Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Surrounded By Possibilities

The walls are surrounded. We have no hope of escaping the city; the city has no hope of escaping destiny. Destruction is inevitable; it is but the beginning of the end. I can see the enemy fires burning in the near distance. Thousands of their soldiers are silently laughing, reminds me of a movie. Panic spreads overhead like an overcast sky. The future is as bright as thunder; the streets are as noisy as lightning. Black smoke billows from everywhere (destruction is always accompanied by black smoke). Stone that once looked like gold bricks in the setting of the sun now looks like gray flesh in the setting of siege. The walls have not been breached – no, the enemy is using them as a coffin, burying us alive. Soon the food will run out. Parents will start eating their children; children will start begging to be eaten. Some say we should leave the walls and fight; some say we should pray; some say we should put the swords to our necks; some say we should turn the swords into plowshares – or at least into pens. We cannot even agree to disagree; we are broken into a million little pieces. They say our division is the reason for our destruction, and, therefore, our unity would be the reason for our resurrection – but no one seems to see it that way: we’d rather be right than alive.

And here we are, once again imitating history. Confined to our walls are we, surrounded by falsehoods. There is but little hope of escaping this darkness. Destruction seems to be upon us; it looks like the end is approaching. Is that an overcast sky? Or maybe an undercast earth? Are we living in a bad dream, a nightmare perhaps, where the lightening bolts blind our eyes and the thunder claps leave blood poring from our ears? It is very cold, I think, and we are bitten by the frost. And we still do not realize that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. The world is freezing to death, while we are busy arguing who should light the fire; people are dying from thirst, while we fight for the distribution rights. We are of one body – we use are left arm to sever our right. Does the Left not feel the pain of the Right? Does the Right not feel the pain of the Left? Are with this immune, this indifferent to our own selves? And still the walls are surrounded.

But then I sit by a Shabbat table, where so many different backgrounds step into the common foreground. I see a child drop a coin into a shaking cup. A Rabbi puts Tefilin on his brother, almost in slow motion, really. A stranger helps a woman with her baby carriage. A backpack-yielding student gives her seat to a cane-yielding grandfather. A wizened old man, with a green tattoo on his arm, smiles. A rebellious teenager channels his energy into a book that possesses the meaning of life. He questions everything; sometime he finds answers, sometimes answers find him – either way, he’s alive. Moments of truth are momentous – and they are everywhere.

We just have to open our eyes.

Suddenly it doesn’t seem like we are surrounded anymore. All that was once destroyed is now being rebuilt. Foe is becoming friend; challenge is becoming possibility; dream is becoming reality –

And in reality we are all one, because, in truth, there is but one reality.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


1/11/2006 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice piece
i suppose the book about the meaning of life is ... towards a meaningful life?

1/12/2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

no - but i was asking for it.

(it is the Torah, by the way.)

1/12/2006 12:14 PM  
Blogger The Bearded One said...

first of all i think it's "blood pouring from our ears" not "blood poring..." unless it is another play on words that i havent yet gotten (im sure there are more).

b. i assume in chapter two (i.e. paragraph) you are talking about b'chlala frum but b'frat chabad. i agree. well put.

1/12/2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous myshkin said...


1/12/2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger the sabra said...

Walla! I am awed by your writing!
A question-do you sit down and let what is filling your mind flow onto the keyboard, or do you think, plan and edit your articles?

1/30/2006 11:54 AM  
Blogger jakeyology said...


1/31/2006 1:42 PM  

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