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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The importance of having access to the piano

As I drive to work each day through the breadbasket of ancient Judea, the ripening orchards vineyards and fields I pass remind me that just as in the days when the Temples stood in Jerusalem, the first wheat from the southern slopes of the Hevron hills will be ready just in time for Shavuot (signaling the traditional start of the wheat harvest).

Shortly after we moved here, our (then) 7 year old son Gilad made a memorable observation.

He had been taking piano lessons in the US, but was on a forced break in his musical studies due to our move. Even though he remained keenly interested in music, we explained to him that it made no sense to start his lessons with an Israeli teacher until our lift arrived and he had a piano in the house to play. 

At the same time, being in an Israeli school with a strong religious Zionist curriculum, he was also starting to become aware of the direct connection between the land of Israel and the mitzvot (commandments) found in the Torah.

One morning after our lift had arrived and he had finally restarted his music lessons he said to me, "Abba, being a Jew outside of Israel is sort of like someone taking piano lessons but not having a piano to practice on".

From the mouth of babes...

Posted by David Bogner on May 13, 2009 | Permalink


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Ah, he is a philosopher at heart. Now I really like him.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | May 13, 2009 1:38:41 PM

I moved in the opposite direction as a child: Israel to North America @ age 11. A few years later, I described it to someone using slightly different musical imagery. For me, being a Jew in Israel was like a musician playing only one song - the Orthodox tune of which I was getting rapidly bored - and living outside gave me access to a diverse musical library.

(YMMV, clearly, and toda la'el, does.)

Posted by: Mich | May 13, 2009 2:28:52 PM

A genius. Didn't we always know Gilad was a genius? Puh-puh-puh.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | May 13, 2009 3:16:19 PM

I like this remark.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 13, 2009 3:54:51 PM

Gilad is wise beyond his years... but you probably knew that already.

Most of the stuff I hear day-to-day is not nearly as profound. Downright foolish, it is. Out of the mouths of boobs, you could say.

Posted by: Elisson | May 13, 2009 4:40:40 PM

Hmmm. Though I happen to love my nephew dearly and it was a cute remark, I have to disagree.

The intent and want has to be there regardless of where you are and what equipment you have.

Like the old adage, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. So it is that even if you have a piano, you may not ever play.

Posted by: val | May 13, 2009 6:02:49 PM

Score one for the kid!

Posted by: Wry Mouth | May 14, 2009 7:44:35 AM

QuietusLeo ... He has his moments.

Mich ... Sadly, as modern history has shown us, a broader range of choices has not been successful in keeping people interested in 'music'. Obviously the music analogy is flawed, because Judaism is an obligation and not a pastime or hobby. Many people revel in obligations when they perceive the purpose behind the tasks... while others simply feel the burden of the yoke. I don't know if that is a personal failing of a failing of the system.

rutimizrachi... Now if we could only get him to do his homework on a regular basis. :-)

Ilana-Davita ... That's why I shared it. :-)

Elisson... We all have our moments.

val... Oddly, you've described the other side of the religious spectrum here in Israel.

Wry Mouth ... The funny thing is that when I repeat this story to friends in Gilad's presence, he fidgets and blushes... and has no idea why I found it so profound. To him, it is obvious.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 14, 2009 8:39:31 AM

Excellent! He's right, of course, it IS obvious - but the fact that so many out there don't find it so is what makes it profound. NO?

Posted by: toby | May 14, 2009 9:03:15 AM

Having lived here for four years ourselves with our own stories, this is still my favorite.

Posted by: Bruce | May 20, 2009 10:06:43 AM

Just noticed that I missed this post -- it's a classic!!

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jun 2, 2009 6:27:11 PM

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