We, the People

I went to see “Darkest Hour” (Joe Wright, 2017), about Churchill during WWII, or more accurately Churchill’s first steps in office as Prime Minister in WWII.

The thing that affected me most was a postscript at the end of the film. There were several, and one of them said that Churchill was voted out of office six months after the end of the war. In other words, the British people turned to him, instinctively, when they had to face the insanity of Hitler. To defeat the insane you require a man of integrity who isn’t afraid of being unpopular. But once you’ve defeated the evil insane murderer, or “that man”, as Churchill referred to him, the person of integrity is replaced with someone more pleasant.

I understand; I get it.

When there’s no other way “the people”, as they are alluded to in the film, push up a real leader, and when times are less turbulent they elect someone like Theresa May, fair and honest but ineffective with something as seemingly straightforward as Brexit. Imagine May dealing with 300,000 British soldiers stranded in Dunkirk and the prospect of a war of annihilation before her.

No, better not.

Maggie Thatcher could have done it maybe, not Theresa May. I guess the fact the Brits have Theresa May demonstrates they don’t yet think the problem of illegal immigration is real and acute. Not yet. In their heart they still believe they can be civil and sort this out in a gentlemanly manner. Good luck to them.

The Americans voted for Trump because “the people”, the American people in that case, recognized that these were rough times and something drastic needed to happen. We Israelis elect Bibi again and again because we deem him necessary (though you wouldn’t know this reading the Israeli main stream press); and Churchill was thought of as necessary by his people. The film even tries to give “the people” specific faces, and Prime Minister Churchill is seen taking the tube, asking fellow commuters what they think of the situation.

Another persona representing “the people” is, somewhat incongruously from my point of view, King George VI, who has a change of heart in the middle of the film and decides to back his belligerent PM after all. This royal embodiment of the spirit of the people is touchingly portrayed with the king coming to visit Churchill in his bedroom, to tell him he will back him on his plans for war.

The film ends with Churchill’s famous speech: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Over dramatic and exactly what was required.

p.s. Churchill did serve an additional term as PM between 1951-1955.

Contented Baby

The cat and I are putting on fat in preparation for this winter that just isn’t coming. It just isn’t. It’s mid December now and I don’t even have to wear a sweater in the evenings, a T-shirt is enough.

Nobody talks about the absentee winter… Well, F did say something about it yesterday but she’s originally from England so I don’t know that it should count. English people talk of the weather incessantly; Israelis don’t.

There’s the annual surprise of the first rain, of course. The first rain is always a surprise. After nine or ten months of nothing at all dropping from the sky it takes some readjusting. Everyone is really surprised, and then they’re surprised some more. But generally the weather is not something Israelis as a group are concerned about…

Unless, that is, it affects the Sea of Galilee. You may not know this about us but the Sea of Galilee is the apple of our collective eye. Pictures of its over-exposed shores, due to dropping water levels, evoke the concern you’d imagine a grandmother unsuccessful in feeding banana to her grandchild would feel. Very concerned indeed. But now it’s been decided desalinated water will be used to fill this baby up.

Already the setting up of desalination plants allows the water authorities to stop pumping water from the Sea of Galilee altogether. And now this. Can you hear us all burping quietly in contentment?

אלפי תודות לווטרינר העירוני


החתולה שגרה במסדרון כבר כמה זמן נראית לא-הכי-טוב, כולל ריר מהפה, פרווה שלא ליקקו אותה כמו שצריך וחוסר עניין בשום נושא שלא כולל את הגדלת שטח המגע שלה עם הרצפה הקרירה. היא מנסה כל פוזיציה אפשרית, כולל שכיבה על הגב עם רגליים מפושקות וראש אחורנית, כך שהעורף וחלק מהכתפיים, אם אפשר לקרוא להן ככה, גם על הרצפה. ישנן מגוון תנוחות שניתן להכניס תחת הכותרת הכללית "תנוחות סמרטוט רצפה". למסדרון יש מעקה אבן וכבר ראיתי חתולה אחרת ששוכבת מלוא אורכה על המעקה, תוך הצמדת הרגליים למעקה משני צידיו, וזה כדי לקרר את הבטן ואת החלק הפנימי של הרגליים.

חתולים לא הולכים לבריכה או לים אבל איכשהו לא חשבתי עד הסוף איך זה משפיע עליהם, אז קראתי לווטרינר העירוני. לא עושים דברים כאלו, אני יודעת. לא מטרידים את הווטרינר העירוני בגלל קצת ריר שיורד מהפה של חתולת רחוב, אבל דאגתי לה ואוהב כלבים אחד אמר לי שכדאי. גם השכנה לידי, שהיא ברמה עקרונית לגמרי נגד חתולים ואני כל פעם צריכה לתת לה את הנאום הידוע שלי על "אם אין חתולים יש חולדות", עושה מן מבטים כאלו חצי-מפוחדים כשהיא עוקפת את החתולה בזהירות.

