October 1, 2016, Israel, home
Macedonian Jews prepare to board a deportation train in Skopje.
Skopje, Yugoslavia, March 1943.
Man, you are living in the past!
Your damn right I am living the past, 3,000 years of glorious Jewish history from Moses to Sandy Koufax you better believe I am living in the past. (The Big Lebowski)
Yes, we Jews live in the past, and in the future, and the present, they are one.
People say, hey, forget about it, it's in the past. Move on, let go of it.
There is a certain truth in that, a certain simple wisdom, but it is only partially true for the past can be in the past but it is never forgotten.
A Holocaust survival goes to sleep, and suddenly he is living it all over again, the camps, mother being taken away, little sister going up through the chimney. The past is the present. The past is dead but dead is alive.
The train rolls over the tracks, the scenery changes but it does not. Eternity is ashes, man is dust.
Years pass but the past is not past.
"'Your past is dead. Dead and buried' she would say. And I would answer, 'I am my past. It it's buried, I'm buried with it.'" (Elie Wiesel, Dawn)
The past, it is us, we are our own past. We are a product of our past. The world today looks down upon this, everyone must be happy shiny people, all sadness must be erased so we can start a clean slate. But this is wrong, this is not in accordance with human nature. Our past is always with us, we cannot bury it or else we bury ourselves.
Our past must guide us, teach us, it exists for a reason. We do not forget the past but we adjust to it. Life is an adjustment.
A man is in an old age home, he suffers from Alzheimer disease, his wife passes away but no one tells him, he never asks about her, he does not remember her. He remembers nothing, he is once again a child.
Our past, we must hold on to it. And the train rolls over the tracks, click, click, click...
Nothing is forgotten and nothing is erased. We must accept the past and make adjustments.
I am six years old, a child in Israel. At school we learn about the ghettos, the bunkers, the gas chambers. I go to sleep and I see them all, in living color, in black and white. I see how hungry they are, their faces are so sad. But it it not the past, it is all real. I live it.
Forget it she says, leave it in the past, bury it.
If you bury it you bury me. The ashes rise up to heaven.
A woman walks across the street but she cannot walk alone. Her legs are fine but she lives with fear and anxiety. The past is alive within her, her parents, her cousins, the camps! A piece of bread must be consumed slowly though she sits in a fancy hotel surrounded by luxury.
Put it behind you? Those are the words of the foolish. Adjust, learn, adapt, cope.
I am six years old, in the other realm, night, darkness, in a dream, the other senses come to life. The past is anything but buried. They are huddled together, cold, hungry, afraid. I can see their faces, Jewish faces, they are deep in the bunker. Do not speak, do not use up too much oxygen.
I appear, I am one of them but I come from the future. I am a healer and a fighter. I bring them medicines they had never heard of, developed long after their time. I bring them automatic weapons developed after their time.
Who are you? I am you. The past, the present, the future, it is all one. I am you in another time. The past is just a word but it lives with the present and the future.
"I am my past".
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