I keep waking at four a.m. and frankly a lot of my life is now tinged in four a.m.- colored haze. It's not unusual to be sleepless and on edge in Tel Aviv-Yafo. No wonder someone here led the way to honoring the Sabbath four thousand years ago, whether it was the matriarch Sarah, a nameless Assyrian, or King Sargon of Akkad who conquered much of the region and kept his empire intact for fifty-six years.
Dusk will come soon. Before they closed their shops for Sabbath, I made it to a blond Russian seamstress who speaks no English but we both know the universal gesture for "please let out this secondhand dress in the bust, so I can wear it." Sitting near her was an older man who runs the veggie stand next door. His stand was already shut. He wore his Kippah as usual, but he was spiffed up in a clean ironed shirt, and he seemed almost to shine like the blue stone he wore on a thong at his neck. He sat there, looking at the seamstress with a sort of hunger.
After being with them, I went to the SuperSol grocery and tried to figure out which item was yogurt. Then I went to a spice shop. The spice guy's assistant was scarfing down raisins and nuts on the sly - he looked hungry as well.
After this I sat on the umber sidewalk tile which was warm from the sun. I listened to birdsong and traffic. I watched palm fronds and zinnias. I remembered visiting the grave of a two thousand year old Tzaddik, a Rabbi who died two thousand years ago but his spirit is said to be able to lift the veil between worlds. Supposedly he still helps the troubled find peace. There did seem to be something special in that place, some lingering ancient presence.
This region could be heaven on earth. Maybe if the warmongers and inciters of hate were no longer given weapons and funding, our tribes could find compassion for one another. Maybe even trust. So much energy is wasted by the human urges to hate and get revenge.
I feel helpless to change any of this. I'm still reeling from being romantically sucker-punched, so I can barely handle the angst in my own tiny little life. I can barely sleep, though I did recently get emotional support in the form of an Artist's Grant. A committee read some of my still-unpublished first novel and decided I was "an exceptional" talent."
I only know that I wish peace for one and all, near and far, now and forever. And I wish peace for myself.