יש את הקישור הזה, שאף אחד לא אמר בקול רם אבל שהיתה לי הרגשה שהוא עומד להיאמר, בין ריר לכלבת: חששתי שהשכנה המפוחדת תדמיין שיש לחתולה כלבת. בגלל הריר. בנוסף לכל החתולה שרטה אותי. בקיצור היתה הצטברות של סיבות לקרוס ולבקש עזרה. מהעיריה.

בתור אמא חד-הורית אני יכולה להגיד שהעיריה מהווה תחליף חלקי אמנם, אבל מאד מהותי, לזה שאין לי בן זוג. אפילו בטלפון הם תמיד מוכנים לתת לי מילים מרגיעות.

הפעם הם שלחו לי שני בנים, אחד מלא והשני רזה. במבט ראשון הם לא נראו לי מתאימים למשימה. הם אמנם התבוננו בחתולה בשקידה; במיוחד המלא מבין השניים נראה מאד ממוקד בתושבת המסדרון שלנו. היא מצידה הגיבה באינטלגנטיות בלתי צפויה. בין אם היא הבחינה או לא הבחינה במנשא שהם הביאו למקרה שיהיה צורך לפנות אותה לטיפול, היא נסוגה בערך עשרה מטרים אחורנית, התיישבה בתנוחה חתולית קלאסית – העלו בדעתכם לרגע את פסל הספינקס במצריים – וליקקה בעדינות את אחת מרגליה.

הבחור המלא אמר שהיא לא חולה, שאין מה לדאוג מעניין הריר, שאין כרגע כלבת ולא היתה בעשר השנים האחרונות. אמרתי שזה שהיא יחסית מסורקת זה כי אני מסרקת אותה במסרק כינים מידי פעם. אני עושה את זה בעיקר בגלל השכנה המפוחדת. אני מנסה לעזור לחתולה לשמור על "פאסון".

הבחור אמר שחם לה, שאוגוסט, ושהכל יראה אחרת בספטמבר. הודיתי לו ולעוזר שלו מאד. עכשיו אני מרגישה קצת כמו בשיר הזה של 'האבנים המתגלגלות', שמדבר על זה שאת לא תמיד יכולה לקבל מה שאת רוצה – בן זוג לא נשוי ועם יאכטה נאמר – אבל את יכולה, אם את נורא משתדלת, לקבל מה שאת צריכה.


M's Farm


M is dyslectic so I am pretty sure will not be reading here. I’ve hinted again and again that I write, and he was persistent in not wanting to read any of it. Good. So I have a private corner to hide in.

The affair was doomed from the start. He was completely unaware of the role he was playing and unable to understand I was responding with a role of my own. That’s why dress-up parties are so fantastic – because of the awareness… But let’s not deviate. M was being the babe-magnet, soft and cuddly with an iron core. Brrr. I was completely turned on, though of course it’s very difficult to tell what exactly I was attracted to, unless it was the way he said “excellent” with a deep South African accent.

It floored me every time. I’m still floored, no matter how much I tell myself it wasn’t meant to be. M’s image of himself, as I’ve said, is of a magnificent babe magnet. The memories that make his eyes twinkle are to do with being attractive to women, and he refers to all of us, every single one of us, as ladies. Even in contexts that are not entirely positive women always appear in his stories as ladies.

M is actually quite a story teller and one of his great attractions, from the start, was that he said he was planning to write about his life on the farm, a promise he later reneged on. I think the fact I didn’t walk out on him then and there is testimony to my real feelings towards him. I wanted so much to hear about that South African farm.

I can tell you M would take his dogs – at one point there were as many as eight – for 10-kilometer-long walks. I can imagine them in the setting sun, miles of beauty in each direction, but that’s the extent of it. I don’t know anymore. Wait a minute!

I’ve just thought of something.

Perhaps M was repelled by the idea that I wanted his stories. You know, like natives of different places not wanting you to take their picture. They’re afraid you’ll be able to steal their soul this way. (My ex mother-in-law was like that; she identified me as a witch, out to steal her son’s soul, from the word go).

So perhaps M, instinctively wishing to defend himself, did so first by refusing to tell me about the farm and later on by removing himself altogether. Mmm. Sad, because I’m still lusting for those stories…

The George Files


This is another installment of the Previous Incarnation Therapy (PIT) material. Look for this material on previousincarnationtherapy.com as well. 

I think I should call these 'The George Files'. George was my last human previous incarnation before the present, and so much of what I go through has precedents in his lifetime. His life as a writer certainly set precedents to mine.

He tried so hard… I try hard.

He sat almost every day next to his desk to try and write and spent the afternoon walking. I tend to do the same when I don't have to work for a living.

