I don't remember having a day that was filled with both sharp contrasts and profound typicality as was yesterday. In the morning, I went to Hevron with my brother and nephew. They had advertised a Klezmer/Carlebach minyan in the main sukkah, and the entire Me'arah was open for visitors. (The Isaac room is usually off limits to Jews). My nephew had never been to Hevron and we planned to show him the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, Tel Rumeida etc.
The service actually started out pleasantly. The singing was engaging and the atmosphere, uplifting. Too soon, however, it was marke with the typical Carlebachian affliction; lack of limits. I don't know why, but Carlebach people don't know when to stop. There are limits to everything, it seems, except singing and jumping. So, an hour long service was soon two hours. The heat rose. The Sukkah was stifling and these guys wouldn't stop! So we left after Torah reading and a quick Mussaf. What a missed opportunity. In stead of leaving on a high, I left annoyed. Typically, I recalled something that Professor Twersky once wrote, that Judaism is made up of a delicate balance of discipline and spirituality. Exclusive emphasis on the law leads to the fossilization of religion. Too much spirituality leads to chaos.
The cave itself was in spiring as usual, though I particularly like the Avraham Avinu shul. It was built by exiles from Spain in a typically Andalusian style. It has the type of intimate atmosphere that I love and frankly, I think I could have sat there all day and drunk in the atmosphere. Hevron was teeming with people who came on pilgrimage and to express their solidarity with the residents of the Jewish community and of nearby Qiryat Arba. It was a day of joy and silent determination.
That night we went to the wine festival in Rishon le-Zion. It was a huge, happy street fair with food, crafts and music. Three stages with popular, foregn and folk music. There was reall joy in the air. Most important, it was mobbed with: Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Haredim and Hilonim, Ethiopians and Russians, Settlers and Leftists. I looked around with not a small amount of wonder. Think about it. After four years of war, terror, blood, grief, and apprehension-they haven't broken us. On the contrary, the Israelis will not let the Palestinian terrorists steal our lives and our holidays.
It's an honor to be part of such a sublimely aggravating people.