Sunday, June 15, 2008

day 04 and 05 - The first Shabbat

I slept in Tel Aviv and woke up pretty early. Time to go to the beach!!
Stupidly enought I did not bring my bathing trunks, so it was just restricted to walking and looking.
It was easy to get directions to the beach and after some 45 minutes of walking: the sea!!!
The beach in Tel Aviv reminds me of Barra da Tijuca in Rio, which everyone sais is similar to Miami. Tall modern buildings, a large avenue by the beach, a large path for bicycles, lots of jogging and, of course, cycling, lots of people at the beach (even though it was a working day), retired people sitting in the shaded areas, and everything else one can imagine by a lovely beach.
The weather was cloudlessly sunny, I had my earphones on. They really block out the surrounding noise so there was a mixture of crazy music, walking, heat and sun. I sat down after some time to look (looking is permitted) at the young and beautiful ladies who were walking up and down.
After an hour or two it got boring, it was time to go back to Jerusalem for the Shabbat.
I had purposely not visited the western wall in order to keep that moment for the Shabbat. The Lonely Planet book and logic state that this is an unmissable event in Jerusalem.
My first Shabbat as an observant in th Holy Land.
It was not dissapointing, the vibe there is undescribable. What came to mind is the intensity of the warming up for the Samba Schools in the Rio carnival parade, but in an un-sexy way of course...
There is no coordination in the praying, there are several groups praying with the same intensity in defferent areas. The guys really go for it, very serious stuff... There are also the laymen like myself who just go to the wall and say their prayers as honestly as they can, but they are obviously amateurs. By the wall there is an entrance to a hall, the intensity there is the same.
One can help but getting carried away. There is a special thing to the Shabbat there. Obviously in the days of the Temple the cerimony, the dressing, the singing were different but there is a direct line to that era in one way or another. These guys are one hundred percent devouted to G-d. I respect that although I can't help the feeling that there is something missing somewhere in that crowd, don't ask me to tell you what.. I don't know.
At the end of the ceremonies (one could not say it was one) there was a lot of dancing and singing. Obviously men and women are separated by a fence and the dancing goes on independantly.
I was hoping to be invited to a Shabbat dinner by one of the Ultra Orthodox there, which apparently is a common thing, but unfortunately this did not happen, next week I'll try to get there earlier.
The next day was pretty much uneventful, almost everything closes in Jerusalem on a Saturday so it was time to study some material the company gave me. My work starts tomorrow and I am looking forward to it.

7 comments:

Joe said...

Uh oh!

Do I detect a bout of Jerusalem syndrome coming on?!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_syndrome

;-)

-Joe

Richard in the Holy Land said...

Looooooollllll... That doesn't happen to Jews... perhaps I'll get the moshiah syndrome!!!

Joe said...

from Wikipedia:

The Jerusalem syndrome is the name given to a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences, that are triggered by, or lead to, a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination, but has affected Jews and Christians of many different backgrounds.

Richard in the Holy Land said...

Oh shoot... You've got me worried there... I think it hasn't got me yet, but please warn me if it becomes too apparent.

Esther said...

Aí Ricão,
Here are a few symptoms you must check on to make sure that the Jerusalem syndrom is not getting at you:
- is your hair growing longer behind your ears than the rest of your head?
- Are you dressing like King Solomon?
- Have you quit playing the guitar and switched to the harp?
- Is the Roman army after you?
- Is there a large hole in the middle of your sheet?
Oi vey...

Esther said...

About your comment:"I can't help the feeling that there is something missing somewhere in that crowd, don't ask me to tell you what.. I don't know."

Achei interessante a sua observação: quem sabe, alguns dos devotos estão mais ligados à forma do que ao coração?

Richard in the Holy Land said...

Mana,
Eu acho que o problema nao eh ai. A sinceridade e a devocao sao coisas inquestionaveis nos caras que estao ali todos os dias com uma ligacao direta aos mandamentos.
A Torah eh bem explicita na reza mais importante do Judaismo, o "Shema", para que o povo nao siga o coracao mas os mandamentos para que eles continuem a viver na terra que eles receberam.
Eu acho que o problema eh mais na conexao entre os dias em que o templo existia e os dias de hoje, ou seja, eles estacionaram na Idade Media.