But he was unsuccessful. No one has heard of George Browne Junior and with good reason. As a writer he was a complete failure. He was super blocked.

When young it was still ok. He poured his creative energies into his sex life, which verged on the adventurous. He had sexual liaisons all over the place. Sex was in vogue, when George was a young man. Only the other day M said he was worried his sons won't have much sex since women don't 'put out' as much now-a-days (the idea being anathema to M, of course).  This set me thinking that perhaps there are periods when people have more sex and periods when they have less.

The 1960's, we all remember, started a so-called sexual revolution. Women were on the pill and wore mini-skirts. This continued until the mid-80's, let us say, when the Aids revolution set upon us. According to my newly devised theory one's sex life is influenced by larger social developments.

So George had lots of sex in the 1920's and 30's and at least the beginning of this lucky streak had to do with the great exhale in the aftermath of World War I. Everybody, particularly the young men, were delirious about surviving that war. It was an ongoing celebration. Remember The Great Gatsby? One big continuous party.

I remember George standing in a train station in the Lake District. He had lots of friends in that area since he had gone to Leeds university. Anyway, he was on his way to a secret rendezvous with a guy… (Did I mention he was a homosexual? I'm afraid I didn't.) He was a homosexual  when homosexuality was against the law but very much in practice amongst the upper classes.

George was standing in that train station in his three piece suit, aware of his very gentlemanly appearance – for some reason I have this picture in brown and white, like a photo one would have if shot at the time – and thinking that none of the people milling about would be able to discern that he was in fact a great sinner, a sexual deviant. Not that George worried about any of that; to him it was just great fun, to be hiding in plain view this way. He was enjoying being subversive.


I think public school boys were geared toward subversion generally. Hence my great disregard for J K Rowling's Harry Potter series. I'm allowed to say this, right? I can see the school of magic is lifted from the all-too-real-life public schools. Of course one is entitled to see magic in anything; it's even the healthy thing to do. But in this case the public school system was the bedrock of the British social-political establishment. It was even, in my opinion, the bedrock of British humor. You were separated from your family as a 7-year-old and raised in an all-boy society, where the sane thing to do regarding the older boys' tyranny and the school's general disinclination to hold it down was to pretend you didn't notice, to block out your own feelings, to numb yourself.

You and your friends were riding a big amusement-park-like wave that took you far and away. You weren't in this sad place – no you weren't. It might seem like you were to outsiders but… etc. etc.

So, in a way Rowling got it right. The public school was a terrible place if you were a sensitive young boy, so much so that you had to conjure up a world of magic just to survive it. But that sort of misses the main point, which is what a mature public school boy became after going through the system. And I think the answer is he became a subversive. George certainly did. He became a master of double talk and innuendo. Because you have to devise ways for dealing with life, and pretending it's magic can be not only misleading – it can stop you from real growth. George evolved through subversiveness. That is when he evolved at all.

After that great surge of energy in his twenties and early thirties (which, come to think of it, I've recreated in my present lifetime) George felt his inhibitions blocking him more and more. By his forties the subversiveness just wasn't enough. He needed to reconnect with his feelings and couldn't.

J K Rowling's magic doesn't apply there, doesn't help the adult who had gone through this system as a boy. If he's stymied now because he had had to numb his feelings all those years before, magic cannot help him.

What he needs to do in order to reconnect with the fountain of his own feelings is stay put and breath through the pain, the way you are told to do in the framework of any therapy worth its salt.

Just stay. Don't run off. It's going to be painful but if you go through these painful feelings at least once you'll never have to go through them again. You will be unblocking yourself once and for all.

You'll be more alive, more in contact with who you really are, more creative and hey: sexier!! Try it.

I call it Previous Incarnation Therapy

Wikimedia/ photo by Luis Ascenso: The beauty of the Highlands is well known

Wikimedia/ photo by Luis Ascenso: The beauty of the Highlands is well known

   [This post is in continuation to the previous one, 'Other People Just Live', from May 7. If interested look for the previous incarnations material on previousincarnation.com as well.]

   I don't want to be as reticent as George, my last previous incarnation. George experienced enormous problems when it came to gathering and marshaling all those ethereal spirits he could sense dancing around him. The problem was making them substantial enough for a reader to grasp, but without destroying them.

   George had moved out to the Highlands in order write, but the beauty of the Highlands was well known, an established fact. Writers have “done” it many times over, so he wasn’t worried about covering all the details; like a painter in the age of photography there was no point to that. What he wanted was to let the reader enjoy the views, both physical and metaphysical, while undergoing some adventure, while achieving some insight maybe.

   I love telling other peoples’ stories, and this has to do with the many preparations I have already done, as George, for the writing. I’ve done the part every writer must do, which is to prepare one’s craftsmanship. The other part is, of course, to trust that your experience is interesting enough for other people to want to read about. Either that or you write other people’s stories, other people’s messages. As a ghost writer I am allowed to improvise wildly with other peoples’ material, harnessing all those butterfly-winged fairies George was never fully able to take a hold of.

