Saturday night, October 22, 2016, Israel
This week we read it again, the words, the very difficult words of God to Moshe; no man shall see my face and live.
And we struggle with this until today: in this life time it is impossible to achieve perfection. We sometimes feel we see it in others, our role models, people we look up to, but they, they do not see it. They are still searching. When we tell them we strive to be like them they dismiss it with a chuckle.
The search goes on.
I think it would take great talent, great luck and great fortune to achieve even close to what I would hope to achieve. One lifetime is simply not enough.
Perhaps in the "Old Days" a man was born into privilege and was free of the burden of earning a living. From an early age he could be raised to be the "Perfect Man". I have read of such men, from an early age raised with the Greek and Latin classics, science, history and physical fitness. They were raised to be lords, to master horseback riding and diplomacy, they studied languages and international finance.
But I barely have time to read!
Most of us will live our lives and accomplish little of what we set out to do. As Henry David Thoreau wrote "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation". Or as the Bible writes, "A man was born to toil".
And yet, as my dear dad would say, we must dream the impossible dream. A great violinist, aged 90, was asked why he continues to practice his craft three hours per day. He responded, because I am beginning to see some progress.
That is how I feel. I am working on Russian now for my upcoming trip, last week I was practicing my German in Germany. Soon it will be Portuguese. I am currently reading yet another book on World War Two, some forgotten battle that changed the course of the war. I need to read more, I need to know more. I am on a search, and they years pass...
If I continue studying, training, and working hard I think I will be OK for round two, my next lifetime. I am hoping that when I hit 80 I will be told, OK, now you are ready for the next 80 years but now you are in a better starting position.
There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week, but yet we still strive, we still search, we still work for that illusive goal of perfection, one that we shall never achieve.
Cover by Arie Katz, ancient warrior walking through Judea.
Arie is a graduate of the Bezalel academy of Art, Jerusalem.