In HIS Image and Likeness

My father was a very good provider while we were growing up.

He made sure there was more than enough to meet everyone’s material needs.

Up until college, we were all educated in the best schools.

In marriage, he provided each and everyone of us with a home to live in.

I do not recall any of my material needs ever compromised due of his lack of providing.


My father is now 90 and to this day I live a very comfortable life because of him.

I am eternally grateful.

This is the image and likeness of goodness and generosity I grew up with.

It took me a while to understand my mother’s angst.

I often wondered where her unhappiness stemmed from.


My father was a hard worker and a dedicated provider.

As a child I understood that was all it took to be a good man.

I could not see my mother’s loneliness.

She craved for nurturing and conversation.

She wanted so desperately to have rapport with someone.


My mother was desperately lonely.

She took very good care of us and the home but she was all alone in her marriage.

I, unfortunately did not fare well in my own marriage.

I guess I didn’t have the right role models to look up to.

No regrets, no blame, just stating a fact of realization.


I have come to realize that HE too is the likeness and image of my father.

HE came into my life with a grand and generous plan.

A material plan that consisted of a home and all the comforts money could buy.

Naturally, I thought I had won the lottery and love was on my side.

Until the cracks began to show.


The initial rapport turned into silence.

One day out of the blue, it just became less and less.

HIS presence faded so quickly, the only thing lacking was an obituary.

One moment HE saved my day and the next HE was absent.  

Not gone, just not available.


Still I loved HIM like I love my father.

I was in awe with HIS generosity of wealth because growing up it was my security.

HE no doubt, would have provided the best for my girls too.

But I think in the end, I too would have become a spitting image and likeness of my mother.

Lonely and alone in a home filled with material possessions.


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There are More Things in Heaven and Earth...

There has been much news coverage, during the past week, of the experimental Mars probe, Schiaparelli, which is now suspected to have exploded upon landing on Mars.  No doubt, in time, another spacecraft will be sent to the Red Planet with the purpose of investigating whether there has ever been, or currently is, life there.  Personally, I fail to see how this astronomically high expense can be justified, given the lack of funds alleged by our various governments to tackle the pressing problems on this, the Blue Planet.  But that's an issue apart.  Listening to various scientists speculating about whether or not there is life on Mars made me wonder – how would we know for sure?


If the sophisticated machines show that there is life on Mars, then I suppose the proof will be irrefutable.  If, however, they find no evidence of life, how could we be 100% certain that these findings are accurate and true, in other words, that they correspond to actual reality? I can't see how lack of evidence can possibly be considered as proof either way.


It's been widely observed that animals exhibit unusual behaviour and sometimes even flee before an earthquake.  I don't mean domestic animals, of course, many of whom have been overbred to serve and depend on us to the point where they have lost many of their survival instincts (once, as a teenager, I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt my bed being jolted and saw a couple of books fall off the shelf, while my dog, curled up at my feet, was fast asleep, snoring away).  How do these animals know there's an impending earthquake when human machines are unable to predict them? One can deduce that they possess a way of sensing them either through glands or other perception organs that are more refined and sophisticated than human-made machines.


In medicine, successful experiments have recently been conducted with dogs and cancer detection.  It appears that dogs can "sniff" certain cancers with an accuracy rate of over 90%.  This suggests that their senses are far more developed that those of humans.  Many pet owners will have observed that their cats and dogs know instinctively which grass or herbs to eat in the field when they are ill.  Most humans are not so in tune with their own bodies and require a doctor to tell them what to eat or not eat.  One could say that the authority of technology and science has bred instinct out of us, too.


My cat, Genie, knew when I was coming home despite my erratic working hours.  I'm told that about twenty minutes before I arrived, she would go and lie by the door, thus announcing to anyone at home that I was on my way.  How did she know? Do you sense when your spouse/partner/flatmate is about to come home?


There are countless examples of cases where animals are aware of realities we, humans, are not, which goes to prove the limits of our perception of the world.


*   *   *

Humans have manufactured technologies, machines, tests and probes that are supposed to reveal more than our senses can, especially in the field of medicine.  The purpose of a blood test, scan and X-ray is to detect what is, we believe, undetectable by our five senses.  Machines have been known to show more sensitivity than humans.  I remember one particular instance where my own experience showed this to be true.  When we were living in France, a nightingale sang on the hill outside our balcony every morning at about 4 a.m.  One day, my mother got up and tried recording the bird's song on her National Panasonic cassette player.  When we tried listening to it over breakfast we couldn't hear the nightingale over the numerous rustling, humming and clicking sounds made by the other creatures of the night, which our ears were unable to pick up.


Still, I think it's a fair assumption that we can only manufacture machines that our imagination allows us to manufacture.  After all, we cannot make what we cannot imagine to be possible.  By extension, our imagination is limited by our sensory perception, since it is the latter that informs us of the reality that surrounds us.  Therefore, the same way as, being someone with "bat ears", I can hear distant sounds people around me generally can't, our knowledge of reality is made possible, and consequently also limited, by what we or our machines – designed within the span of our sensory abilities – can perceive. Just because we can't see, hear, smell or touch something is not sufficient proof that it doesn't exist.