   He was so shy. I remember him when he still worked at the paper (the name I associate with that paper is ‘the Sun Dial” but I have never been able to find a newspaper by that name in the archives). He would write his reviews in long hand and then go into the typists’ room to find someone free to type his piece. The typists were a joyful lot, but he couldn’t just talk to them any old how, like the other journalists did.

   I hate to say this but I think his writing must have been stinted too. I mean, if he was so shy and withdrawn with real live people, then his writing must have been, well… it couldn’t have been flamboyant. Although what I do remember is him being very conscientious as a book reviewer, adhering to the text, to its purported meaning, to its highest purpose.

   My aim, then, is to overcome George’s reticence. George was fortunate in that he was a public school boy. He was a graduate of a school designed to prepare upper middle class boys to run the empire.

   They were citizen-soldiers, these boys, separated from their families at age seven, disconnected from the emotional support of their close relatives, especially their close female relatives, in exchange for the opportunity to join the club.

   Being ‘a public school boy’ meant you were immediately recognized by other school boys as one of their own. This was the greatest club in the world. If you were a member there was no need for further credentials. A public school boy was obviously a gentleman; his perspective was obviously that of the ruling class, not only of Britain but of the entire planet (because Britain still ruled over vast tracts of land, not to mention sea) and it was obvious too that he was eminently qualified to carry out any task he set himself to.

   As I remember it, it was very easy for George to get the job he had had at the paper. He met a friend on the street. The friend mentioned they were looking for writers at this rag, meaning a newspaper, George rushed over and that was it, he got the job. Nothing like that is liable to happen to me today, of course, so I’m a little jealous. On the other hand, I have so many advantages over George.

   Remembering George makes it easier for me to communicate. Remembering how difficult it was for him to communicate his feelings, how intensely introverted he was; I carry the memory with me at all times, as a contrast to where I am at now. Never again, I tell myself, never again this Georgian reticence.

   But there's an additional advantage I have over George. I think of my ability to remember previous incarnations generally as a great advantage. This is so extremely helpful that I would like to spread the information around. I call it Previous Incarnation Therapy and I plan to continue writing about it here. And if this is something you are interested in please comment below. I would much appreciate it if you do!

Old King Saul

   Inspired by Hillary Clinton’s televised seizure my son, a talented mime, lay on the floor claiming he didn’t feel so well. He said he could barely move his arms and legs, that they just froze up on him. I had a premonition this was in preparation to refusing to go to school the next day. S’ has days on which he simply refuses to go to school. I didn’t want to start the argument the day before so I just said we’ll see. I kept it vague but the next morning I went ahead full throttle.

   My son and I come from a whole family of people who know how to push ahead when the need arises. It’s a matter of pretending, really. I pretended I had enough energy to move the both of us. He kept coming up with stories as to why today was to be an exceptionally bad day at school, and I enthusiastically told him stories where he was the hero that had to fight back, withstand, etc. I even used a bible story.

   The witch of Ein-Dor had King Saul come to her one time, only to have to give him very bad news. After being told he was to lose in the coming battle with the Philistines and, I think, lose his life as well, he had all my son’s symptoms plus some. But the witch, one of those great female roles the bible comes up with, told him he had to go, that he was the king and he just had to finish what he started.

   I told my son he was a king, which made him smile and enabled us to start on the journey to school, me being very “up” the whole way. When we had reached close enough to school he let me go home so I don’t embarrass him in front of the other kids. I was glad, thinking I had safely ensconced my treasure and will not get it back before noon, but my kid, as I said, has days when he just can’t come to terms with being a pupil and all it entails, not withstanding even the invocation of a king.

   He says he started calling at 10:00. He finally found me at 11:00 and gave me a quarter of an hour tops to come and get him. Frankly, tomorrow I’m not even going to start with the process…

אז מותר בסוף לחייך?

אחרי שכל כך התפעלתי מ"חלומו של הכוזרי" אני מנסה עכשיו את "הנאום האחרון של משה" (מיכה גודמן, הוצאת "דביר", 2014; עכשיו בהנחה ב'סטמצקי'.) אני מאד מזדהה עם חלק מהדברים הנאמרים. בעמ' 151 למשל, גודמן עורך השוואה בין היחס לכסף בנצרות, או באופן ספציפי היחס לכסף בסיפורו של פרנציסקוס הקדוש, לבין היחס לכסף ביהדות כפי שהוא מתבטא בספר "דברים". "הנאום האחרון של משה" עוסק בעיקר בספר "דברים".

"גם ספר דברים עוסק בהשפעה המשחיתה של עושר ועוצמה. גם ספר דברים מסביר שעושר ועוצמה עלולים לשנות לרעה את מי שזוכה בהם. הם עלולים לשבש את דעתם, לגרום להם לפרש בצורה שגויה את מקומם ומעמדם בעולם. אך המענה של ספר דברים לבעיה הזאת אינו בקריאה להתנזרות מעושר ומעוצמה. התורה… מנסה לייסד חברה שבה בני אדם זוכים בכוח, אבל הכוח אינו משנה אותם לרעה; זוכים בהצלחה כלכלית, אבל ההצלחה אינה מסאבת את אישיותם."

אני מסכימה לגמרי. מה שיפה בתורה הוא שהיא לא עושה דלגיטימציה של כוח, בין אם זה כסף או כל כוח אחר. אם יש לך כוח – יופי! אבל תיזהר לך לא לעשות שימוש ברעה בכוח. "כי עבד הייתי בארץ מצרים" נאמר שוב ושוב ושוב. היזהר עם המיעוטים, עם החלשים, עם האלמנות והיתומים. מסר כל כך רלוונטי בתקופה בה כל הזמן מנסים להגיד לנו שהכוח משחיט. יש כאן ניואנס: הכוח עלול להשחיט, הוא לא בהכרח משחיט.

התורה שמשה מעביר לעם שלו היא יומרנית מאד. "ביחס לעולם האלילי, המהפכה הדתית של ספר דברים היא אמביציוזית בצורה יוצאת דופן,"  מסביר גודמן (עמ' 174) והוא מפרט את מרכיבי המהפכה: "שני רעיונות מרכזיים חדשים הופיעו בנאום של משה: … צמצום חשיבותו של המקדש ו…הגבלת כוחה של המלוכה" (עמ' 189).

בראש שלי אני מיד קופצת לרעיון הפילוסופי שאני מאמינה שנמצא בבסיס המהפכה הזו, קרי האמונה שאני מקישה שמשה מביע כאן, ביכולתו של עם ישראל לשמור על איזון. מצד אחד לקחת אחריות ולצבור כוח, כי כשאתה לוקח אחריות אתה באופן טבעי מתחזק, ומצד שני לשמור לא להשתמש בכוח הזה לרעה.

אבל מיד אחרי זה מתברר שאני טועה. "משה לא מאמין בעם שלו. הוא לא מאמין שהעם מסוגל להיכנס לכנען ולעמוד בפיתוי התרבותי המקומי. לכן צריך לסלק את הפיתוי," אומר גודמן (עמ 175). זהו, שזכרתי ש"דברים" הוא לא ספר נחמד. כל המלחמה הנוראית שיש לנו בתנ"ך נגד עובדי אלילים, כולל ישראלים עובדי אלילים, גודמן מסביר, היא מתוך פחד.

משה, לפי גודמן, מבין שהפרויקט שלו "כמעט בלתי אפשרי", אז הדרך שלו להתמודד עם המפגש הצפוי בין הישראלים לכנענים היא לצוות על השמדתם של אלה האחרונים. גודמן עצמו מזדעזע מהעניין הזה. "המצווה להרוג את יושבי הארץ מזעזעת רבים מהקוראים המודרניים ובהם גם אני…" אחר כך הוא נותן סיפור קצר תחת הכותרת 'לחיות עם המבוכה' (עמ' 180-1). התנ"ך נכתב בתקופה אחרת, עם עולם ערכים אחר. פה ושם מנצנצים רעיונות שטרם הגיע זמנם, או – ואני מסכימה עם גודמן – אולי עכשיו סוף סוף הגיע זמנם. אבל במקביל יש שם הרבה רעיונות שהם מפעם.

פעם אחת, הוא מספר, הוא הלך לבית כנסת לחגוג פורים. יצא לו לשבת ליד פרופסור ידוע שהוא מיד בהתיישבו בירך ב"חג שמח". הפרופסור פנה אליו ואמר ש"פורים אינו חג שמח. אנחנו חוגגים היום אלימות יהודית." ובאמת גודמן שם לב, לקראת סוף המגילה מתוארת התפרצות אלימה של יהודים כלפי שכניהם הגויים.

"אבל הכל היה בגדר הגנה עצמית," אמר גודמן לשכנו הפרופסור. הפרופ' הזכיר לגודמן שאחרי שהותר להם להרוג את הגויים שביקשו להורגם, נתן להם המלך יום נוסף לטבוח בגויים. ליום הנוסף הזה אין הצדקה מוסרית. לא היה לגודמן מה להגיד והוא השתתק. בסוף העז לשאול את הפרופסור למה בעצם הוא בא לבית הכנסת לחגוג, אם הוא מתייסר כל כך.

ענה לו הפרופסור שלשם כך בדיוק הוא בא, כדי לשבת בבית הכנסת ולהתייסר. אבל הוא חייך כשהוא אמר את זה. זהו, שמה שהרגשתי בספר של גודמן זה שכפי הנראה מותר בכל זאת לחייך.

