My month with the grandchildren came to an end all too quickly.
Early Saturday morning I bid farewell to my daughter's family and boarded a Qantas jet at Sydney airport.
After sitting in the plane half an hour waiting for two late passengers, we took off and had a nice10-hour flight to Thailand.
The 7-hour wait time in Bangkok airport was very long.
Sitting in this cavernous terminal until their midnight, with the reflections above and on every side, was kind of creepy.
The second flight took 11 hours but after a long dark night we were rewarded with a lovely dawn, with El Al's star of David in the changing sky.
The sun was just rising and the views of southern Israel's deserts were breathtaking!
Touchtown at Ben-Gurion airport and, following tradition, everybody applauded.
It was a joy to be back home in the Holy Land, my land.
But as I looked around in the now-light plane, an El Al jumbo jet, a code share flight with Thai Airways, I realized that very many of the hundreds of travelers were Thai citizens.
These are the men and women who come to work as in-home caretakers for our elderly.
These are the men who labor in our fields and our very hot hothouses, producing the food we eat.
It made me sad.
What has happened to our once pioneering country, that for the last several decades Jewish Israelis no longer do such physical work?
who died in 1922 in Kibbutz Degania, must be turning over in his grave
at the situation today.
He was a Zionist ideologue who believed that
physical effort on the land would bring about the redemption of the
He attributed pioneer work a semi-religious status,
arguing that it created an organic interrelationship between man, the
land and culture.
A. D. Gordon: "Tolstoy in Palestine" - Poem - by Steven P. Schneider
Like Tolstoy, you longed to connect your life
to the soil.
You turned your back
on property, family, the high culture of Russia-
to live with peasants,
to work the vineyards and orange groves of Rishon Le-Zion.
Your stamina stunned the younger men
and women who worked beside you.
Your labor connected you to the land of your people.
It made you free.
Turning your back on the occupations of the Pale--
Talmudic scholar, money lender,
peddler, victim of pogroms--
You wanted to remake the Jew into a farmer.
Your weapon against history was the hoe--
Your work in the fields a new kind of worship.
With each digging of the hoe--
you discovered a new rung upon which to climb to heaven.
The sweat bathed your white beard.
Your eyes burned with the fire of holiness.
Tolstoy in Palestine,
you scribbled "Some Observations"
by candlelight in the predawn hours--
"our people," you wrote, "can be rejuvenated
through labor and a life close to nature."
At night, under the moon of Zion,
beside the campfire,
you preached your religion of labor
to all who would listen.
And when the dreamers of Israel
sang and danced,
you joined them
in the hora of the body reborn.
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday.)