December 20, 2015, Israel
Can guns and songs go together? Can rifles and guitars be slung over the same shoulders? Can you fight for peace?
Yes, the answer is yes.
And this people in Israel raise their voices in song, in prayer, to heaven, to mankind, for peace, for an end to war. A song, a prayer for the soldiers to come home safely, to return from the battle, for this war to be the last war.
I have grown up in this country, every war has its songs, every generation has its songs. Everyone is training for war but everyone is praying for peace.
From the rabbinical academies reciting the Psalms of King David to the beatniks on the beaches of Tel Aviv, with the harp and with the guitar, we are all one, and we are all singing the same song.
The smoke is mixed with tears, the gun power is mixed with prayers, it is the sacrifice offered to heaven, no less than that offered by our ancestors years ago on the alter at the Temple.
Brothers go out to war, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, rockets, bullets, but here we are, we are back home and this people shall never fall back. The spirit of this people shall never be broken.
Images flood the mind, memories fill the heart, different hairstyles, but the spirit is the same, one generation after another, young men walking off to war saying "Don't' worry, really, there is no reason to worry, I will be home soon."
And we pray for peace. The songs go up to heaven like the sacrifices on the Temple alter, the gun power is the incense of the High Priest, and we pray for no more bloodshed.
Sadness brings songs of hope, and the sound of the shofar, the ram's horn sounds as the old and the new mix. The footsteps continue from one generation to another and we long for the words...All our forces have come home safely, B'Shalom, in peace.
Little boys grow up and become soldiers, little girls grow up and are on the front line supporting them, all too young, all too much. Young men run into battle shouting "After me", some...never come home and the prayers go up to heaven, another sacrifice. The Levites of old join with the singers of today and the song is one, a song of peace but a song of war. Put on the uniforms, the warriors of old were anointed with olive oil, the warriors of today wear olive uniforms. And the singers and song writers of the holy city offer their prayers, their songs, a prayer for peace.
A soldier walks off, and we wonder, and we hope and we pray, and we sing. From one generation to another the song remains, a song of hope.
The song is not only words, not only sounds, it is hope, it is spirit, it is the soul.