A Lazy-bum’s Weekend

   S’ is spending the weekend with his father and I, as usual, experience a psychedelic-like change in the nature of time. Whereas normally I am rushing from one strict dead-line to the next, with the most annoying one being the daily rush to get S’ up and ready to go to school, I am now sucked into a kind of happy limbo. I do not answer phones, I just wander the mesmerizing and colorful streets.

   The Dizingoff square market is open on Tuesdays between 11:00-21:00 but when I come it’s in that precious limbo-time I have on Fridays (07:00-16:00). I make my way from King George street, where the bus stops. There is a really happy atmosphere in those small streets leading to the big Dizzingoff roundabout. One café has people sitting on a large mat in the yard, and I can identify a guy in love with the girl sitting next to him.

   This is so cute. I am into taking photos now with my new phone, but some things you just can’t snap. It happens too quickly and its private. He’s in love! He is sitting next to the girl he likes best in the world! Everything is fine!!

   Then I arrive at the square on the side of the market where they sell old clothes, shoes and bags. I have plans to buy myself a thin scarf because I love scarves and hats, and I want a new scarf to tie around my wide rimmed hat, but the energies are all wrong for this. I can’t seem to focus and when I do finally focus on something it turns out to be a dress usually worn by elderly ladies trying to obliterate the shape of their body. It’s baggy. I don’t know what drew me to it in the first place…

   So I go up the stairs to the centre bit with the stupid Agam fountain. It’s ok to say it’s stupid now, right? Because the Tel-Aviv Municipality finally decided to lower the elevated middle part of the roundabout. But no!! I just realized we might still meet this stupid “statue” even after the roundabout is put back down on the ground. OMG. I’ve met Agam himself once and I can’t see anybody getting rid of his statue while he is still with us.

   I pass right next to the disaster, but I’m really exaggerating. It is, of course, a disaster from any moderately educated person’s point of view, but the sun is out and it’s a nice, mellow winter sun that nobody, but nobody, can resist! People are shining. They don’t even know it but they are absorbing stuff that’s good for them, and they cannot help but put out something that is accepting of others. I love Tel-Aviv on these Fridays, really!

   Then I go down the stairs to the other part of the market, which is right next to the Cinema. I go straight to a shop where they sell all kinds of juice and buy myself a carrot juice, which is really nice and sweet. Is this carrot season, I wonder? And now, I am finally free to look at stuff, or Shmontses, which is Yiddish for stuff.

Tel-Aviv Market 1

   I find that when I go wandering this way I need to have a focus, that is a specific place or several places I am aiming to reach. After I decide about this place or places I just let inspiration guide me as to the details. I wasn’t really inspired to buy anything but I took these pictures. Lots of people were milling about, all kinds of people from different echelons of society, although it’s probably wrong to even use that word when referring to Israelis, since we don’t really have echelons or anything graded at all.

   It’s like reading a while back someone pompous writing about that famous “corporate ladder” which you are supposed to climb up in order to reach those favoured upper echelons; ignoring the fact so many jobs don’t have any ladder incorporated into them. “Hello there, mister! We’re all down here if you’re looking for us.” Although with us Israelis it could be the other way around too: “Hey, look up! We’ve just flown off your ladder and landed up here, if you can crane your neck back to see us!”

   As an Israeli, I don’t think we do ladders much. But leaving that alone, I then proceeded to the Dizingoff Centre, with no particular reason except that it was on the way to “Haozen”, that wonderful store with CD’s both audio and video. I love that store and intended to get there finally, but, as I’ve mentioned, Dizingoff Centre stood between us.


   I think of Dizingoff Centre as a very authentic urban experience, in that it had completely and coherently translated the experience of walking out in nature into urban terms. First there is the fact you are, of course, in a mall rather than outdoors. Then there are the slippery slopes of nature translated into those long open curvy corridors going gradually up.

   And I particularly like all those intrinsically urban surprises you bump into on the way, such as that magazine stand I accidently bumped into after making a turn somewhere. But on Fridays the place also serves as an open food market. The ground floor of the northern part of the Centre is filled with stalls selling food for lazy bums who wish to avoid, circumvent and zap out entirely the traditional custom of working to earn your day of rest.

   Stalls selling traditional ‘Hammin’ stand, as the saying goes, side by side with those selling dim-sum and South American filled pastries. It’s really a delight. The whole thing is buzzing with life, but I am not even focused enough to decide what I want to sample. This is ridiculous. The whole place is filled with food, there’s an empty space in my stomach and I just can’t do it, can’t make a choice.

   This is what I use the weekends when S’ is away for, I use them in order not to decide. A friend calls and I don’t call her back just so I don’t have to make an appointment with her and stick to it. I want to drift, I want to be able to foster the illusion that I am free to do what I want and go where I want to. At least for now.

