Tuesday, December 21, 2004

unpacking the treasures

Rabbi Ted asked us on our last evening together in Israel to consider what our intangible "relics" would be -- something that we would especially treasure from our journey, other than the material things we bought or found or received. 

Some of us chose particular realizations, or insights inspired by favorite teachings. Many of us selected special sense impressions, memories, feelings, from amongst the brimming-over possiblities.

Mine is a collection of sounds. 

Pausing in the courtyard before entering the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, suddenly the great noon bells rang the air and the stones, and us. 

Later that day, gathered on a rooftop overlooking the four quarters of the Old City (Christian, Jewish, Arab, Armenian), we were entranced by the Muslim call to afternoon prayer flowing from several towers, each muezzin beginning and ending at his own pace, overlaid by the murmuring voices of my fellow travelers, discussing in twos and threes King David's vision of Jerusalem as a city of peace and justice. 

Yad Vashem
The soft music you can hear even before you enter the Children's Memorial at Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial; and then the voices inside reading names and ages of some of the children, more than a million, who were killed. 

The son of our host family in the holy city of Tsfat singing blessings like an angel, full-open-throated, completely unself-conscious.
The harsh squawking, like the sky rubbing squeakily against itself, of grey egrets rising by the dozens over the swampy fields of the far north. 

Voices laughing, chanting, whispering, singing, raised in angry argument, insistence, confusion.

All calls to prayer.



No comments: