When Worlds Collide

Pit Viper in the Jungles of Borneo
Sitting here… reading the news on the Internet… I'm having a hard time remembering my travels in Indonesia and Malaysia last week, and the week before that, and the week before. I wanted to share so much about the people, the flora, the fauna… but alas… it may not be possible to do so without the sour taint of the kiss that I almost gave the tarmac upon my return to the Holy Land… last week…

While reading within the allotted WIFI zones at each airport that I leapfrogged through on my way home, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Vienna… I grasped that the world was becoming quite insane, like I was entering more finite levels of chaos/civilization at each step along the way… I was happily coming home and realizing that in doing so… I was losing something important to the 'me' that I had discovered… along the way… interspersed with the people, the flora, the fauna…

I sit here now… sad to the core for the boys that have passed to the next world… while fighting these demons of death and destruction that live a couple hours, give or take, down the street from me. My youngest son, you see, is about to embark upon his one-time personalized soul-forging experience in the IDF (I love him so, so much) and my eldest has amassed a time there longer than the required amount, set by the standards of the civilized, democratic country that I have chosen to rear him in; but, he assures me that he has grown beyond my expectations and that it will ALL be ok… really good, in fact... and I totally, totally believe him.

I can still remember standing in the little, smelly back room of an idol shop in Borneo, listening to a smartly dressed youngster telling me about his experience as a child growing up in the jungle... with vipers, scorpions, monkeys, and more… This youngster grew up in a longhouse and his father used a machete to travel from one street to the next. This young man's grandfather was probably a head-hunter, violently quarreling over territory and turf… yet the youngster had transcended this violence, becoming a civilized salesman that spoke English to tourists… in the smelly backroom of an idol shop…

He told me a story of fatherhood there, in that backroom… He told me about his young obsession with his father's machete and his father's solution to the obvious danger of a child playing with weapons of destruction… He told me of the village shaman and the solution to his father's problem. The shaman would make a mask that the father would wear to teach the child. The smartly dressed youngster told me how the father would wear the mask, becoming something else, and scare him away from the machete… and how they would place the mask, this embodiment of a personalized fear, in strategic locations as the child grew into a smartly dressed young salesman, scaring him into a life of civilization using chaos… using chaos…

I saw a video of a father in Gaza teaching his young daughter how to leap out from behind a corner and shoot a machine gun, evidently at someone… She was so excited, like it was an intimate moment between them, sharing something wonderful together… I have to wonder if a very similar thing occurred to the young salesman's grandfather… when he was a child… maybe he was given a machete and told to wield it against a neighbor for interloping upon the grandfather's mango grove. Maybe…

In the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, evidently you can still buy Mein Kampf, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the Dearborn Independent by Henry Ford. I didn't see them, but I wasn’t looking either… The country is run by Islamists, but the people that I met were really nice, helpful, and really very sweet, however extremely brainwashed and ignorant about Jews, the Middle East, and Israel… The subject came up briefly on occasion, even though we found it necessary to withhold our Israeli identities (and our Jewish ones, for that matter), because of the lopsided government controlled news reports about the current crisis…

I sit here now, stories such as these spinning upon my consciousness, wondering who I am… I sit here writing words that may reach out to civilization, or not… I sit here and pray for the peace that has been promised to us all. I pray for a little girl holding a machine gun to find real love. I pray for a salesman born in the jungle that works in an idol shop to be able to let go of the demon in his mind, grown by a shaman's mask that his father still keeps. I pray that the families of the boys that have now passed to the other side can somehow find peace from their tremendous, inconceivable loss. And… I pray that my boys will find their way home, someday, to their loving parents' arms, having heroically saved the entire world from terror and chaos.

Shavua tov.

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