Tuesday the Rabbi Was Not A Friar: When Sirens Sound Across Israel

This morning was one of those mornings I dread living in Israel because I had given in to my wife’s demand that it was my turn to take the car to the garage and get it fixed. This is always the moment of truth when I know the essence of my manhood will be tested. A virtual auto motive Akedah (the binding of Isaac) if you will…. where I am forced to go up a mountain in Jerusalem (actually Talpiot where all the garages are) and hand myself over as an offering-  if not an actual sacrifice to my auto mechanic -Amnon. I am not mechanical and never will be…hey, I from Woodmere, Long Island. And any time men get together to talk about power tools or automotive matters …I try to switch the conversation to an interesting and sensitive midrash. Now when I was living in the States it was bad enough, but here with my fellow Jews speaking in the holy tongue of Hebrew  …it brings up my issues about actually living up to the Zionist dream. Here in Israel is where we were supposed to be workers of the land, here we were going to take the Jew out of the exile and the exile out of the Jew. And here I am a supposed to be a Gever (the Hebrew word for a man’s man). But as soon as I arrive at my mechanic, I never know what he is talking about and I just cannot help but flash that sign on my face that says “deer in the head lights” or in Israeli terms FRIAR! A FRIAR is the last thing that anyone wants to be in Israel, A FRIAR is somebody’s sucker or in this case – paying way more than you actually should. The Israeli national pastime is to prove why everyone else is a FRIAR and that you are in fact no one’s FRIAR. But when my mechanic Amnon told me that I needed a boxer  to change my joont….my goose was cooked and it was clear that I had no idea what he was talking about. Apparently he was telling me that I needed a special wrench to take off the wheel of my car so it could be fixed. What language was this? Boxer…….Joont they didn’t teach me these words when I studied at Hebrew Union College. And then I was sent all over the city to find his buddy “YiItzhak the Tire Guy” who really has the tools to fix it. And the whole time that I am racing around Jerusalem, I am determined that when I get to Yitzhak’s I will come off as a Gever (a man’s man) and more important not as a FRIAR (a sucker, a patsy, etc..)!   

So I arrive at Yitzhak’s Tire place all puffed up ready to present my automotive challenge when a siren goes off in Jerusalem (and around the country). And then I remembered that this was the morning that everyone has to go through a test run in case Iran decides to fire Inter Continental Ballistic missiles at us. I also made a mental note that we made sure to tell our kids (ages 15, 12 and 9) that there was going to be a drill today and not a real war. A few months ago during the War in Gaza, the siren in Jerusalem actually went off by mistake and my children went running in a panic down to the bomb shelter in their school. These experiences are not without their emotional and psychological impact. And so while I am racing all around Jerusalem intent on not being anyone’s FRIAR, the Jewish State was simply trying to make sure- we won’t FRY.  




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