Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

Arik, and the Israel that Once Was

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Arik Einstein, chose his songs carefully, but more important to me were the lyrics of his personal experience that, exemplified the particular experience of an Israeli so attached to the land, but so far removed from her religious origins. While admiring the beaches of San Francisco, he yearned for the sites and smells of home. Bewildered by his beloved friend’s sudden attraction to a world so foreign, yet so close, he shared his feeling of being abandoned. הוא חזר בתשובה, עכשיו הוא לומד תורה, He returned and repented, and now he learns Torah… All of Israel witnessed Uri Zohar, the hippest of Israelis, become Reb Uri before their eyes. For most, it was something about which to gossip, but for Arik it was a personal tragedy. Irony of ironies, the whole country witnessed Arik’s newly religious daughter marry Reb Uri’s son. When asked to sing at the wedding, Arik politely declined, only saying that he was “singing in his heart”.

The whole of Israel boasts the intimacy of a small town from which many wish to escape but miss as soon as they do. At the time of Arik’s passing Shlomo Artzi was performing. When he heard the news, he was dumb struck.  Finally, the crowd in solidarity with the shocking news began singing one of Shlomo’s classic songs, “Where is there a person like this one who was like the weeping willows…” After a moment, Shlomo joined with the band in song. It was a classic expression, uniquely so, of the old new Jews of Israel consoling each other from such a poignant loss.

Watching that clip on Youtube brought me back to a time that once was, but now seems so far away.

Like you in San Francisco, we are reminded of what we’re missing. So long Arik.

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