From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven: Meditations on the Soul of Israel

By Ari Elon; Tikva Frymer-Kensky | Go to book overview

Sha'ar Tzion:


Zion Gate

"How can we become not us?"

-- Y.H. Brenner


Drowning in Sky

Until the Zionist revolution, the children of Israel had to float in the sky as in a Chagall painting. It's not important now who pulled their strings and caused them to hover--whether it was God who tugged them from above, as if they were marionettes, or whether the rabbis pulled them from below, as if they were kites. When they started drowning in the sky, the ḥalutzim (pioneers) appeared and brought them down to an emergency landing. That is how the children of Israel came to the Land of Israel.

The ḥalutzim gave this people the only down-to-earth revelation in its history. They gave a motherland to this people whose umbilical cord to the sky had not yet been cut. They brought the people down from exile. They bore the people the whole way on their hands while it slept.

In its dreams, new waves of sky break on the shore. They threaten to wipe the land and its dreamers from the face of the earth. The ḥalutzim do battle with the sky. They build little dikes with their fingers. They dry out the edges of the sky. They divert them into side channels.

The long night of winter continues. Like stagehands, the pioneers walk on the soles of their bare feet. They transfer the central stage of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. During this whole long night they wrestle with God and continue to build. They build and continue to wrestle. When the dawn rises, they set Him free, and disappear after Him behind the scenery.

(Curtain Going Up)

-21-

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From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven: Meditations on the Soul of Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xii
  • My Own Gate 1
  • Zion Gate 21
  • Ravine Gate (bab El Wad) 53
  • The Dung Gate 127
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