   On the way here I sat in a book store and while going through two books, made up a possible scenario where the bloke sitting not far from me with a book of his own would ask me out and we would actually spend this weekend together, unbeknownst to any of my loved ones. A very 1970’s fantasy which I enjoyed having.

   So that’s why I didn’t call my friend back. But now all this leaving-my-options-open stance was leaving me hungry as well. I avoided various calls and pleas by food stall owners and arrived, via the underground passage at the Southern part of the Centre where a professional salesperson finally made me commit to buying myself some yogurt. This turned out to be a very wise choice. I enjoyed my yogurt and granola very much and felt almost tearfully thankful to the extremely young attendants (one of them, a petite girl, wearing big black boots) for anchoring me in this way.

   I had an overflow of feelings and thought that I’d take some photos of these wonderful young men and women, but some things are too private and fleeting to photo.

קוראת פרוֹיד

 The Sigmund Freud .Museum,  Vienna  Sigmund Freud is pictured in his working room in 1938

The Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna. Sigmund Freud is pictured in his working room in 1938

אני עושה את הלא יאומן וקוראת עכשיו את פרויד. לא, באמת. כי אני בן-אדם משכיל. לא, זאת לא הסיבה. אני סמי-משכילה אבל לא זו הסיבה. הסיבה האמיתית היא שאני מרגישה שזה לא יכול להיות שזה שם וזה לא מתחבר לחיים שלי בשום צורה.

הלכתי פעם לפסיכולוגית, לפני שנים. כלומר, אני מבקרת לפעמים אצל הפסיכולוגית של בית הספר של ס' אבל זה לא נחשב. אני מדברת על טיפול פסיכולוגי מסודר. אז הלכתי לפני שנים, ולא אהבתי. לא חשבתי שהיא עזרה לי במיוחד. היא היתה נחמדה ואינטלגנטית והיה לי מעניין איתה, אבל גם עשיתי איתה את מה שבפסיכולוגיה מכנים 'העברה'. קרי, העברתי אליה את תפקיד האמא והתנהגתי בהתאם.

אם ביום-יום ההתייחסות שלי אל אמא שלי היתה כאל מי שצריך לבדר אותה ולדאוג שהיא לא תאבד עניין, כך היה גם עם הפסיכולוגית. דאגתי להיות משעשעת ולא כבדה מידי. הייתי כמו בשיר של טיילור סוויפט, כשהיא מתארת איך היא מבררת מה בן הזוג הזמני שלה רוצה, והופכת להיות האשה האידיאלית שלו לחודש ימים. במקרה שלי זה היה ליותר מחודש.

נו טוב. לא התאים לי. אבל עכשיו, שנים אחרי, אני חוזרת אל פרויד כדי לנסות לברר מה הוא רצה. אולי לא הבינו אותו, אולי לא יישמו נכון את מה שהוא התכוון. "פשר החלומות" (תרגום מצויין של מ. ברכיהו, הוצאת יבנה, 1998) הוא אחד הספרים הכי פופולאריים של פרויד, מן הסתם כי הוא מתאר הרבה מאד חלומות, וחלום הוא חומר ספרותי מעניין.

גם אותי מעניינים החלומות שפרויד מתאר, במיוחד את אלו שלו עצמו. באופן אישי אני לא זוכרת את החלומות שלי ואני גם לא בטוחה שאני צריכה אותם במיוחד. זה לא מידע שנורא חשוב לי לדעת. אני מעדיפה פשוט לדעת מה קרה לי בגלגולים קודמים. אבל בגלל פרויד, או בזכותו, חלומות נחשבים לחומר חשוב ומועיל לשם הכרת העצמי. זכרונות מגלגולים קודמים, לעומת זאת, לא נחשבים בכלל.

פעם אמרתי לפסיכיאטרית אחת שאני מנסה לכתוב על הגלגולים הקודמים שלי אז היא אמרה שאני "לא רצינית". אני בטוחה שהיא היתה קשוחה מאד בהבנה שלה של מה שמכובד ורציני גם בגלגול הקודם שלה. למעשה אני מדמיינת שאני רואה אותה עומדת, זקופה ובלתי ניתנת לכיפוף, מעל תלמידיה הרכים. אני לא אתפלא אם היא גם הרביצה להם במקל.

אבל לא משנה. אני סוטה לגמרי מכל נושא אפשרי. פרויד היה גמיש להפליא; למעשה התפעלתי מהגמישות הרבה שהוא מראה ביחס לכל הנושא. כנראה בגלל המוניטין שלו כפטריארך הגדול של מדע הפסיכיאטריה ציפיתי להיצמדות חזקה יותר למבנה. גיליתי אצלו הרבה גמישות, הרבה נסיונות להתאים את עצמו למידע שהפציינט נותן על עצמו. במיוחד נגעה לליבי ההתנצלות שלו לגבי מה שהתגלה עליו עצמו בעקבות ניתוח החלומות שלו. עורר אצלי הזדהות הצורך שלו למצוא חן בעיננו, הקוראים הפוטנציאליים. גם אני כזו.

