Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Breakfast @ Dovid’s

Aluminum tables glint in the breakfast rays. A half-full ashtray lies near a half-empty red Coca Cola napkin dispenser. A mug with coffee-line marks and lipstick on the rim sits abandoned between butted ashtray and napping dispenser. A backpack with a worn out orange strip dangling in resignation rests against the leg of a chair. A man and woman are sipping on muddy espressos and nibbling on flaky pastries. Busses are dropping-off those that have reached the end of the road and picking-up those who have only just begun their journey.

In front of this morning backdrop, a bunch of guys sit around waiting for their food. Some have ordered omelets, some sandwiches, some French toast. While my stomach grumbles for the chaotic Shakshukah (don’t even ask), I invite the lonely newspaper at a neighboring table to come and join me. He is more than happy to unfold his creases.

He tells me about a bombing in Netanya. Five people killed. But all he really gives me are the cold facts. He doesn’t get emotional. Maybe for him to exist, to see people blown apart day in and day out, he must resort to numbness. In fear of falling apart, he does not cry; not one tear falls from his black and white eyes. But he must be affected: no one can ignore such pain.

Then, when he starts opening up to me, I start to see a whole different story – something about Kadima and Likud – and realize that maybe the murder of innocent people can be ignored.

Ah, but my steaming Shakshukah has arrived; and, as we insensitive human beings tend to do when faced with an escape from an awkward position, Mr. Newspaper is once again left all alone, yellowing into yesterdays news.

After Shakshukah has gone the way of Newspaper, we here breakfasting at Dovid’s, as is custom, have a ten-minute “discussion” on the day’s Torah and Tanya portion. The Torah relates the story of Jacob: before he left the Holy Land for Choron he had a dream about a ladder; the Tanya speaks about the different energies we create and inspire through our learning, through our prayer, and through our actions.

Interestingly, the Torah says that angels went up and down the ladder. However, as angels are heavenly creatures, the wording of the Torah seems to be disordered: first the angels should have descended (from heaven) and only after ascended (from earth) – how can a heavenly angel ascend from earth without first descending from heaven?

We all have our personal “leaving the pure for the mundane”. But before we go, we have our own personal ladder as well, with angels going up and down. The story is telling us: no matter where you may be, no matter in what situation or circumstance, no matter how purely impure you life seems to be, there is that angel climbing up the ladder, following us to the border of the Holy Land, to the edge of purity; and when we cross over the border, there is another angel climbing down the ladder, watching us, giving us the energy to “make here [this mundane earth] the Holy Land”.

And the Tanya goes on to explain what, and which, energies we create through our learning, through our prayer, through our actions, our tools for turning the “here” into a Holy Land.

When we climb this ladder, bridging both worlds (Be’er Sheva and Choron), I think the headlines of the breakfast newspaper will read a little differently.

May tomorrows headline read, “Here has been made into the Holy Land”.

8 Comments:

Anonymous TRM said...

It may not cry, but sometimes it does scream.

Amen

12/06/2005 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep up the good words.

12/06/2005 8:00 PM  
Anonymous high in the himalayas said...

Mendeleo-

you've captured the breadth, width and depth of the human spirit [and stomach] and somehow still managed to relay the sentiments in a communicable [i believe the term was postable] piece of writing...

kudos on breaking the 'monday cycle'.
;)

12/06/2005 8:54 PM  
Anonymous m said...

hey jaki,
nice piece, it brings back memoris from that breakfast we had about a year ago

12/07/2005 4:55 PM  
Anonymous trm said...

Shakshuka, Bombings, Shwarma, Burgers, Shootings.

Life stays the same and goes on.

Its us who must change.

"How could drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on." - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

12/07/2005 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg are you talking about dovid!!
the guy from the bakery near tachana.
omg i wanna go back there so bad no matter whats going on.

12/08/2005 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Toward a meaningful blog said...

Jake,
Genug shoin with the fluff, its time for some substance

12/12/2005 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not everything needs to be heavy-duty..some things are just thoughts

12/15/2005 2:23 PM  

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