we must do.  Remember, but don't let misery and loss take over your life.  We must keep going and changing with the detours, not fighting them.  This is the life we have.  We must learn our lessons from experience.

One of the big problems of the Israeli Left is that they refuse to accept the results of the 1967 Six Days War.  They have never gone forward.  They are mired in an outdated ideology that has been proven unsuccessful and totally inaccurate.  The Arabs cannot be pacified with Land we won in 1967.  The Arabs want Tel Aviv, Haifa etc.  There is nothing more reactionary and conservative (with a small c) than a Leftist.


Anonymous said...

what of vayidom aharon?

and what would you prefer?

David Tzohar said...

Silence is really the only appropriate reaction to events such as the Holocaust or the terrible price of the 100 year Israeli Arab wars. Maybe it would be more natural to SCREAM! But this is not the Jewish way. Vayidom Aharon, then move on to baruch Dayan emet and from there to yitgadal veyitkadash shemei rabba.

Batya said...

the shofar-like siren and stopping all action are successful in many ways. Considering all, there isn't anything more effective.

MAOZ said...

Batya, I'm curious. I grew up in the States, and I don't remember ANYWHERE there hearing sirens sounded on Memorial Day, let alone all traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) coming to a halt and everyone standing "at attention". The only place I've experienced it is here in Israel. So I'm left with the question, "Why do they call it a non-Jewish custom?"

Batya said...

maoz, it's the ceremonial standing in silence. Jews pray, say psalms. the fact that Israel takes it further and stops the country the traffic etc is very Israeli. We have this tendency to remake things into something new.

Rickismom said...

When JF Kennedy was killed everyone stood in silence at the memorial for him at our public school in Illinois

Batya said...

I don't remember any ceremony. But the idea of traffic stopping is possibly only in Israel.