2122 He’s not here

It’s Easter and I think about Israel. The sweet pain of a distant past. Jesus’ suffering does not end at the cross but continues to the empty tomb. I’m watching it with some other volunteers from Kibbutz Lahav. It is 1977. We are taking a trip to Jerusalem. We walk along the Western Wall and take off our shoes for a visit to the Dome of the Rock. Was it not the threshing floor of Arauna on which first the temple and now this mosque has been built? We go to Golgotha, the skull site, and I literally feel like I’m walking on a skull, with the hollow eyes staring at me.

Downstairs is the Egged bus station. The story plays in the real world with the smell of diesel and the noise of the great city of Jerusalem. Then we walk to the empty grave: He is not here, for he has risen, it says on the wall. Jon looks inside the grave for a moment to convince himself: “What are we doing here, if he’s not there?” He asks. We get back into our van and drive out of Jerusalem. We drive slowly up a mountain road, the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people, I remember. The whole Bible falls into place here in reality, as if I am walking through a book that I have read.

We go to Tel Aviv, shop on Dizengov. I buy an LP from Chava Alberstein: Eliezer Ben Yehuda, her melancholic voice will comfort me for years and bring me back to the sweet time of dining room and bomb shelter, swimming pool and Hebrew lessons, dishwashing and dance classes. Lama lo, why not? I let myself dream with Matti Caspi, Kol chohè ha laila, a green LP with a doorbell, which I bought a year later in Beersheva and which I have also turned gray in the past 43 years. I must go back again. That’s just the way it is. Back one more time and then on. Feeling the warm welcome from Ben Gurion Airport one more time and then away. He’s not here. He is gone. Laila tov.

Ate O. Vegter, April 4, 2021

Another piece? Time flies:


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