Sunday, April 8, 2012
It is the morning after Passover and I am waking up with this song in my head:
והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו, שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותינו
אלא שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותינו, והקב"ה מצילנו מידם
And I’m singing it as I get out of bed, without giving much attention to the words, admiring my voice and my audacity to sing without a worry in my heart so early in the morning.
After all, I’ve been singing this song on Passover since I don’t know when. And during my homemade Seder with a bunch of goyims friends who know nothing about this passover thing (unless they saw the movie), I sang it too, after telling everybody how much I liked that song.
And suddenly, out of nowhere, it hit me. What a crazy song this is. Am I really saying this crazy stuff out loud and my brain is not short-circuiting when it notices the words? What type of person can wake up in the morning singing something like that and stay cheerful afterwards? Go have breakfast and look for the rest of the day with some sort of normalcy? This is not possible. Some molecules inside me must respond to the message even if the conscious me is not aware of it, because these words do have meaning, even if the meaning does not sink in.
And then another thought occurred to me: that all these years that I was singing these words in Hebrew I never gave them much attention.
But this Passover, I noticed the translation, and for the first time I realized the craziness of the stuff I was singing to my unsuspecting subconscious without ever checking in how this song affected it, and consequently, me.
Here is my translation of the song:
This is what sustained our ancestors and us. For it was not only one [enemy] who intended to annihilate us; but in every generation there are those who intend to annihilate us. And the Holy One blessed be He, saves us from their hands.
I don’t know about you people, but I finally understand Jewish paranoia. Every year I mouth this stuff without ever registering the words. But they must stay somewhere in the brain. So how do you expect me to be in this world and not be on guard every minute trying to detect who intends to annihilate me?
I don’t want to think like this. I don’t want to indulge my unconscious in this paranoia and fear. I want to free myself from this paranoid attachment to doom's day or the salvation from it.
Furthermore, counting on the Blessed Be He is the last thing I want to do. I’ve seen the lousy job he had done saving my ancestors from bullish goyims.
I think it is time to rewrite the songs and the stories we tell at Passover, or we are doomed to indulge in this paranoia until the end of our days.
I, for one, am going to think about new ways to do this Passover without harassing my subconscious, who has enough to deal with without worrying about unnamed goyims who want to annihilate me.