פרויד כתב כל מיני ספרים, לא רק כאלו שיכולים להיכנס תחת הכותרת "פסיכיאטריה". אני זוכרת למשל שקראתי את "משה והמונוטאיזם" שלו, שם הוא מסביר שהסיבה לכך שהדיברה הראשונה כוללת את ההוראה "לא תעשה לך פסל ומסיכה" היא כדי שלא יהיה מודל לחיקוי. הנוצרים, לשם השוואה, ציירו ופיסלו את ישו אינספור פעמים, וישו אכן מוצג כמודל חיקוי. הנוצרים מקשרים טוּב עם התכונות המיוחסות לישו, כמו חמלה, צנעה ונתינה.

אני לגמרי מסכימה עם פרויד כמובן, אם זה מעניין מישהו. היהדות מיוחדת בזה שהיא אינה מספקת מודל ויהודים נדרשים להמציא את עצמם. אבל מה שחשוב לי להגיד הוא שפרויד היה בן אדם מעניין ורב פנים, סופר פורה בעל תחומי עניין מרובים. זהו, בסדר?

!Absolutely Normal

I don’t usually walk my son to school but I had an appointment with the school psychologist this morning. We were going to hash out my son’s relations with his new home-class teacher. Besides, I think we like talking to each other, so we have these occasional conversations.

The streets were surprisingly empty. I thought maybe they changed from winter-time to summer-time and no one bothered to tell me. But this is heavy winter. It’s raining, it’s cold. Then I thought that maybe that is the reason. Less kids go to school when it rains. Then I stopped thinking about it.

My son was in a hurry. He doesn’t like being late, so he galloped along before me and disappeared from view. Then, at the school gates, I remembered the real reason there were so few kids, parents, etc. The gunner was still on the loose. It clear escaped my memory. The one that killed two and wounded several two days ago, was lurking somewhere.

Later a friend called and tried to say this was difficult, that these were ‘difficult times’ but I just couldn’t continue with that sort of conversation. I love her dearly but one never talks this way in real time. You wait till later, till the crazy with the gun has been found. You definitely don’t talk about it with your son nearby.

The school psychologist was of the same mind. It never occurred to her to talk about the gunman. We enjoyed ourselves a little, each of us playing her usual role. She is the school official who can afford to have the widest perspective possible of what my son’s school life should look like. I play, as usual, the subversive who is trying to make her, the figure of authority, loosen up a little. Then there was a phone call.

I took the call despite it being impolite. I said something about my mother having problems with her eye but that wasn’t it. It was more to do with curiosity. There is a terrorist on the loose: bring on the bad news! But the call was from the room next door. The new home class teacher said my son was reluctant to stay in school. We brought the kid into the room with us.

He loves the attention. The psychologist focused on him and he loved it. It turned out half the kids never arrived and they put the remnants of two classes together, all this without explaining. He couldn’t figure out why he was supposed to be at school if the others weren’t. None of the kids he likes came.

There is this girl I hear of, who has semi-mythical powers. She is, if I got my facts correct, building a super-computer. On the sly. At home. My son communicates with her telepathically. According to his report she says she is using the loose terrorist as an excuse to stay at home and work on her masterpiece.

I never know if to believe what I hear about this girl, I don’t know if to believe the telepathy either, but we are careful to hide the incriminating evidence from the psychologist. While in front of this very amiable school official we refer to this girl and others by their regular names and keep out all the suspicious evidence. We are on a mission to seem absolutely normal, and we do!

Another mission is to make my son appear to have many friendships and friends. The new, notorious, home class teacher says he is alone most of the time, talking only to adult staff. It goes like this: she tells me he doesn’t have friends. Then he starts a campaign to appear very sociable and nice, approaching school staff at random, talking to them about this and that.

“Very charming kid,” the educational consultant said. “Definitely has a lot to say!” Then the new teacher is even more justified in thinking he doesn’t have friends.

Later on it appears the new teacher dislikes my son’s telepathic girl friend as well. She too, says the new teacher, doesn’t have any friends. This is complete nonsense. Last year I accompanied the class to a special activity they had outside the school, to do with learning how to be careful on the road. At lunch break this ultra-intelligent girl sat down with about 10 others girls, who were careful to follow her every cue. Not only is she not friendless, she is a leader.

But my son says she too is now on a mission to prove to the new teacher she has friends, taking selfies with all and sundry. He even heard, he says, the new teacher tell the headmistress this girl doesn’t belong at the school since she has no friends there. This is so infuriatingly stupid I am upset.

“Well, it’s better than her telling the headmistress it is I who doesn’t belong at school,” he consoles me.