towers in the air

I won’t need to mention more than a hint to most of you when I ask you to think of what comes to mind with towers and men. …

Okay, I gave you more than enough time. Really, what is it with men and their projectiles?

Humor aside, really, because all of us are paying the consequences of this phenomenon; higher, more pronounced projectiles that don’t just sit on the ground but have to go as far as possible into the other’s otherness. On our trip from Efrat to Tzfat the other day, I was extremely cognizant of these projectile of all kinds. I had put the Tzeva Adom Alert on my phone in order to give us a possible heads’ up on our way up north. Would we have to stop along the side of the road? Would we have to figure out how to stop and then start up again safely? Drivers in Israel are not known for being polite in any season, but everyone is tense these days. It went off pretty much every 5 minutes; often more than that. I can say for our sakes thankfully, we were not affected. I can say for our sakes that many many other people were.

So I was really paying attention to the landscape, as we drove along. What became most salient to me was the minarets in the Arab towns all along our route. Traditionally, they are the highest point in each town. Is this by decree or by custom? I’m guessing decree. They symbolize domination, which from the very little I do admit I know about Islam is so everything else shows submission. What happens today, of course, is that there are things that compete with these towers, even in the very same area.

What are the newest towers? Cell towers. So here are competing symbols—submission/domination vs. communication/progress. And so that is what I started seeing much more clearly. Am I wrong to present my values as the correct ones? Of course. I am just stating that this is what I saw, for now. And I will state definitively that communication is what we need a whole lot more of in order to get anywhere in this world.

There is an image of “migdal pore’ach b’avir”, a “tower that breaks through the air” of the Hebrew letter lamed  ל that sticks its head up above all other letters (discussed in Sanhedrin 106b).

The letter also means learn. Let’s try that image for our projectiles, shall we?

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Isaiah Chapter 2 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ

ד  וְשָׁפַט בֵּין הַגּוֹיִם, וְהוֹכִיחַ לְעַמִּים רַבִּים; וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבוֹתָם לְאִתִּים, וַחֲנִיתוֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת–לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.  {פ} 4 And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. {P}
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