*   *   *

On occasion, when the topic has arisen, I have been challenged by atheists to prove that there is a God.  I can't.  Their conclusion was that because I can't prove the existence of God, He doesn't exist.  I've responded by pointing out that they, equally, are unable to prove that He doesn't.


I have come across people, in England, who assure me that not only do fairies exist, but that they have seen them with their own eyes.  Personally, my automatic reply to anyone asking me if I believe in fairies would be, "Of course, I don't," but, if I were consistent with my reasoning, I would have to reply, "I don't know.  I have no experience of fairies."  After all, do I not see fairies because there are no fairies (or unicorns, or ghosts, or other apparitions) to be seen or because my senses are too obtuse to see them? I can't answer that truthfully.

*   *   *

Back to Mars.


If our machines eventually detect a life form on the Red Planet, that would suggest that there is.  However, if they don't, it is equally possible that there isn't life there and that there is.  There could be a life form unlike any we can imagine, therefore undetectable by our machines and probes.  It is also possible that creatures of this life form have destroyed the Schiaparelli probe, to discourage humans from encroaching on their space.  And if it were so, who could blame them?


There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies...



Scribe Doll

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From Merriam-Webster, the simple definition states:  the quality of being honest and fair.  The state of being complete and whole.


The full definition states:  Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values, incorruptibility.  An unimpaired condition, soundness.  The quality or state of being complete or undivided.


Hmmm. All I know is that I was and am not and will never suffer or give up my integrity for anything or anyone.


Integrity is who I am.  It’s what makes me tick.  It’s what gives me strength to look myself in the eye every waking morning when I see myself in the mirror.


Without question, my integrity cannot be sacrificed.  I am unable to perform optimally if otherwise.


As I share my story… the first comment that usually comes out is… “you would have eventually left as you are not the type to compromise on your integrity.”


Yes, absolutely right!  No matter the cost or how painful, my integrity is non-negotiable.


I told a friend today, “I hope that the next time… I will be able to see clearer and sense better …”


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National Bicycling Day aka Yom Kippur

The main reason why I like to stay in Israel during the High Holidays is Yom Kippur. When we got back to Israel after spending many years in the US, I was delighted to discover that Yom Kippur was no longer the dreary holiday of my childhood, it has totally changed and gained a uniquely Israeli interpretation as a  national bicycling day.

That year, about two weeks before the High Holidays, our daughters informed us that they absolutely had to have bicycles for Yom Kippur, all their friends had them. That is how we first learnt about the new tradition.

Imagine a big city where on a regular day the streets are packed with noisy cars and buses, and then all of a sudden, as though by magic -- everything comes to a halt and there is silence.

Earlier today I checked and saw  that on this year Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv starts  shortly before 6 pm. When I got on my bike around that time there were still some cars. But few minutes later everything stopped. While riding I saw families in white walking toward the synagogue, and some very well dressed young children with their parents on tricycles, and scooters.

When I rode back the busy Hatayasim highway was totally empty of cars and filled with older children on their bicycles. Later tonight I expect to see the streets become even fuller with people, this is the night when everybody goes outside.

Tomorrow, like most Tel Avivians,  we will ride our bicycles, in previous years we headed to the sea and rode along the shore before finally arriving to Hayarkon river and then back home. It is literally a once in a year experience. For me this is also the only day that I feel confident enough to ride on the roads and don’t have to worry about being run over by a car.

I don’t know who invented Bicycling Day and whether  s/he works in the bicycling business, but she is clearly a genius. Naturally every year before Yom Kippur the sales of bicycles increase tremendously.

Probably for many Orthodox Jews the practice of observing the holiest day of the year has not changed much throughout the years, but for me as a secular Jew the holiday has become meaningful once it stopped belonging only to Orthodox Jews. As a child every Yom Kippur we hid at home and I remember my mother asking us to eat quietly and not to make noise because the neighbors were passing by our kitchen window on their way back from Shul.

Bicycling has changed all that, Yom Kippur stopped being a holiday that had nothing to do with me or my life style and became a favorite holiday, one which I could enjoy as an Israeli, if not as an observant Jew.

On that same Yom Kippur when we returned to Israel we were walking  at night behind our two cycling daughters. Dizengof street was quiet and there were no cars. All of a sudden an old and noisy Volkswagen beetle came toward us with all its windows open. We saw that the driver of that car was the poet David Avidan.

It never occurred to me before, but perhaps Avidan did not realize that Yom Kippur has changed and wanted to protest. As one of the greatest  poets of secularization I believe that he would have loved the new Israeli holiday of Bicycling Day.

The essay appeared at the Times of Israel

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1 Comment

Latest Comments

Virginia M Macasaet Integrity
24 October 2016
Thank you Rosy! A comforting way to end my day ... this side of the world. Love and Light!
Rosy Cole Integrity
24 October 2016
'Next time....' Seeing clearer and sensing better, is, I have learnt, a matter of prayer and liste...
Virginia M Macasaet Today is the DAY
23 October 2016
Thank you Stephen for your kind words. :-)
Stephen Evans Today is the DAY
22 October 2016
Finding peace in the day and the strength to move forward is so often a challenge. I wish you both.
Katherine Gregor National Bicycling Day aka Yom Kippur
21 October 2016
How wonderful! There is such a sense of freedom in cycling, isn't there?

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