Background material, not included in Israela.
A letter written in late 1940s,Israel.
background material, not included in Israela.
‘My darling Ima and Aba,’ she wrote. ‘I’m longing to come home and talk to you as I always do, while drinking your special plum soup, Ima, at the kitchen table. But I have something to say that is too big for the kitchen table. Something I can say only with a pen and an envelope that I can close. I am writing to explain for you how mesmerized I am by the sea. You’ll think I’m crazy to suddenly write about such a thing, especially as I don’t know whether you've ever seen the sea. If you haven’t, please Ima and Aba, for God’s sake, if not for your own, you must. In the sea’s wild beauty you will recognize God’s work as clearly - I’d like to say more clearly but I know you’ll think that’s sacrilege - as you do in the lines of His scripture. And, while I’m anyway on the subject, I want to tell you how inexplicably drawn I am to the wild birds that fly over the Mediterranean, strutting along the shore which honest to God (and I’m not taking God’s name in vain) is made of spun corn, wandering inland even as far as people’s roof tops. You might never have seen or heard these birds, either, for I’ve never heard you mention them, but I encounter them when I bring your suits, Aba, to your clients in Tel-Aviv. You, of all people, must know how everything beautiful is part of God’s world. And God’s beauty sings to me when I’m near the great, blue water that both separates us from other peoples and their lands, and connects us to them, strangers who are walking on their beaches at the same time as we are walking on ours, loving God’s beauty, listening to the call of the gulls.
I can hear you asking, yes, but why can’t she tell us that in our own home, round the kitchen table? So, I will tell you that I have something to say that is even bigger than God’s birds and His seemingly calm but uncontrollable waves. My dearest Ima. My most loved Aba. Don’t be upset with me. I have met an honest, moral and loving man, and I have fallen in love with him. So, now you’re saying how could she have talked to a man, a man neither of us has ever met, without an introduction? You'll no doubt fret and go about your separate ways, you, Ima, chopping your parsley extra fast and extra finely on your wooden board, and you, Aba, going for a long walk round the neighborhood, coming home with your brow still all puckered up. When neither of you can hold your feelings in any longer, you’ll ask each other why doesn’t she come home and tell us about him so we can inquire into his family? But then I'll tell you there’s no point in your inquiring into his family because this honest, moral and loving man does not recognize God.
Now, you will definitely put your head in your hands, Ima, and groan, and your face, Aba, will become blotchy with sweat. You'll tell me there’s no such thing as such a man, and that if there were, I should keep far away from him. But there is. And I can’t. I've met him, and I love him, and I’m writing to tell you, my dear, most beloved parents that I wish to marry Boris Lazamoff and live on his agricultural farm in the north of the country. I want to learn how to milk goats and sheep; to transform the milk into cheeses; to turn olives into oil and beehives into honey. I want to learn how to plant and till the soil, to build up this country that has spread its beauty like wings around me, for I have come to realize, my dear, wonderful parents, that that is the reason God has set me on this earth.
If you can find it in your hearts...