Pic: Yaki Assaig
Yair Lapid

Forgive us our transgressions

Unlike we mortals, Master of us all, You understand that style IS substance

Of all our sins, Master of the Universe, of all our actions and words, the most inexcusable transgression, the one that maybe even Yom Kippur doesn’t excuse is our style.


Unlike we mortals, Master of us all, You understand that style IS substance. You are the one who had decided by the third commandment to remind us: “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” You gave us “You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”


Demonstrators against the war in south Lebanon invaded last week, our Teacher and King, a toast for the New Year hosted by the prime minister. The group shouted and interrupted, disrupting the party which is what they set out to do, but master of the Universe, what did they get out of it?


I am not so old, as His Reverence knows; still I remember times when it was customary to patiently wait for the prime minister to greet everyone with Shana Tova. It wasn’t less democratic. There were protests then too and I even took part in some of them. It never occurred to anyone that a little common courtesy would destroy the objective of the mission.


I know there were bereaved parents among the minor protestors – and who am I to judge them – but they know that the fate of the nation is not determined in the middle of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Had they waited a little longer or preempted the toast maybe someone would have listened.


We don’t listen 

We don’t listen, Heavenly One, not to others and not even to ourselves very often. We are so hasty in deciding what we think. Then it’s end of discussion. Full stop. Katzav is guilty of course. So is Hanegbi, Ramon absolutely innocent, the army screwed up and no one has the strength to listen to the findings of the Zeiler Commission so let’s agree that the entire police force is corrupt and let’s move on.


Then there are weekend public opinion polls: Olmert is finished, Peretz is too and so is Halutz, Peres’s career ended somewhere around Second Temple Times. One could take all of this seriously if it wasn’t for Netanyahu, the new hero. He’s the same Netanyahu that was the Middle East’s biggest failure; let’s see, six months ago.


What caused us to say ‘we won’ before everything started, and ‘we lost’ before it ended? What prompts the State Comptroller to issue reports before the inquiry has ended? What motivates the Attorney General to appear on television regarding the accused when trials haven’t even begun?


What motivates the Hapoel Tel Aviv management to fire the coach even before the first league game has been played. What makes us run, Your Majesty?


And why, in the name of God, do we derive so much pleasure from being mean? Over the last two weeks I have read the reviews of the new CD from vocalist Ninette. I have no idea if it is good or bad because my son Yoavi is withholding it from me.


I can say that the level of violent language is appalling. It’s just music. A 20 year old girl goes into the studio, picks out the best songs to record for her first album and performs them to the best of her abilities. That’s it. Maybe it will succeed and maybe it won’t but isn’t the effort praiseworthy.


Once critics would say ‘Okay, we’ll wait for the next album’, and believe me that was devastating enough. Now they curse her. Master of the Universe, why should she be cursed?


No perspectives

Perspective has also gone awry. I Googled ‘Dan Halutz’ – 291,000 entries. I typed in ‘Ninette Taib’ and got 309,000 entries. I tried to call her because I wanted to ask her if she didn’t think this was lunacy but she has gone underground and changed her number again.


Maybe it seems like a petty issue to trouble you with, Our God and God of Our Forefathers, but there is no real discussion about anything. Only exchanges of insults, leaks, spins, defamation and endless noise that muffles it all. We thought that You shut down the Tower of Babel for repairs but it turns out You opened a neighborhood – Tabloid Heights.


We all know already – it’s more than knowledge it’s a strong sense – that our lives need changing. Our current way is flawed and unproductive, and quite frankly a little sad. It’s just that we’ve gotten so used to the incessant contest of yelling contest that we have no idea where to start.


We have lost the ability to mobilize, to concentrate on one thing, to do something. There was a brief moment when it seemed that the rehabilitation of the north would unify us but three minutes later, we were back in the courtyard yelling.


I am not trying to tell You what your job is but maybe the time has come to reassess things from up there? Give us a sign, oh Lord our God, some kind of Ritalin from the heavens that will help us concentrate on one thing at a time.


There is a raging debate going on in the United States that one cannot ignore. Congress and the White House are dealing with it, serious journalists are writing about it, stand up comics tell jokes about it and public personalities devote their lives to it. The subject – you won’t believe it – is energy. The need to free themselves of the dependency on oil, its impact on the environment, the global warming, solar energy fields and wind energy, urban pollution and the hole in the ozone layer are all being discussed.


I admit it, my private God, that in the beginning I read about it with a kind of patronizing smirk on my face. These Gentiles, I said to myself, they have nothing better to do.


Then the jealousy began. They at least are dealing with issues that are important to them. They are having a serious debate, often acrimonious but focusing on the facts. They have found something relevant to their lives, learned the subject thoroughly and will continue until something changes.


You read their articles and understand that in another two decades their cars will be Hybrids, the smoke belching out of their factory chimneys will be ethanol made from corn, the neighbor’s nature will be greener and why? Because they understand that there is a time frame called ‘in another 20 years’. There is and it will effect us as well.


Next to my house, My God, is a neighborhood Square. Yesterday morning I drove through, and there was a cardboard box in the middle of the street. I drove around it carefully and continued on my way. Six hours later I returned to the Square.


The cardboard box was still there. Not one of the hundreds of drivers who passed through in those six hours thought to stop and toss it out of the road. Everybody thought it’s not my business, as he passed it by. This too, as your Supreme Being understands already, is a question of style. We are not kind to one another. I beg Your pardon.  


פרסום ראשון: 10.04.06, 20:07
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