this here bench above

When we were in Israel, we went to Mitzpe Netofa, a community in which many people had suggested we might like to live. It was nice, but not so sure about living. But we liked the sitting.

We liked the benches. And what was written on them.

The photo below has a quote from Rebbe Nachman: “You should be concerned that your thoughts are [about] where you [actually] are.” In other words, be here now.

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The one below is from a popular Israeli song, BaLaylah al haDesheh (At Night on the Lawn). On the bench, it attributes the words to Rosenbloom; on this website (with a Youtube of the song), it attributes it to Esther Nitzav. I don’t know enough to quibble. The opening words to the song is this phrase “Let’s sit outside; it’s so nice this evening.” No explanation needed for that!

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The photo below is a more full setting of the one I’ve chosen for my masthead.

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This is a quote that I think is worth writing about. Here’s what it says:

יכול אדם לסבול סבל רב, אם ניצוץ של תקוה נשקף לו

A person should be able to endure great suffering as long as a spark of hope is visible.

This person who said this is Chaim Weizmann. If you are not familiar with him, you can read a great obit from the NY Times here. You can also read many many many quotes from anti-Zionists who want to pin all kinds of racist statements on him. I’m not going to help you find those.

Here’s just a snippet from the obit that summarizes the problems:

From 1920 to 1931, and in 1935, Dr. Weizmann, as president of the World Zionist Organization, found it necessary to compromise with the British and the Arabs and to appease his various Zionist opponents. Civil war in Palestine between the Jews and Arabs added to his difficulties. The Arabs insisted that Palestine had been exclusively theirs for thirteen centuries; the Jews maintained the right of prior occupation and historical connections related to their conquest of Palestine in 1200 B.C. Blood flowed freely in frequent clashes.

Okay, just a little bit more:

Throughout the years of turmoil and violence he had remained a moderate, and in 1931, when he relinquished his post as head of the world Zionists, he refused to give ground on this issue. He expressed his philosophy in a three-hour “farewell address.” His words then might just as well have summed up his views in 1949. He said:

“With a strong national home in Palestine, built up peacefully and harmoniously, we may expect, in cooperation with the Arabs, also to open up for Jewish endeavor the vast areas which for their development need intelligence, initiative, organization and finances.

“The constant formulation of excessive demands endangers the safety of the mandate. We have been searching for other ways and means. In this quest I have not always been successful, but in laying down my office, formally and definitely, today, I feel that I have brought the movement a little nearer to its goal. That goal we shall reach.”

I think this quote that they have memorialized on the bench sums it up perfectly, don’t you agree?

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