Drew T. Noll © 2022, all rights reserved

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Home Again and the One Armed German


The inspiration for this story came to me today when, as I was working at my bench in the German gas filtration system factory, two older men walked up to me. I hadn’t seen them before and wasn’t sure that they knew Hebrew (as many of the older folks there do not) but after they hovered for just enough time for me to know that they needed something I took off my headset and asked if I could help them. It isn’t important what they wanted and I just sent them up to see my boss on the second floor of the factory but what was important to me were two things. First was that I had been listening to a lesson on Tisha’beAv (see last years blog with the same title at http://bravenewland.blogspot.com/2007/07/tisha-b-av.html ) and it was right in the middle of the second of two stories on the Holocaust when I paused my Ipod to look up, ask if I could help, and then notice the second thing which was that one of the old German men was missing an arm. He stood back a little and acted as though he didn’t understand while the other German did all the talking.

I guess to really tell this story right I need to back up to my trip to America (see picture above of an amazing mountain hike I took). Yup, I traveled during the nine days when we shouldn’t even be swimming, much less flying at 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. I arranged my ticket with all the important things in mind, accept the yearly cycle of the Jewish calendar which if you read my last blog, you may connect some very important lessons about life… at least I was back home in Israel for Shabbat and then Tisha’beAv itself…

Israel has been described to me as being a place where Hashem is the most present in the entire World. After all, He did live here for a period of time while there was a Mishkan in the desert and then on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, twice for both the first and second Temples… you know, the place that the Arabs plopped their shrine down on top of called The Dome of the Rock. The rock, now buried and desecrated under the Muslim shrine is said to be the foundation stone of the universe by our sages and is the place where Jacob had his dream in which he battled with an Angel, the place where Isaac was almost sacrificed by Abraham, and the place directly under the Holy of Holies in the Temple where only once a year, on Yom Kippur, the High Priest would enter. This was the place where G-D has been most present in this World.

So coming back home to this place, of all places in the World, was pretty charged for me. I don’t live in Jerusalem but I have actually been in the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount (It was about 25 years ago when Jews could still do such things without the possibility of Holy War on the World by the Muslims who now control the entire Temple Mount, but that is another story). I live in Zichron Yaacov with my wonderful and beautiful wife and family and when I got home, I felt this (G-D) energy like it was going to knock me all the way back to America. I had one day to prepare for Shabbat and then right on its heels, Tisha be’Av. Adele had a house guest visiting from the States and both she and Adele were ripe for orienting me back into the Holy Land. Actually, I am getting ahead of myself, first on the morning of Tisha’beAv, I woke up, sat on the throne of contemplation, got a stomach ache, blacked out and fell over, hitting my head on the tile floor (if you read my last Tisha’beAv blog you would know that this made two for two) and I can still feel the bump now, a week later…Oy.

So where am I going with all this you might ask? I really don’t know. All I do know is that now that I have made Aliyah to Israel, my home is here. The energy and happenings around me are all extreme in nature, both positive and negative which brings me back to the one armed German. Sometimes I wonder what these people are doing here. These weren't the exact same guys that tortured and murdered 6,000,000 Jews in Germany but why do these decendants choose to live here, in the land of the Jews? Don’t get me wrong. They are the nicest people that I have ever known in my entire life but when an ‘older’ German walks in with a missing arm… I gotta start to wonder…

So, here I am home again and trying to get my sea legs back. I am not exited about going back to work tomorrow, I am not especially happy with my family life at the moment, I haven’t been able to study or even to pray as much as I would like, it is hotter and muggier then Hell, and I am also in a place where I feel the energy of G-D… all the time. The sages tell us that to really know G-D, we need to feel his presence not only at the times we feel happy or joyous, but to feel Him even when we are being squeezed through a toothpaste tube. I’m trying… I know, Ye’heyay beseder…

Love to you all.