Thursday, August 21, 2014
Seeing the Whole Picture
Today was one of those days when I fell in love with Israel again.This thought occurred to me in the bathroom of a restaurant.
Okay, restaurant is overstating it. It was a pizza joint. A few greasy tables out front. A tiny bathroom that hadn't been renovated in, well, in forever.
The bathroom was both cramped and, ahem... not overly clean. The lock didn't really work. Nevertheless I was so happy, because there was toilet paper. And when I went to the sink, there was running water and a small bar of pink soap.
I had a fleeting realization that something has switched in my head. Something I associate with living in Israel. I see things differently. So instead of being horrified that the bathroom wasn't up to snuff, I focused on how lucky I was to find toilet paper, running water and soap.
It's all a matter of perspective.
There's a concept that there is a heavenly Jerusalem (Yerushalayim shel mala) and there is an earthy Jerusalem (Yerushalayim shel mata). In the earthly Jerusalem, there are crummy bathrooms and greasy tables. In the earthly Jerusalem, there are thousands of rockets pointed at Israel. There are hostile enemies at every border. There are financial struggles, small apartments, washing machines that take two hours, insanely expensive goods and not one Target or WalMart.
Having said that, when it comes to understanding life in Israel, I believe that we must see both the shel mata and the shel mala. If you only see the shel mata part of the story, you're simply not seeing the whole picture.
The Yerushalayim shel mala - the heavenly Jerusalem, looks completely different. The destiny of the Jewish people looks different. Looking at life in Israel through the vantage point of shel mata is like seeing Disney World for the first time. Looking at life in Israel through the vantage point of shel mala is like taking the 5-hour Keys to the Kingdom, behind-the-scenes tour at Disney World.
Everything looks different once you understand the whole picture.
It's my contention that it's impossible (okay, very difficult) to live happily in Israel if you only see the shel mata. If you only see the harsh realities, life in Israel can seem untenable.
It takes a paradigm shift, the openness to understand that what we see with our eyes is only part of the story.
And it's not even the best part.
Posted by Rivkah Lambert Adler at 12:15 AM