Home' Nova National : January 2009 Contents Teacher and
psychotherapist Sharon Snir
gives us all a gentle prod as
we contemplate the year
© NOVA JANUARY 2010
Ihave just returned from Cyprus and
from Israel. Along with craggy
mountains where ancient rocks
bouldered out of the earth, the
Mediterranean, warm and welcoming,
beckoned me into her cleansing waters.
Many times, I wandered the streets of
both countries sensing a deep sadness.
The sadness I felt not only ran along
the borders that have emerged through
war and struggle with neighbours -- it ran
deeper than even that. While both tiny
countries (and they are so, so tiny) share
a natural affinity to sharing generously
with friends and family and food abounds
in gargantuan proportions, I still saw
And it is not the hunger of beggars
sitting on the dirty ground, arm
outstretched in the hope of a coin or a
crumb, though I saw that too. It was the
hunger of the spirit that I noticed.
The sadness I felt came from the eyes
of the people where beliefs and
convictions are set in stone and attitudes
build walls that divide "us and them".
During my time in both places I saw a
number of walls. They were made of
various materials, but they all did the
same thing. In Nicosia, where half the city
is still in Greek Cyprus and the other half
is in Turkish Cyprus, a wall, pocked with
bullet holes, stands as a reminder of the
war that still divides her people.
In Israel, there are walls of wire and
walls of cement, built to protect and keep
the "peace". Israel and Cyprus are just
two small nations, but they reflect the
walls we all believe we need to keep
'I know that few among us open our homes to feed
and shelter those who are in need and yet we think of
ourselves as warm and generous people.'
ourselves safe. They are not in any way
unique. They simply reveal on a physical
level that which exists in us all. These
walls are the walls of righteousness. These
walls reflect the separateness we all
feel between ourselves and our own
I know that few among us open our
homes to feed and shelter those who are
in need and yet we think of ourselves as
warm and generous people. Is it fear that
we may be robbed or taken advantage of?
Do we hold on so tightly to that which
"belongs" to us that we have forgotten
that charity begins at home? Not the home
that is surrounded by walls, but the home
within. The home that beats around 60
to 70 times a minute. The home that
reminds us that as long as we are alive we
have the opportunity to love each other
a little more creatively and joyfully every
day. Home is truly were the heart is.
One day, I was in my daughter's tiny
ground floor apartment in Tel Aviv and
the traffic outside was vibrating through
the walls. A truck was tooting incessantly
and there were loud voices coming from
outside. Toot toot toot... it went on and
on. My daughter and I looked at each
other and shook our heads in disgust.
The impatience! The rudeness! The
righteousness of this person!
Suddenly, a thought came to me.
Maybe he is thirsty. I grabbed a glass and
bottle of lemon juice from the fridge and
went outside into the sweltering heat to
see what all the noise was about. There, in
the middle of the road was a huge truck
that could not pass through the narrow
street as a car had parked a little too far
away from the curb. I walked up and waved
the glass and bottle in the air and asked
if he wanted a drink. He looked down
from the window and stared at me as if I
had come from another planet. "What?"
"Ah, do you want a drink? It must be
hot out here waiting for someone to
move the car."
In a surprisingly soft voice he said,
"No thank you, I have water here."
"Okay," I answered. "I hope you don't
have to wait too much longer." I smiled
and to my surprise he smiled back. I went
back inside. I have no idea how much
longer he waited, but there was no more
And so what is my point? Don't worry
if what you want to do is weird or strange
or just not done. Your heart knows what to
do every time.
As I write this article, I realise today
is November 11th, the anniversary of
the fall of the Berlin Wall. What a day that
was. Chaos and Creation joined hands
and on that day "alle menschen werden
bruder". All people become brothers. On
top of every building were thousands of
people. Berlin was out of control. There
was no more government, neither in
the East nor in the West. The police and
the army were helpless. The soldiers
themselves were overwhelmed by the
event. They were part of the crowd. Their
uniforms meant nothing. The Wall was
Until next time let's all break down a
few walls ourselves.
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